If it Matters to You, Even The Hot Shots Say, SELF-CARE BEGINS AND ENDS WITH ME

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Self-Care Tip #220 – Take your freedom and be good to yourself.

Free-will keeps cropping creeping climbing clambering up with us.  Go figure.  As usual, Carl pushed buttons and inspired me to remember the lovely word “self-government.”  I was so delighted that not only does the term self-government say it so well, but I felt like I was the first to come up with it.  Then I googled around and found Webster, many countries (possibly yours,) and even our own constitution of the United States (“We the people…”) might have wrinkled time and stolen it from me before I even thought of it (See Einstein and the Fabric of Time.)  Can you believe that!

While calming my unappreciated self, I ran across like-minded David Rigoni’s splendid work at the University of Marseille.  (After reading this, I’m sure he will delight in hearing us named, “like-minded.”)  Dr. Rigoni says,

Folk psychology tells us if you feel in control, you perform better.  What is crucial is that these effects are present at a very basic motor level, a deep level of brain activity.

He and his team studied thirty people over different tasks, using different mediums of examination and deduced that it is better to believe.

If we are not free it makes no sense to put effort into actions and to be motivated.

Dr. Rigoni’s work reminded me of the work of MIT neuroscientist Sebastian Seung.  Some time ago, Dr. Seung gave a wonderful TED conference,

I am my connectome.

Dr. Seung tells us the good news that we are more than our genes.  The connections among neurons are where memories and experiences get stored – not in the genome.

My pleasure grew when I read about the collaborative work from a few schools we’ve heard of – see NYU news.  ….Apparently goals and habits show overlapping neurological mechanisms.

This is all very exciting to our self-government.  I’m sure that we the people would hate to find out that all this time we’ve demanded our freedom – it wasn’t even possible.  But it is – even per the hot-shots of the world. The sophisticated and unsophisticated, in paradigms of thought, Time and Timelessness, learning, beliefs and feelings, in my country and in yours – we continue comfortably and with confidence to say, SELF-CARE BEGINS AND ENDS WITH ME.  (See Ghettysburg Address.)

Questions:  When have you found yourself unable to claim your freedom to be friendly with yourself?  How have you managed to cross the barriers you perceived around yourself or others?  What would you like to tell Carl or Carl?  Please tell us your story.

Choose Well, What You Will Live For

Self-Care Tip #96 – Choose well, what you will live for.

Yesterday we discussed finding our reference point for why we do what we do.  All day today I found my thoughts returning there and had to spend another blog-post-opportunity on it’s “friendliness.”  I was happy to find that I was not the only one when I got a reader‘s response:

I’m still coming out of the fog of doing anything for survival-as-a-habit.  As in, being in panicked survival mode even when all is calm and safe–that is no way to live, any dog knows better than to live like that.

I contrast her response with my colleague’s:

The intentions of any life is self-serving.  Altruism doesn’t exist except in God, (which I accede not to understand), and people can’t rise above their own genetics.

Now this man is the kindest, sweetest, most generous man you’d ever meet and he doesn’t say these things with any meanness, anger towards a past offense, or to turn people from God.

However, contrast his take on our reference point in life with the reader’s above.  She talks about her choice.  Can a choice transcend our genetics?

You may remember some of a previous post mentioning the work of MIT neuroscientist, Sebastian Seung. His research tells us that memories are stored in our neurons and not in our genes.  Eg. Habits are memories and not genetic therefore not permanent.

There is an interplay between choice and genetics.  YES!!@!!  We aren’t robots!  ;)  Nor are we a picture without a frame.  We so often don’t think about all the good that our genetics do for our lives.  There’s just so much talk about how we fight our genetics.  We have been given both a design and free choice.  Of course we can’t change our design, but as our reader later said so well:

For some people it is a process just to ask “why am I doing this?” … AND actually ask that question to themselves. (man-o-man the times I have asked everyone else why I was doing something) Maybe it will take sometime for an answer to come, but asking means we are on our way!

Choice is the gift from God that the apple and the serpent and thousands, or billions of years (what ever is true) can’t take away from us.  Only you can.

Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Where are you in process between your choice and your design?  Is the interplay one that is smooth or rocky for you?  Please tell me your story

Why Are You Walking The Road Alone?

Part of humility is not isolating.  You have to be able to receive to be a friend.  Dan Allender Ph.D. calls it suffer the kindness.

From looking at him, I didn’t guess at first that Fink was lonely, but he was.  Under-appreciated, whenever Fink thought about making new friends, he remembered that he wasn’t young any more.  All his “real” friendships were made when he hung-out for hours, had spares in the trunk so to speak.  If one relationship didn’t develop well, he still had time and possibilities that the future offers.  In this sense, Fink had been rich.  He had after all that, maybe 3 friends he considered “real.”  But over the last several years, with real jobs and families of their own, his real friends weren’t returning his calls.  Now, he thought, he may as well as not have given them his special self.  Now he was older and not so rich.  Fink kept picking at that scab, even though he knew it wasn’t so masculine to be upset about your neglected special self.

At times we are lonely, but have trouble valuing the relationships being offered.  We see ourselves as something set apart.  This might be part of our drive to self-preserve.  Bits of neurons fighting over signals in our brain telling us that we need to dominate to propagate our genes.  Maybe.  But there is that intersection when choice crosses.

We remember from Sebastian Seung‘s work that our memories are not stored in our genes.  That gives us something tangible to work with.

I remember walking on the beach with a girlfriend when we were still in medical school.  I told her, “I’m tired of feeling bad about things I never had a choice in!”  It still seems wasteful to moralize things like temperament and our nature.  In fact, we’ve argued the opposite at length in previous blog posts.  Embrace that part of you and run with it! we said.

So what do we do with Fink?  For starters, tell him that his drives are what they are.  The real question is, what’s he going to do with his genetic drives?  Do good things with that energy?  (If we can call genetic drive an energy.)  Or will he do things that aren’t so good for him.  There comes the choice.  Fink.  Suffer the kindness.  (Thanks Dan Allender!)  In the end you will be happier and healthier for it.  Even if you are half as hot as your genes tell you you are, who cares if you are walking the road alone.

Self-Care Tip #86 – Suffer the kindess.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What has been a barrier in your life from connecting with others?  Please tell me your story.

Believe What You Say! It Might Make a Difference.

If you want to get passionate about something, You have to believe it.  Many people speak it, read it, plan on it, but they don’t believe it.  Do you?  Do you believe that you can actually start doing what you want to do, feeling what you want to feel, become who you want to be?

And how bout the opposite?  Too many of us quietly or loudly hold our negative patterns.  A Heathcliff with Catherine scenario in Bronte‘s Wuthering Heights – slowly bringing on our own demise.  Reminds me of the mistletoe, a parasite on it’s host but accepted and beloved nonetheless.

MIT neuroscientist Sebastian Seung gave a wonderful TED conference, “I am my connectome.”  He tells us the good news that we are more than our genes. Our memories are not “stored” in our genes.  They live amongst the neuronal connections.  He empowers us saying that because we can change our neuronal connections, we can change our behaviors and habits – which are based on neuronal memory (indian trails.)  You see, because our habits are really memories ground into the fiber of our minds, and not into the constitution of our matter, we can make different ones.

Wow!

We may not have pixie dust or elf stones, but we do have power.  We can stop, drop and roll! to that destruction in our lives.  We can be friendly with ourselves at any level of our beings – neuronal to behavioral and emotional.  Mr. Seung, that is great news!

Self Care Tip #70 – If you are going to do it, have courage and believe it!  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What do you think?  Please tell me your story.