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  • Patti Norris

What programs are YOU running?

So, ask yourself this question...Do I have recurring thoughts and behaviours that get in the way of me having what I want in my life? The answer, my friends, is YES!! How can I say that with so much certainty? Because we all do!

Life is not always a cake-walk...in fact at times it can be tough. Whether it stems from a childhood with emotional and physical neglect, sexual abuse or other type of trauma, living in poverty, or more gentle forms of dysfunction, such as divorce, or regular old sibling rivalry...none of us gets through childhood unscathed. And then there are the things we experience as adults....loss, financial worries, managing the needs of children and aging parents, our own health challenges...all of this on top of the pressures of living in this fast-moving, high-stress world.

Sometimes our negative thoughts and behaviours are very obvious to us, and those that we come into contact with, and other times they are insidious, running below our conscious awareness...essentially "programs" running in our subconscious minds.

Our subconscious is in control of 90-95% of our behaviour, all based on the references and beliefs that we have learned from our experiences. What this means is that the quality of our lives is largely based on the quality of our experiences!

Our brain's primary purpose is to keep us alive....it is not at all concerned with whether or not we are happy! It functions as the ultimate "recycler", and it tends to focus on the experiences that pack the most emotional "punch." All of those difficult experiences that made the biggest impressions on us as children, the ones that take up the most storage space in the "hard drive" of our brains, these are the ones that end up being recycled, over and over again, as we move through our lives. In an attempt to keep us safe, our brain takes the lessons learned and conclusions we came to in response to these child-hood experiences, and re-applies them in response to our current lives. This is why, when your partner speaks to you in a certain tone of voice, that is remarkably similar to the one your father used when he was calling you out as a teenager, you shrink and want to run away, accompanied by all of the same physical reactions you experienced at that time...the racing heart, the pressure in your head, all of it. Our bodies store these emotional reactions as physical sensations, which lays the groundwork to experience mind-body symptoms as we move through our lives You are not that teenager anymore, but your brain senses "danger," and you respond as if you were! Pretty cool, huh? Like I said, our brains are the ultimate recyclers.

So, how do we take charge of the programs that our brain uses to run our lives? How do we live a life based on what we choose now, rather than old, outdated, default programs that don't serve us anymore? This is where things get interesting!

The last couple of decades have seen amazing developments in our understanding of how the brain works. The general rule of thumb has been that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to change our thought patterns and behaviours, in a way that sticks...essentially that "You can't teach an old dog, new tricks!" Turns out that this is not true, as there are some very accessible ways to reprogram the "supercomputer" between our ears, if we have the desire and willingness to do it!

I would also like to suggest that you check out the work of Canadian researcher and author of "The Memory Illusion," Julia Shaw. She has proven through her work on memory that our memories are often not accurate portrayals of the events in our lives....Check out her TED talk, titled "Is Your Memory Just an Illusion?" If we can accept the idea that the way our brains have stored the experiences of our past may not be accurate, then why would we let these old "stories" run our lives now? Why would we let programs that are based on inaccurate information control the course of our lives? And to take this one step further, why would we let something that happened years or decades ago, rob us of the potential and joy in our lives today? This moment is all we really have...it is the only thing that is real.

What "programs" are you running that don't serve you? What self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviours do you have? How do you want to live this day? What are you willing to let go of so that you can live a life that you love? If you would like some help getting to the bottom of these questions, please reach out to me at pattinorris.com. I am ready to help you create "programs" that make the most of your life, and who doesn't want that?

As Mary Oliver so eloquently put it..."What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"



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