Change is difficult. It is easier and much safer not to ask or answer the difficult questions that may bring change and instead stay stuck within life’s merry-go-round of boredom, disappointments and pain.
In my book The Rewired Brain, I describe three types of people: (1) Those who have no desire to change, lack empathy and believe it’s the world with the problem, not them; (2) People who continue to suffer in unhealthy cycles and toxic relationships but are stuck because they cannot recognize that they have the capacity to change or that they contribute to their situations; and (3) Individuals who have also suffered from this broken world, have made mistakes, perhaps hurt others, and experienced pain and devastation as a result of their unconscious responses to trauma, abuse, rejection, neglect, and betrayal at some point in their lives.
However, unlike the first two groups, this third group over time becomes keenly aware that many of their strategies to life have not worked, and they become determined to find new and better ways to find and express their true Selves. They may have lost in life so far, but they have not given up. They have a strong desire to learn new ways to live in order to create a better future.
If you are a part of this group, you are what my favorite author Paulo Coelho calls a “Warrior of Light.”
You recognize and acknowledge that your life needs to change, and understand the power within you and within your thoughts to change. You are ready and determined to courageously continue on the path of making better choices and living fearlessly.
I believe God was well aware of how tough this earthly life would be and therefore provided us with minds that can recover from our deepest hurts and mistakes. In this way, He provided us incredible grace and made it possible for us to get second, third, and more chances at a new life.
That being said, the process of rewiring is not easy. The brain circuits and superhighways developed by our past must be downgraded and new, more powerful, healthy ones built. Several years ago, I was diagnosed with a serious prostate cancer, the same cancer that took the life of my father at age 66. I was terrified! My diagnosis triggered great fear in me because it made me remember how this cancer and its transition to lung cancer had rapidly led to my father’s death.
But remembering my dad also triggered something else. Dad was my hero, and I also remembered how courageously he lived life with complete freedom, even in the face of cancer. He never let his family and friends know he was dying because he was living so beautifully. So instead of succumbing to the psychological depression this cancer could have given me, I did what my dad would have done.
First, I imagined the one thing that I wanted to do most. I had always wanted to learn to sail, and had never taken the time to do it. So I immediately got on an airplane and flew down to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. I then got on a sailboat alone with a captain for two weeks. During that time, I earned three sailing certificates and became qualified to sail a large boat. I then came home and bought a sailboat called “Omega.” You see, I did not need or want to focus on my cancer, so I rewired my mind in another direction by intense motivation and concentration on my new obsession…sailing.
Now, three years in remission, I still go to my boat to rewire and inhale the freedom it has given me from fear and regret. I sail throughout the outer banks from Oriental to Ocracoke to Manteo. This is the time when I replace the what-if thoughts of cancer and my job with the peace, freedom and simply being of the wind and water. Maybe you have a place that helps you rewire a tragedy, fear or trauma. Perhaps the beach, a mountain trail or doing something you’ve always wanted to embark upon but have not had the courage. I implore you to “just do it!” If you focus on fear, the fear circuits in your brain will only get stronger and eventually you will be paralyzed by anxiety.
If you, your true Self, deeply desire change and freedom and are willing to become a “Warrior of the Light”, then these are the brain highways that will become stronger and your life will be filled with freedom and joy. And before you know it, you will be doing something you never imagined…like sailing throughout the outer banks!