For awhile now I've been running with this concept that everything you experience with your six senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and mental thoughts) creates little pathways in your brain. You hear a new song on the radio – BAM – that's a new pathway. The more you hear the same lyrics over and over again the wider, deeper, and stronger that pathway becomes. Suddenly you have all of the lyrics to Adele's “Hello” memorized whether you like the song or not.
The only way to change that pathway is to stop accessing it. You've got to turn off the radio. Just like a path in the forest. If everyone stops using it the forest creeps in from the edges and suddenly it's not even there anymore. All those pop songs I had memorized from the 90's - just not really in my head anymore.
I talk to my kids about this during homeschool lessons all the time now. They get anxious and upset whenever they are trying to learn something new. I tell them that there is no reason to expect to know something the first time around. You have to have seen it, read it, and heard it enough to create a strong pathway that will last. Tests are just a way to see if you've experienced something enough times to have a firm pathway. Physical activities are the same way. You don't ride a bike or play an instrument the first time you pick it up. But with practice, your body and your mind learn how to do it. The only thing that makes you any different from the greatest athlete, the smartest scientist, or the most talented artist – is PRACTICE.
Now here's the problem.
How much of what our six senses experience in any given day is controlled by media? How much of what we see and hear is controlled by people that want you to give them your money? How much are you being told you are not skinny enough, not attractive enough, not successful enough, not popular enough, and not smart enough? How often are you told that to have a good time you need to look a certain way, drink a certain drink, eat a certain food, and be somebody you are not?
What about love, compassion, kindness, generosity, empathy, and joy for living a good life? Why are these values so often missing from our daily consumption?
We may think we can't do anything about the programming we have but the reality is, we can change it just by changing what our six senses are exposed to on a daily basis. If you were to feel love, see compassion, hear kindness, think about equality, taste healthy foods, and smell the fresh clean air every day - it would change who you are. It just takes practice and before you know it your old thoughts become overgrown with good thoughts, healthy habits, and strong pathways.
Whatever it is you want to do - stop eating sugar, learn how to play the violin, be kinder to your kids and spouse, or even learn about quantum physics - the only thing you have to do is practice.
So, why not start right now?
To Your Health!
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.