Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Emotions paint and define the memorable times in our lives. They stand out in our minds as a gauge that defines our experiences; was that a happy time or an unhappy one? The terms, “the good old days” and “when life was simpler” create pictures of ease and comfort. At the same time we can have a tendency to distort and delete these memories too. I have beautiful, warm memories of Christmastime at my Grandmother's house. She decorated her tree with gorgeous old ornaments from the 40’s and 50’s that, as a kid, would sparkle in a way that warmed me to the core. Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra would play endlessly on a turntable encased in a huge console.
I loved the way she wore her bright red lipstick and her stylish pant suits. At the same time, there were aspects about her that were quirky and a bit unhealthy. She was not the best cook, she chain-smoked, and sometimes by the end of the night, she would chastise my Grandfather for something he did or didn't do, ending in an argument. During retraining it is best to focus on the positive, uplifting memories, and I certainly did that. As time passed I noticed that my emotions around these memories are neither good nor bad. They just were.
As my brain retraining went on, there was an unavoidable realization that maybe one of the contributing factors in the state of my health was more complex, in a way that limbic system injury didn’t totally explain. Actually, this was not a new revelation, just one that ran deeper than I could consciously know at the time. As I see it now, there were years of running the race, so to speak. Being a mother of three young children, subscribing to the constantly busy and doing phase of this time of life. Being a type A personality replaced the easygoingness of who I really was. I wasn’t only running a house, sports practices and volunteering, I was very stealthily running from myself. It was a convenient cover, wasn't it? I was running from the limiting beliefs that I wasn't worthy or good enough. As I calmed, let go and soothed the state of my brain that told me that the pursuit of perfection and control were my salvation, tears began to flow during my rounds. The release that took over was like a sweet, cooling summer rain. In one round, I walked along the banks of the creek by my house, the leaves of the Sycamore trees moving with the pattering force of each drop, producing steam and releasing more and more of their earthy scent. I bathed in it. It brought back a time in my life when I felt strong and sure of who I was. I was so ready to live and to let my life force heal not only my body but all of me.
It's clear to me now that there was and continues to be an unstoppable process at play. My healing was a practice of letting go and letting in. Little by little, round by round,
my fixed way of thinking and feeling softened and with time I no longer needed to hold everything in place, to feel safe. What I believe to be my intuition started to occupy more of my awareness. Our stress response has a way of filtering out things such as compassion (especially self-compassion), joy, gratitude, peace and acceptance and with it, the innate ability to be still. It also takes an undeniable toll on our physical well being and our ability to enjoy the precious moments in life. This healing work and all that followed created so many unexpected experiences, so many opportunities to learn and grow and so much unplanned joy. Fortunately for us, the work never ends. There is never a point where unexpected and marvelous experiences cease to amaze us. I now trust that I will thrive no matter what life offers up, as long as I remember to let go of what no longer serves me.
What do you need to let go of for your next incredible unexpected experience to happen?
Dawn Minami a Certified Health Coach, HeartMath®, Master NLP® and Mental and Emotional Release® Practitioner. She is also the mother of a family that spent the best part of a decade all living with Lyme disease. Having liberated not only herself, but also her husband and 3 children, she is now a passionate advocate for neuroplasticity, breaking free from our patterns and building great health against the odds. Dawn is now making up for lost time pursuing yoga, hiking, singing and spending time in nature with her limbically challenged rescue boxer, Faith. Dawn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @dawnbradleyminami