Sunday, December 22, 2019

The courage of the human heart

Early relational experiences are encoded in neural circuitry in the first 18 months of life. Stored as implicit memory, they are inaccessible by ordinary awareness, forming templates through which we engage the world. In a moment of activation, the templates come surging online. Before we realize it, previously sequestered material has flooded our perception.

Our expectations in relationship – whether we can count on others, are worthy of love, will allow another to matter or whether we can take the risk to lead with our vulnerability – are organized in a fragile little nervous system that yearns for connection. The neural pathways are tender and responsive, as we seek attuned, right-brain to right-brain resonance with those around us. We want to feel felt, have our experience held and mirrored, and for pure space in which we can explore unstructured states of being.

While this encoding is deeply embedded, it can be rewired. While it may feel entrenched, it is not as solid as it appears. Even if your early environment was one of 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.

Through new relational experiences – with a lover, a friend, a therapist, a baby; a star, a mountain, the moon, an animal-guide from the other world – love is hidden inside the caverns of neural circuitry. It is the substance which forms the neurons and their synapses, lighting up heart-cells in a moment of connection. Each time you attune to another – or to the unmet inner “other” within you – a new world is born.

As long as breath is present, you can update the narrative, recraft your perception and re-envision a new story. You can make new meaning of your life, re-imagine your purpose, and renew your commitment to being here. Slowly, you can revise your circuitry with pathways of holding awareness, flooding it with empathic attunement, presence, and warmth.

No matter what is happening in your life, you can start right now, in this moment. The opportunity for reorganization is always here and wired deep within you. Don’t give up. Love will never give up on you.

Art credit: Moose as guide and portal by Krista Marleena

Falling in Love with Where You Are: Embracing the Joy and Heartbreak of Spiritual Awakening - our annual spring, five-day retreat - will take place April 22-27, 2020 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with myself and Jeff Foster. Tickets will go on sale on January 1. More information here

My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Meditative, Nondual, and Depth Psychological Perspectives - is currently closed to new members. To learn about the program and put your name on the mailing list for future re-opens, please visit the site here

My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is available in both paperback and Kindle editions. 

My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2020.