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Gray Matters

I truly believe that one essential step in getting your life back, having a life you actually love, is being able to picture in your mind's eye what you want. I'm not schooled in 'The Secret,' but rather in how the brain can work for us when we give it images of what an ideal outcome looks like to us. Athletes and other pros know that mental rehearsal for positive outcomes works. I'm using it more and more with situations that seem out of my wheelhouse.

When we get to know ourselves enough to know what is uniquely compelling, exciting, fulfilling to us, it gives our brain, or that program that runs in the background of our thinking, a way to sort through each crossroad, each moment-to-moment choice. It's like the operating system in your brain starts assisting you in moving toward that image. Choosing this will get you closer to or farther away from that picture. Rehearsing a mental image makes subtle opportunities stand out in our psychological field that we otherwise would have overlooked had we not envisioned an ideal outcome.

Which, naturally, brings me to me. I have an image of myself growing old - elderly - that is not even remotely ideal. I didn't consciously put it there, it's just there. Even when I'm not actively dreading the worst case scenario and planning how to take matters into my own inventive, elderly hands, I have not even thought to challenge the inevitability of being dependent, bored, inconsequential and biding my time until I finally get to slip this skin.

This has got to change. This is a new frontier for me. I am determined to start creating more positive, uplifting images for what's possible for the distant future. For what it's worth, at the very least, with more positive images of what's possible, I'll spend today feeling better about tomorrow when my mind travels there - and it does. Creating a new ideal outcome feels like, as I like to say to clients who have not yet grown neural pathways for visualizing positive outcomes, I'm pushing through gray matter. (Ha! Gray matters!!) There has seemed no mental pathway to walk for any other future version of 'Arlyn' except the one that got put in place as my parents went down that long slow road through dementia, delusional disorder and Alzheimer's disease. That's gotta change. It's necessary, and not necessarily easy, to forge new (neural) paths through new territory. I've got my courage, my machete and I'm ready to cut new trails to a more intriguing future.


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