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Making Room


They’re called pathways. Actually, it has something to do with neurons in our brains transmitting back and forth to each other. They transmit new ideas, new experiences, new facts, and this back and forth, this “learning” creates the so-called pathways. Then the information is stored up there. This is a good thing; this is how a healthy brain works, it keeps track of all we see and do and experience. It records all of our thoughts and memories, those worth savoring and unfortunately, those better off forgotten.
 
I like to imagine a little mole with a lighted mining cap on, digging his way through all of the bad memories and the sadness that I have stored up there that I sometimes feel holds me back from experiencing love and happiness. He is a determined little guy I think, and the more I put him to work the easier and less tedious it seems to get. I must say, he is making progress at long last.
 
One way to look at it is that our brains are like hard drives and they need to be cleaned up now and then. The only way to do that is by making room, by “forgetting” all of that which is not necessary for our existence, and creating space for new pathways to be forged. Ideally the new pathways would supplant the less noteworthy and trivial stuff that is cluttering up our everyday lives. To put it simply, our goal should be to throw out all of the bad memories that are holding us back, dragging us down, suffocating us, and replace them with new, fun, loving experiences that enhance our lives in positive ways. It’s not always easy though.
 
I am not much into meditation, I have trouble quieting my mind, but I have come up with a way of getting my little mole’s attention and so far we seem to be a good team, we are working well together. First I have him take out the trash, I make a conscious effort to “let go” of an unpleasant memory (my god where to start?) and I visualize it as a picture or a written document. Then I have him incinerate it. Then, in an effort to redirect myself physically and mentally, I either get up and go do something, or if that’s impossible, I just shake my head as if to “erase” the thought, and then we go to the next step.

He is a cute little guy. I watch him as he cleans his little shovel, so as to be prepared for all the digging of course—it is dark and cluttered up there at the moment. This little guy has his work cut out for him. But he gets to work and I actually picture him creating, wait for it…a new path. I think a positive thought, I visualize something happening in my future that is pleasant and I manifest that thought and it immediately makes me feel lighter. This thing has not happened yet but I am laying the groundwork as they say, and I feel like I am creating the space for it to happen. I may only be experiencing the event in my head but I am creating a foundation on which to build new experiences and new memories. Then I go out and make them happen.
I am making room so that a fresher, freer, happier me has space to breathe. I can see the sunshine, the proverbial light at the end of that long dark tunnel. Soon he and I will not need the lighted helmet anymore. Maybe that’s why when you learn something knew, have a new revelation, accept a new reality we say we are enlightened. Here’s to making room. It sure feels good.
Quintesse Quintesse 46-50, F 10 Responses Dec 24, 2012

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It is good that you have been improving yourself Quin...i hope you can see the light soon..

Thanks for this. Writing this stuff here is all part of the process.

Doug,
While I really do believe what I am saying here, a lot of the time when I write stuff like this it's because I am trying so hard to convince myself that it is working, that my whole premise makes sense, that perhaps if I articulate it I can make it so.
I DO believe in creating new pathways and I know it can be done.
It's just that as KSparrow suggested, the memories of the experiences are never really gone (except in Homer's case) but maybe the idea is to suppress them to the point where the new more positive stuff can supplant them, so that they don't surface as easily.
Well, that's the plan anyway. It can't hurt. The trying has helped me significantly.

Thanks you guys. Here's to the bad stuff disappearing.

PS-thanks Doug for the Homer reference. It cracked me up just picturing him scratching his giant bald yellow head. Now I'm thinking about beer... now I'm thinking about hot dogs...Now I'm thinking about...haha

What a great story, I love the idea behind it even more, to throw out all the mental clutter is exactly what I need to do right now.

You and me both. Thank you. It is dark and messy up there in the attic. You can borrow my mole, or we can see if he has any friends...

He needs to send a troop of them.... Can you arrange that?

We'll see what we can do. Here's to both of us making significant progress in this area.

