07 Nov You Can Run But You Can Not Hide!
Moss A Jackson, PhD
Psychologist and success Coach
The brain is very complex and no one completely understands how it works! There is a lot of discussion about its structure, functions and processes, but we have a long way to go before we can truly master the complexity of this vital organ that controls our destiny.
Sometimes, we experience something that grounds us into really appreciating the brain’s existence. I think the brain exists to help us all evolve into a powerful collective future of generosity, courage, self-expression and connection. But the brain makes us work for it. Our personal growth requires something special if we are to exponentially evolve. I do not think the brain grows linearly. Instead, it evolves in spurts during rare moments of discovery and courage.
Let me share a personal moment that produced such a powerful jump forward. Bottom line, I do not have the same brain I had a week ago. Since last week, something has shifted! Last week was not an easy one for me as I mentioned in my last post. I experienced several difficult sessions with patients and did not sleep very well. But today, I had a session with a long-term client with whom I have gone through many ups and downs. We have maintained a caring connection, even though he has sometimes behaved badly enough for me to consider that perhaps I had nothing to contribute to his personal growth and progress.
Let me be specific. Last week I had a session scheduled late in the afternoon. Coming back from a school visit, I realized I would be about ten minutes late. I texted my client to let him know about the delay. About ten minutes later I arrived at my office, made some tea and waited for my session to begin. My client did not show up. He left me a message saying that he was busy and had decided to just not come for his appointment. I got that message almost 45 minutes after I arrived, tea in hand. I called him back and left him a message indicating that I was upset by his apparent lack of concern and poor follow-through regarding his appointment. He later called to make another appointment for this week.
The issue for me was how my brain worked to deal with this broken appointment. While I was annoyed about what felt like a “brush off” and dismissal, I was also aware of some hurt feelings. I think the situation evoked some old hurts and past experiences that had been lodging in my emotional brain for many years that were re-ignited by this current experience. But, instead of staying in my comfort zone of anger and judgment, I chose instead to consider what lay underneath my situational annoyance.
While uncomfortable, I stayed focused on the underlying hurt and remembered a number of past experiences when I had experienced similar feelings of rejection, lack of acceptance and disregard for my feelings. One experience was in 5th grade when I experienced anti-Semitism, another in 7th grade where a similar situation occurred, another involving a girl who did not return my affection, and so on. I saw a pattern of not feeling valued and my client not calling me was just another notch in the pistol handle of rejection and not feeling “good enough!”
I am not saying here that my emotional conclusion was true. I think our brains contain a vast reservoir of experiences, information, emotions and conclusions that, if unexamined, urge us to draw painful conclusions that are untrue, but feel very real. I have no truthful idea why others behaved the way did so many years ago except the ideas I came up with based on my past emotional needs and disappointments. I just made some conclusions up about myself and self-worth at the time. In a way these conclusions laid in wait for future opportunities to come back to life and re-invoke previous hurtful experiences.
But, here is the breakthrough I want to share with you. When my current client came in today for his session, I said “I need to get something off my chest that has been bothering me this past week. I am not sure if you intended to blow me off but I was hurt when you did not call to explain why you were not coming. I felt hurt and disregarded and needed to let you know how I was feeling. You and I have had a long relationship and we have been through a lot of difficult times. I could not just go through a therapy session with you without getting this off my chest and talking about it.”
He listened, took a deep breath and apologized, saying that he knew I was angry. We dialogued a bit and I took in what he was experiencing the previous week that prevented him from showing up. As we talked, I relaxed, taking in his story and appreciating his point of view. In a reasonably short time, I felt reconnected to him and we enjoyed a very intimate and powerful session together. I let go of both my anger and hurt and felt the “brain shift” that went along with our exchange.
Our brains contain two forces: one that holds onto past experiences and interpretations and another force that is open to curiosity, discovery and growth. One leads to “stuckness”, resentment and hurt while the other opens us up to connection, love and imortant breakthroughs. To break through into growth requires courage, personal responsibility and powerful communication. While I did not feel comfortable stepping into our discussion, I was not willing to do just do business as usual and ignore my feelings. Expressing what was in my heart brought me into the present and set the stage to mutually evolve into honest communication with each other.
We get to choose which force dominates our brain: the old and predictable or the new and unexplored. I think our brain is very curious about which one we choose and is extremely responsive to our selection. Choose the predictable and old story and continue to stay stuck. Choose the unpredictable and take a chance, your brain explodes with new plasticity and evolution, taking you into expanded spheres of experience. Choosing the latter is not for the faint of heart. It is the current of possibility, discovery and radical brain regeneration. Your brain wants you to evolve but it requires you to be the Life Navigator and make it happen.
To learn more about Life Navigation and radical brain transformation, check out my new book on Amazon, “I Didn’t Come To Say Goodbye: Navigating The Psychology of Immortality.” We all have the potential to evolve powerfully into a future of great success, accomplishment and satisfaction. I hope you are up for the challenge.