Hey Lovely Retrainers!
My name is Astra Rebecca. After 25 years of illness, and trying nearly every healing modality known -- with little to no success -- I finally came across brain retraining and gave it a shot. Now, three years later and fully recovered, I am doing the impossible: Building the life of my dreams and living every day to the fullest. As the founder of Yay! Neuroplasticity Coaching, a Healing Hostess, and Playologist, I am dedicated to empowering others to heal themselves through the wonders of neuroplasticity, fun, and play.
My life hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows. Here's a list of some things I recovered from using ONLY the magical powers of my neuroplastic brain! *Skip this next paragraph if you are a beginner retrainer.
I was bedridden and unable to care for myself for 13 years, and chronically ill for 25. I had carbon monoxide poisoning, lyme disease, co-infections, CIRS, mast cell activation syndrome, OCD, chronic fatigue, insomnia, bipolar one -- which included suicidal depression -- fibromyalgia, nystagmus, POTS, tourettes, agoraphobia (didn’t leave my room for 7 years except for doctor appointments), social anxiety, generalized anxiety and panic attacks, dyslexia, schizophrenia, migraines, PTSD, low blood pressure, pernicious anemia, parasites, bulimia, anorexia, disordered eating, dissociation, nausea, gastroparesis, SIBO, leaky gut, noise/light/touch/emf/temperature/multiple chemical sensitivity, raynaud syndrome, compulsive behaviors and addiction, traumatic brain injuries, brain fog, vertigo, anosmia, codependency, and countless other neurological, physiological, emotional, and behavioral symptoms!
This week, I’m excited to have been asked to blog and speak about a topic for the Rewiring Wellness Retreat. This is a live event on Friday via IGTV at 12 PST about finding laughter, fun, and whimsy no matter what life throws at you!
After practicing brain retraining for over three years, I am now in what I’d call the “Emerge and Thrive” phase to healing. I no longer rewire for physical, mental, and emotional healing, but am focused on building a life of abundance, ease, and radiant joy.
This week has been packed full of expansion, transition, and FUN! To briefly recap, here’s what happened in my world:
After visiting my family out of state, I took a 12-hour solo road trip back to Colorado. The very next day I was busy moving into my new community house in Denver, a beautiful renovated Victorian with a cat named Ida May, where I spent a few days unpacking, decorating, and getting to know my new roommates.
By Sunday, I knew I needed some summer fun, so I texted my partner and we ended up at the river in Boulder. While making our way there, we decided to stop and get inner tubes to take our beach day to the next level.
The second we got into the water, I knew it was going to be an amazing day, albeit not sure what to expect since this was my first time tubing!
We floated down the river and rapids for about two hours, during which time we laughed hysterically, felt the fun and freedom that summer days bring, and got bashed upon the rocks time and time again. In addition to getting thrashed about, I sprained my finger on a rope swing. In the midst of one of the most fun and painful days of my (recovered) life, I was incredibly aware of the fact that I get to decide how I feel.
A little bit of science of how pain is interpreted in the brain: signals are sent to the somatosensory cortex (responsible for physical sensation), the frontal cortex (in charge of thinking), and the limbic system (linked to emotions).
So in light of this, I had a decision to make -- I could either focus on the pain, or focus on the fun. So, I decided to focus on the fun and adventure of this new experience, and the more I did that, the pain not only subsided, but completely disappeared within seconds.
Later that evening, we went on a night bike ride through the city where I had my first wipeout skidding along the road, scraping my knees and hands, and worst of all, tearing holes in my favorite leopard print leggings. Bloody and bruised, to top it off on the way home, I got not one, but two flats. During this eventful ride, I was again conscious of the truth of the saying that wherever my attention goes, energy flows and I would be damned if I was going to give my power away. So I began to hone in on the feeling of the summer night on my skin, the sound of the cicadas in the trees, the sound of my partner and new roommate laughing, the feeling of my magic bicycle, Dorothy, underneath me, and the empowering feeling that I get to choose my reality and how I experience life. As I moved through this sensory exercise, I came back to my center, and the pain not only lessened, but completely vanished.
Next time you feel triggered and begin “looping”, try this simple 54321 Senses Exercise to help you find your center:
First, notice 5 things that you can see. Look around you and become aware of your environment. Try to pick out something that you don’t usually notice.
Second, notice 4 things you can feel. Bring attention to the things that you’re currently feeling, such as the texture of your clothing or the smooth surface of the table you’re resting your hands on.
Third, notice 3 things that you can hear. Listen for and notice things in the background that you don’t normally notice. It could be the birds chirping outside or an appliance humming in the next room.
Fourth, notice 2 things you can smell. Bring attention to scents that you usually filter out, either pleasant or unpleasant. Catch a whiff of the pine trees outside or food cooking in the kitchen.
Finally, notice 1 thing you can taste. Take a sip of a drink, chew gum, or notice the current taste in your mouth.
And when all else fails, make it as weird and whimsical as possible and see how your brain loves that DOSE!
On this National Lampoon-ish type day where one thing went wrong after another, I was able to tap into that part of myself that I have cultivated and conditioned through years of brain retraining - that part of my brain that has fun and enjoys life as opposed to reveling in negative events and pain.
Life is messy and even the best of days have bumps and bruises - even a recovered life. By learning how to navigate the unexpected and choosing positivity, even your “National Lampoon” days will be full of fun, magic and wonderful experiences.
Astra Rebecca is now fully recovered and thriving! She is a brain retraining coach and the owner and creator of Yay! Neuroplasticity Coaching. One of her greatest passions in life is helping people reach their full potential using the techniques that she has created and put into practice. She enjoys being outrageously optimistic, hiking, biking, wearing and making costumes, singing, creating zany art, spending time with loved ones, hugging every animal, and always DTR (down to round). You can follow her on Instagram @yayneuroplasticy for colorful, positive, and informative neuroplasticity-based posts. Follow her personal IG @yayastra for adventures and to see what's possible when you retrain your brain. Please send questions or coaching inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or DM her on Instagram or @yayneuroplasticity.