Monday, March 7, 2016
It is never too late
Early relational experiences are encoded in our neural circuitry in the first 18 months of life. They are stored as implicit memory, inaccessible by means of conscious awareness, and form the templates through which we engage the relational world. As we have come to see, these organizing principles come surging in our intimate relationships – with lovers, friends, our children – as well as with the alchemical ‘other’ inside us, by way of previously disavowed emotions, feelings, and somatic information of all kinds.
Our expectations in relationship – the reliability of others, our worthiness of being loved, what we can count on, our fears around being vulnerable – are structured in a fragile little nervous system that is longing for safety and connection. The neural pathways are tender, open, and responsive, as we seek attuned, right brain-to-right brain resonance with those around us. We want to feel felt, to have our subjective experience held and mirrored, and for the space in which we can explore unstructured states of being.
While this encoding is deeply embedded, it can be rewired. While it may feel so entrenched, it is not as solid as it appears. Even if your early environment was one of consistent empathic failure, developmental trauma, and insecure attachment, it is never too late. The wild realities of neuroplasticity and the courage of the human heart is unstoppable and an erupting force of creativity and reorganization.
Through new relational experiences – with a therapist, a lover, a friend, a baby; or with a star, a deer, a tree, a sunset, or with the moon, it will be revealed that love is the basis of all neural circuitry. It is the substance which forms the neurons and their synapses, and lights up the cells in your heart in a fresh moment of warmth, presence, and kindness. Each time you meet and attune to another, receive their love, return it with your presence, and stay close with the ‘other’ within you, a new world is born.
As long as there is breath moving in and out, you can update the narrative. You can make new meaning of your life, make a new commitment to the miracle of the here and now, and learn to flood your immediate experience with presence, warmth, and acceptance. Slowly, over time, you can embed your neural circuitry with the new pathway of holding awareness.
No matter what is happening in your life, you can start right now. In this moment. There is only ever this moment. The opportunity for reorganization is always here and wired within you. Don’t give up. Love will never give up on you.