Thank you for opening our newsletter, and letting me share my thoughts and our studio's activities with you. I know you have a lot of emails and other messages wanting your attention, so the fact that most of you open this, and many even respond and comment means a lot. It really is amazing how many energies are out there wanting to influence our attitudes and behavior. News sources, social media, mail, family, friends, neighbors, pets - there is almost nothing we come into contact with that does not have an energetic influence on us. Our brains are constantly filtering all of these sensory inputs, and the millions of processes going on within our bodies, and making adjustments for us that we are not even aware of. I am fascinated by neurology and brain research. As scientists learn more about how our brains work there are so many opportunities to reframe how we think of ourselves and our relationship to the world around us.
I have just read Lisa Feldman Barrett's book "7 1/2 Lessons About The Brain" and she explains that our brains are predictive, they are wired to act before our awareness kicks in. So you may think that you are in full control of your actions, but how you act is based on your lifetime of experiences. That is why it can be hard for us to understand other people's actions… because we do not know all of the things that happened in their lives that led them to this moment. Each of us is a unique representation of decades of influences. In fact, it is really generations because of the ripple effects of influence passed on from your ancestors to your parents and then to you. That is what karma is. We often think of karma as kind of a tit-for-tat scenario. It is more productively understood as the build-up of circumstances and influences that predicates our actions and is unique to me, or you, or that guy that cut you off in traffic yesterday.
Does that mean that fate alone determines our paths? No. My favorite passage from Dr. Barrett's book is this: "It's impossible to change your past, but right now, with some effort, you can change how your brain will predict in the future. You can invest a little time and energy to learn new ideas. You can curate new experiences. You can try new activities. Everything you learn today seeds your brain to predict differently tomorrow." And that will influence your future.
I think this is a refreshing way to frame your intentions for the new year. First, by accepting that where you are today is ok. You are a wonderful unique person doing the best you can with the circumstances of your life. Rather than expending energy wishing the past was different, what if we spend it being curious about what we can learn to expand our perspective and how that could enrich our future experience? So here is to a year of curating activities that let you cut new neural pathways in your brain to let you live your best life!