FORTY-DAYS OF LOVE
Lent has always been a time of mind over matter for me. Whenever I have honored the days, between Ash Wednesday and Easter, I did so by challenging myself to change a behavior. Some years I quit chocolate or other vices but recently I have started to add a good behavior for the forty day cycle, like exercise or included fruits and vegetables into my daily diet. When I started adding this positive behavior, Lent became a whole new experience that I looked forward to.
This year, March 1, 2017 – April 16, 2017, I am following Jesus’ tradition and seeking council in the wilderness for forty days. The definition of wilderness means a wild place which is removed from all human influence and control. I am recreating this wild retreat by unplugging myself from the world and going dark for 15 minutes every day. My intention is to listen to the gentle Wisdom deep within my heart and heed its call.
“Does not Wisdom call out? Does not understanding, raise her voice? O people, I call out to all mankind, those who seek me will find me. Whoever finds me, finds life.” (Proverbs 8:1-17)
In the Old Testament, asking for Wisdom meant you were communing with the Goddess. Wisdom is calling out to all those who are searching and I plan on finding Her during my 15 minutes in the wilderness and regaining my life. “Knowing thyself” is a concept I believe in and I’m positive forty days of Wisdom is my key to opening up the gate to transcendence.
I hope my forty day challenge of love inspires you too, but whatever you decide to do at least be mindful of “Who’s driving the bus”. That was the question posed by my teacher, Rosanne Bane, in her book “Around the Writers Block: Using Brain Science”. What Bane was trying to say was that sometimes we aren’t in control of our thoughts because of the way our brain is wired. She claims that there are moments when the best part of you isn’t steering the wheel and it happens more often than you think.
The brain system has three parts; the brain stem which controls bodily functions, the limbic system which responds with flight or fight and the cortex or learning brain, which is the source of our “Higher thinking”. Optimally, the cortex should be driving our bus because it’s productive and creative but unfortunately our limbic system likes to push the cortex out of the driver seat and lead us around in a frantic panic.
What makes matters worse, is we don’t even realize it’s happening until it’s too late and you’re arguing with the “Peanut Gallery” inside your head. Bane explains that this group of neurons, found in the left hemisphere, are the real culprits for the negative story telling we tell ourselves. The “Peanut Gallery” are saboteurs’ and twists our thoughts to influence actions. These Saboteurs can literally wreak havoc with our peace of mind and understanding their intentions can stop the madness.
There are five types of Saboteurs in our brain system that dialog with us on a daily bases.
- “Attacker” -Its job is to insult everything you do so it will hate on you no matter what.
- “Enticer” – Its purpose is to stall progress and will whisper comments like, “Don’t worry about finishing that project, it will magically get done so just ignore it.”
- “Discreditor” – Its job is to point out how inexperienced you are and yet insist that it’s a waste of time to learn something new.
- “Protector” – Its job is to promise to keep you safe. It begs and pleads with you to stop whatever you’re doing claiming that it will be too emotional to handle. The protector is the worst kind of saboteur because it’s easy to believe it has our best interest at hand. Fear of failure can stop us in our tracks and stifle our creativity.
- “Unlucky” – Its job is to point out every failure you’ve had since childhood, regardless if it pertains to your current situation or not. Unlucky utilizes these past mistakes by spinning “what it” scenarios until you feel like a loser.
Unfortunately, you can’t destroy the comments from the, “Peanut Gallery” but you can redirect the neurons pathways by creating new habits. Bane suggests that adding 15 minutes of a new behavior and repeating that good habit can train your thoughts to respond differently to the saboteurs. Educating yourself is the first stage of awareness and taking action is the next.
These next forty days surround yourself with love whenever you feel yourself being sabotaged. Love sounds fluffy but it’s a fool-driven, self-sacrificing, heart-wrenching, euphoric energy that’s capable of supernatural wonders. Raising that extraordinary vibration is what brings out the hero within us all. It’s time to ask for love especially if you’ve lost that loving feeling and demand that this magical energy come back into your life. Let love prove its existence and then you’ll know thyself is true.
Reverend Shelli Haft