There is Less Space Between Emotions And Science Than We Think

The supermassive black holes are all that rema...

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Self-Care Tip #147 – Bridge the gap between emotions and science.  Be a friend to yourself.

She had been through a lot – Aimee.  Lost her baby brother to medical disease.  Was in a stressful marriage and didn’t like her work.  There was more but you get the drift.  She found herself thinking that things would be different if things had been different.

Would they?

Readers, I am referring specifically to her medical condition.  Not to the fact that the universe is different because her brother died.

Madeleine L’Engle talked about death affecting the whole universe.  She compared it to the death of a star.  In death, the star creates a hole in space dark and large, enough so that the absence of it has its own gravitational force, a “black hole.”  L’Engle says that when any part of creation dies, we are all touched.  Life knows and the absence of that bit of creation leaves the surviving universe changed forever.

Aimee wasn’t talking about that.  Aimee thought her emotional illness was largely secondary to her life stressors.  Because this influenced Aimee’s choices regarding her medical treatment, I had to tell her no.  Gently.  It was hard for her to hear.  “Aimee, your sadness you feel now, four years after your brother’s death, your isolation and amotivation, your low sex drive, your difficulty feeling pleasure in other things, your sleepiness during the day – these things are not because you have suffered your brother’s death, nor because your marriage is hard.”

There are times when directly saying things is the more gentle approach.  No one going through what Aimee is going through wants to hear about how I feel about it.  Yuck.  There’s not much that is slimier than going to someone for objective feedback and getting their emotions and personal opinions all over you.

Aimee left saying she understood and with a new medical treatment for the medical illness propagating emotional and behavioral symptoms in her.  We’ll see if she did some days from now.  But what about you?  Do you believe that her emotions and behaviors were secondary to medical illness?

Readers, life stress will continue to happen.  What may change is how we respond to it.  If our response does change and it isn’t serving us or others well we need to think that we might not be interpreting how we feel objectively.  We might be having changes to our biology that “taste like chicken.”  It helps to get a physician’s opinion – someone who sees behavior as more than the spirit, the abstract, the puppet of our volition.

Question:  How do you bridge the seemingly abysmal distance between emotions and science?  Please tell me your story.

Fewer Choices

We have infinite choices in life but they aren’t necessarily the same choices. I don’t know at what age that starts making sense. It reminds me when J.K. Rowling‘s 9y/o Luna Lovegood witnessed her mother killed, which enabled her to see Thestrals. In story form, saying suffering brings sight. Choices can bring us suffering, which in turn might bring us sight. It’s true that we always have a choice but it’s not true that we can choose the same choice again. Nor is it true that we will have the same quantity of choices.

My sister-in-law Joana Johnson, neuroscientist, says we recruit more areas of our brain as we age but use less brain matter to problem solve and think creatively. We can generally multitask better than we could when we were younger although our short-term memory is less available. It is a biological example of renewed options all the while earlier options are no longer available.

As we mature, the beauty is that we have a greater capacity to work with our options. It is obviously not that we have a greater number of options. But isn’t that marvelous!

Scott Anthony, president of Innosight writes, “You can’t do more with less unless you understand what more means.” Hopefully there comes a time when each of us will look into our choices daily for all they can become. Think plate of chocolate lava cake in front of you. Will we get the gift of sight? Anyone can.

Self Care Tip #25 – Get the gift of site. Be a friend to yourself.