My interest in human behaviour started way back as a little girl watching Friday night shoppers stroll up and down Victoria Ave. Those old enough should remember that local tradition well. However it wasn't until about 25 years ago when I picked up my first book about how to change thoughts, that escalated my interest even further. The book was called Hypnothink by Ursula Markham. She wrote it as an account of her inspirational meeting with a man who was struck down with a severe stroke yet he had surpassed all expectations and prognosis with a complete recovery. Hypnothink is how he believed he recovered. One thing that distinguished him from others was that he had a strong conviction of just how powerful his thoughts were and he used this belief to heal his broken body. Granted he was a hypnotist by trade and the extra-ordinary to him was 'normal' in his mind. (Boy have I thought about the irony of this – twenty five years on as I now have someone in my life who has also had a severe stroke!). Knowing what I know now, hypnothink is another name for neuroplasticity. i.e. the brain's ability to change, re-create, or create new neural pathways. This isn't a coloumn about 'healing' but about possibilities. I've personally explored many pathways seeking broader understanding around health and well being; from organised religion, to a large genre of what some people call 'alternative' therapies. I've touched on physiology, the principles of exercise, rehabilitation, human development and the social context in which we live, and all of it has had an impact on my belief system and I've learnt and integrated a lot. Neuroscience brings it all together for me with proof of what otherwise would have been cast aside as pie in the sky. Imaging techniques can now catch a thought's pathway as it travels through our brain, old thoughts, new thoughts, negative and positive, even prayer and medatitive thoughts - can all be tracked, and physical effects measured as a consequence. At last science can now prove what has been known for centuries by many cultures, how our mental/emotional and spiritual health affects our physical health. The thoughts we have - matters. It does open up a whole lot of questions about how this technology may be utilised in the future though. Will it be better for us? Will we use it to empower us or will others use it to control our thoughts? Will it bring unity or more division? The current biomedical model of health will look very differently once it becomes mainstream that our body must work as a whole system and not just from a pathological perspective. We are made up of systems within systems all working holistically together and neuroscience is the proof to those who are skeptical. Obviously my interest is in empowering others by creating more awareness around the need for more self efficacy. I walk alongside people helping them to find (or re-find) their skills and passions to bring mindfulness to their lives which inevitably encompasses body/mind/spirit and relationships. One sustained step forward in one area will bring a step forward in others but like anything it takes practise and consistency. The biggest habit to break is the habit of ourselves, as our brains are designed to reflect the context in which we live. That means that when forward steps are needed we will need to think objectively at times, and be able to think bigger than some of our limiting thoughts. Whilst they are valid and awareness of them is needed, it is how we manage them that will be crucial to our wellness. Often we need to ensure that our relationships around us support us in the way we need to get us through. If we have people around us that would rather that we don't change then it's going to be extremely difficult. If we don't like the solutions in our lives we need to not wait for others or our environments to change, but change the way we act by changing the way we think which will in turn change everything and everyone around us.
My Dad was my 'rock' and someone whom I could rely on when needed. He never faltered with his support and to this day is unmatched with the reliability and stability that he unconditionally offered. Therefore it is of little surprise to me that even in death he still helped/helps me. Some would say the following story is just a co-incidence, others may say it's a miracle. I don't care what people call it, to me it's just my experience of something that happened. Sixteen years ago I returned to Whanganui as a single mum, with no money, no friends, and little local connections. I was struggling with post natal depression and isolation was a big issue. Just to add to my woes my car failed it's WOF, leaving me no choice but to write it off. I was really concerned about this as I knew that having no vehicle would isolate me even further. In the past I was very fortunate to have had a father who had always helped me select my cars, and I was now faced with this dilemma on my own. I had no idea where to start other than to go looking through car yards. Trade Me did not exist back then. My mum suggested that we start at the car dealers where she had traded my dads old car about a year previously. Feeling very un confident and way out of my comfort zone I marched in asserting myself telling the dealer that I needed to buy a car, I had no money, and I begged him to please not sell me a lemon. I informed him that I havnt got a clue what I was looking for because I always relied on my dad to do this and he was now deceased. Once the poor man could get a word in, he gave me that look that says “I know something that you don't”. I took it as arrogance and was preparing myself for the typical sales banter that can accompany such a look. He then lowered his voice and calmly said to me, “Do you want to buy your Dads old car back...do you realise you are leaning on it?” Both my mother and I leapt back, confused and shocked as we slowly identified that yes in fact we were positioned right next to what had been our family car. (Why is it that we often don't see the obvious when we arn't looking for it)! He went on to tell us that the car had come back into the yard just a few days ago after being off the lot for about a year. Not only that, but because the car was so old he wanted to flick it off for the trade in price which meant I could afford it. What was the odds of those sequence of events simultaneously happening in a certain time frame in order for all this to line up? Ridiculously slim I would think! That experience changed the way I looked at things. Apart from the obvious in the fact that I dared to be so arrogant in assuming too much, my belief system also now consists of knowing that sometimes things happen that are way beyond logic, and maybe all we need to do is to stay open to infinite possibilities which defy our own limited beliefs.
F: Carlas Coaching For Health