Caviar For The Brain

February 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

A couple of days ago I went to see Shutter Island, the new Martin Scorsese film with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Without giving the plot away one of the main topics of the film is mental illness.  While I didn’t love the film it was good enough to make me think about our mind’s fragility.  It took me back to when my husband was sick with liver disease and could barely put a sentence together because all of the ammonia in his brain.  It took me back to when after his transplant the combination of steroids and the ammonia turned him into another mind who thought our reality was a fiction of a parallel world.  And it took me back to when exhausted from lack of sleep and the emotional drain of three months fighting to keep my husband alive, I doubted my own sense of reality and thought maybe he, through his illness, had found the truth about life.

Of course these are all extreme cases but it all points out to how fragile and susceptible our minds are.  Feed your mind confusion and sadness and your life will be confused and sad.  Feed your mind love and hope and your life will be filled with love and hope.

I’m not trying to be simplistic about life and feelings. Actually I think life is very complicated.

Many things happen to us that are beyond our control and hurt us deeply but a mind that tries to see and experience beauty more than despair, is a mind that will help navigate us from darkness to light when life becomes too hard.

Recently talking to a friend we came to the conclusion that our sense of survival is one of our strongest driving forces if not the strongest.  Some of us have seen and experienced situations that are so devastating that we wonder how we’ll be able to continue but somehow we do.  We do because first our survival instinct takes over than we do because our mind follows.

Cognitive science (study of how information is represented and transformed in the brain) affirms that the vast information and experiences that we store inside our brain are all interconnected and related with each other, some more strongly or loosely than others and that the well being of the organism is determined by the degree to which the organism feels in control of its environment or situation. Health varies with the level of control that is perceived.

So as the saying goes “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right”.  Or: “Every man has in himself a continent of undiscovered character. Happy is he who acts as the Columbus to his own soul”.

But most importantly let us not feed our minds junk food.  Let’s feed them with the most exquisite delicacies and most likely the glass will most often be half full and not half empty.


Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

October 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

I don’t have a clue.  Seriously, I don’t have the faintest.  To me life contains as much randomness as purpose.  Shit happens as they say, and anyone that says that you can control what happens in your life by only having positive thoughts is lying.  The bottom line is that there are too many people, too many things going on for us to have complete control over our lives.  I don’t care how many affirmations you say every day or how kind you are, that shit will still happen.  Someone you know will die, lose a job, have a fight, get sick etc.

Early this morning I got a call from my eighty five year old neighbor who lives alone.  She had fallen on the street and wondered if I could take her to the emergency care.  “Of course” I replied.  So I made a cup of coffee while I got dressed and then left the house.

After two hours at the emergency care, my neighbor was going to be taken to X-ray, so I told her I was going to drive home and leave a key under my mat for my brother in law who was coming to visit.

And so I did that.  Ran home, pet my dog, had another cup of coffee, left a key under the mat and got back in my car to drive back to Keiser when boom,  a car rams into me.  This girl, because she was in residential Silver Lake didn’t think she needed to put all her attention into her driving and was actually putting on her make up while driving. Basically she ran the stop sign.

My first thought was “why me?”.  I’m already spending my Saturday morning at a hospital and my week didn’t fair much better, so why do I get hit while doing a good deed?  For no simple reason or better yet for no reason at all and that’s the point.  Things in life will sometimes come out of nowhere without discrimination of gender, social status, age or our score in the goodness scale.

I may right about now be sounding really doom and gloom so here is the good news: “YOU CAN CHOOSE HOW TO PROCESS ALL OF IT”.  I wrote in caps because it’s a big concept.  We can choose how much we are going to let things that we have no control over poison us with anger, frustration and irritation.  I’m not suggesting we should all become enlightened people and not be bothered by anything – although that would be certainly an achievement – but I’m suggesting we can temper our reactions.

Let’s think about my car:  the dent is already there and no amount of anger towards the girl who now was even more late now to get to work than before, would change that. Taking out my frustration on her had the potential of escalating things.  So I took a minute to myself and breathed deeply a few times before addressing this girl in a firm way. I got her information, waited for the police to come and then went home.

Once home, I turned the music on and did some stretches on the floor to get rid of the tension building up in my body.  I again thought about what would be the worst thing that could happen in this whole accident situation. The answer was me having to cough up the deductible to have my car fixed, and while no fun, it was not worth ruining my day over.

And then I thought of my neighbor who had said to the nurse that she was a lucky person because her neighbor, meaning me, had the time and the care to bring her to the hospital instead of saying how bad her life is without a family, that she has to depend on a neighbor to take care of her.

So while I accept that there is plenty of randomness in this world I know for a fact that how we deal with everything is completely up to each one of us and in that there is no randomness.