Who or should I say, what is driving your ‘Brain Train’? In the most paralyzing and controversial time any of us has ever experienced, what sets this crisis apart from any other tragedy humanity has previously endured is technology has allowed us to experience this disaster “together” on a global level. We collectively know our suffering is shared. This may be comforting knowing we are not alone, but it is also fearful knowing we have an invisible enemy that is nondiscriminatory. Tuning in for information feeds our brains whether it is a news source, music you listen to, or the influences and philosophies flooding our news feeds. Day to day programing can persuade our beliefs from an institutional level as well as control our independent feelings about ourselves. We may be affected positively or negatively, depending on our personal circumstances. Our thoughts play a huge role in how we think, react, treat one another, and naturally, how we feel. We have heard wise sages advise it is time to get “grounded,” go on an “inward journey,” practice self-help, self-care, and self-love. We have been told self-care is not selfish. These points resonate well and complete foundational truths so we may lead healthy journeys. I am saturated with “how-to” instructions for beauty, diet, DIY, relationship advice, how to become a millionaire in 30 days, weeks, or months, 50 ways to leave your lover, and how to pray or meditate. If you need advice, anyone can easily find it with a few letters and a click. What I am about to share with you is a combination of innate wisdom gathered from the school of hard knocks along with education and field training in spiritual ministry and humanitarian aid.Proverbs 23:7 tells us “as a man (or woman) thinks, so is he/she.” Friends, some of us are getting through this unprecedented moment in time with flying colors and our personal growth is off the charts! For those of you who have been riding on the positive vibe track, keep it up! I still invite you to stay with me through this article because what I must share is valuable for you too. It is always good for us to know a different perspective and maybe read words of guidance so we may be equipped to guide others and learn how to make that message deliverable. For those who have been stuck on a negative track I am here to help you stop this train so you can get off and “switch your track” just as if you were catching a connecting train that leads elsewhere. In other words, change your thought! It is time for you to give your brain a break. And not only are you going to look, act, and feel better, but this will have a huge impact starting with a ripple effect to your family, friends, and colleagues and collectively. As we heal individually, we are going to cause a global healing and come back even stronger than before; one brain train track change at a time. All aboard!So, what do I mean by being stuck on a “negative track”? It means that your thought process constantly repeats itself. You are riding a loop over and over in your mind: “I’m too fat,” “I’m unlovable,” “I’m at a disadvantage because I’m___________ (black, white, female, disabled, etc.),” “I’ll never afford that,” or “I’m not happy.” If you catch yourself making a negative comment to yourself (out loud or in your head) stop! That is it- just stop. Then recite something positive, out loud. Science tells us that if we hear something through our outer ear it resonates deep in our psyche and becomes our truth. We believe it. Clinical studies have reported that the mind retains information much better by reading out loud rather than reading silently. The same goes for statements of affirmation. Tell yourself out loud: “I am enough, I am strong, I am healthy, I am good, I am worth it,” Etc. Even if you are not fully healthy, start saying it out loud! Let your words sink into your soul and become food for thought and the fuel that drives your energy. Another example of negative thinking is someone who refuses to look on the bright side, find humor or a silver lining in difficult situations. Folks who are so ungrateful verses practicing gratitude. Consider a mother figure who is to be an example to her children but is always rather disappointed with anything gifted to her because it was not exactly what she wanted or worse, what she expected. Rather than being gracious and kind about the effort put into getting the gift, she will always express her disappointment even to her own children, and how what was done for her just was not good enough. Think about the ripple effect: she is either raising future spoiled brats or insecure adults who become co-dependent and cannot accept positive news because they are always doomed. Negativity breeds negative.The good news is, we have the power to stop this destructive behavior and it all lies within our own thoughts!For a season I was a toxic person to my friends and family when I went through an upheaval that was completely unexpected and an utter failure. I kept repeating bad habits because my self-worth had plummeted so low, I was allowing abusive people into my life. I had no evidence that I could hold a healthy relationship together. My behavior was so unusual for the confident woman I typically am that my friends were asking me, “who are you?” I stared blankly right back at them and said, “I don’t really know what happened to me.” I went through therapy and it was not until a judge validated me in divorce court that I was able to release the self-sabotages I permitted in my life and kicked every bad habit. I held onto my spiritual faith by a hair, but ironically, do you know how strong a strand of hair is? They say all strands of hair combined on a head could hold the weight of two elephants or equally as strong as the strength of Kevlar, which is used to make bullet proof vests. [Secrets of Human Hair; May 27, 2004. theguardian.com]The point is we all have a strength inside of us and we must never lose site of tapping into it. We must do all we can to not engage in toxic behavior whether it be ourselves or equally as difficult: interacting with a person during a toxic moment. Notice I did not say the person specifically is toxic but rather their behavior may be.
The person themselves is always redeemable. Never lose hope in one’s progress in this journey called life. During the weak moments of the above-mentioned season my friends and family had to practice putting their own boundaries in place. I would call night after night repeating the same trauma or each visit would be taken over by a control freak blowing up my phone distracting me from my healthy social time with friends and family or worse, interrupting my workday because engaging with this person took over my life. Eventually it spilled into everyone else’s space and my job and healthy relationships were threatened. I had to make decisions and if it were not for my manager at work along with close friends and family telling me that I was heading for more downward spirals, I may have gone further down that rabbit hole. The loving honesty, even if hard to hear, saved my spirit and renewed my strength to take a stand against destructive behavior. A friend had to remind me, “Jen, if you are going to go through an international divorce and custody loss make it count. Be the person you left your toxic marriage for, don’t repeat the mistakes.” And along with the words of the Judge validating my testimony I pulled my big girl britches back up and reclaimed my crown.Think about your own milestones you have reached and even if you are someone who’s “had it together” or somewhat a little easier, be careful because pride will always come before the fall and the Great Spirit of this Universe will allow you to experience a humbling moment to remind you of just how imperfect you are. So, as we all “judge not, lest we be judged” let us all learn to identify toxicity by either looking in the mirror or taking inventory in those we’re surrounded with and lovingly create boundaries as needed so we can create that space for our own healing and sacred energy. Learn how to commune with your beliefs: whether it be God, Higher Power, higher self, nature, etc. Find that inner balance and peace. The first step: change any negative thoughts into positive ones. This is easier said than done. I once had to make a conscious effort to capture a repeated negative thought and stop it several times within a one-minute time span. Sometimes our thoughts wander. Ever drive down a road and realize you “forgot” the last 10 seconds or even 10 minutes? You were on “auto-pilot” and your brain was on a “runaway train.” Practice being present in your thoughts every moment and pay attention to your thoughts. Once you commit to positive thinking you will be amazed at how your own mental and even physical energy is going to change. You will automatically raise your vibration and thus produce healing energy both on a cellular level as well as healing your mind.Be honest with yourself, are you stuck in a negative rut? Maybe not entirely, perhaps you are mostly a happy person but is there that one little nagging notion, fear, or anxiety that has a grip on you? Some of us who are overly positive often miss a little cobweb in the corner of our mind during an internal cleanse or detox from negative energy. Kindly remember when practicing tough love through boundaries or offering guidance to a loved one, we could easily be in the place needing that guidance one day no matter how mature or awakened we are. Let us be gentle with one another and with ourselves and heal this planet one brain train track change at a time.