I need to make significant progress in lots of areas this year.
You are already on the road, maybe I will catch up with you soon

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Thinker, I'm just making room for some new experiences, in an effort to bury the not so pleasant ones I have suffered through in the past. I have to train my brain to quit playing the old stuff on a loop in my head. It drags me down --and I don't like being down. I've found it's not nearly as much fun as being up.
Also-I do plan on making the second half of my life much better than the first half, so thanks for your support and your encouragement. Your story is inspiring, definitely.

The sad truth is that the finite lifespan of us humans does serve a certain purpose. If we were to live 300 years, then present-day politics would still be dominated by the napoleonic wars and such antiquated issues. Some of the belated lawsuits we see today only exist, because the perpetrators lived for too long, and the social norms have changed since the time of their crimes.
Despite such reservations, I say - go for it. I'm a late bloomer myself, and the best experiences of my life came after age 58. I see no danger of you losing your talent for self-expression, when the rivers of life take you to happy waters. Let's raise a glass to that !

Haha. Thanks for the disclaimer.
I like the "pruning" that you speak of, especially because it is probably impossible to destroy memories if you have brought them with you into adulthood. I just like the idea that you can manipulate your brain.
I have heard people say "choose to be happy" and that always incenses me because no one chooses to be depressed--it is a condition--and not a very pleasant one. I have learned over time however, to manage it, mainly by utilizing the aforementioned technique. The problem is the deeper you are in down there the harder it is to dig yourself out. It helps to have a mole friend.
Thanks Sciguy

Unfortunately, I am familiar with the effects of depression. I also agree that no one "chooses" to be that way. I don't think there is any one way to dig new paths or prune dead wood (or whatever analogy you choose). Whatever works for a person is the right way.

Exactly. Thanks for getting me. I imagined most people getting to the part on the story where I start droning on about little moles with mining caps on burrowing through the clutter in my brain and getting turned off. It is really reassuring to me that there are those who truly understand. Thank you.

Someone has already mentioned neuroplasticity, so I won't go into it. Suffice it to say, as you aleady know, that you can teach an old dog new tricks. [Disclaimer: I am NOT referring to you - just a figure of speech.] I have also heard of this as "pruning" the dead memories to encourage new growth. Your mole analogy works too though...

Astfar. I will read. Definitely.
I find this stuff fascinating, and while I am a little out there (I know with the whole mole analogy--I have a thing for rodents) I do have some basis for my postulation. I have some training in Autism and Behavioral Therapy. The trick is to figure out what works for each kid. Some/most respond to music, others need a more physical kind of intervention, and today they are doing amazing things with Ipads, for example.

The idea is to figure out how to create new pathways, new ways of learning, opening up new areas of the brain or stimulating areas that are non responsive, or slow to react. It can be done and it is amazing, as you suggested. Neurons can be ignited (for lack of a better scientific word) and there is something to the idea of old memories being replaced by new ones, especially as we age and our brains work less efficiently (think Alzheimer's prevention). It's a fact that people who make an effort to be active and learn new things and keep sharp lead happier more fulfilled lives. But it takes effort.

I have spent the last few months in a depression so deep I couldn't see myself in the mirror. I had to figure out a way to get unstuck, change my way of looking at the world and my life and most importantly lose those negative images/memories which in turn caused the physical reaction (crying) which then made me ill. Most people I think carry stuff like this around with them and everyone knows that that negative stuff is exacerbated by emotional events like, say...the holidays, especially if you are alone...

So like OverWritten said, no time like the present if you have some cleaning out to do. I guess it kind of goes with the season. Out with the old--in with the new.
Here's to a great New Year and a some new ways of thinking.
Thanks you guys. Thanks a lot. I did not expect one single person to respond to this. I was afraid I would come across as nuts. Thank you for validating me.

What a fantastic analogy... I love the visual of the busy mole. A good lesson here for us all as we head into a new year. New calendar, new opportunities.

Thanks for posting this one.

hmmmmm

I know. I know. Moles with miner's hats on? Hey--sometimes it winds up being about whatever works. Thanks for reading it.

It remains

Hmmmm

Wonderful ideas of how to process the issues of life.