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Taking in the good

Thanks to impermanence, seasons are always changing. Whether you are reading this at the timing of first posting, springtime (my favorite season), or at another time later, it’s good to notice changes in our surroundings.

For instance, during spring, when the days become longer and warmer, life is manifesting in all its beauty and variety to become fully alive during summer. During fall we see the letting go of leaves and anticipate a time of rest that often comes with winter.

Taking time

When I have some time, I like to go on a walk, especially when my head feels ‘full’, or my body feels numb or tired.

I don’t go anywhere special or fancy, just taking a small tour in my neighbourhood. I appreciate how my neighbours are tending to their gardens, sharing it with all who walk by to enjoy. I notice that little snowdrops or crocus are showing their heads. Birds are singing and playing.

These short sense-and-savour walks offer me a mini-vacation, so I can get on with the rest of the day feeling a bit more energised and nourished.

  • Maybe you can take some time to go outside, wander and enjoy some sunlight. What do you notice? Perhaps the temperature of the air (getting warmer), seeing some early flowers peek their heads out.
  • Whatever you notice, bring a sense of newness, freshness and curiosity to it.
  • If you notice something pleasant, please allow yourself to take this ‘goodness’ in.
  • Cultivate a sense of “awe” - as it was a miracle - and it truly is!

How positivity can impact the brain

If you think ‘this is not how I experience life at all, usually I feel meh’, don’t worry! It means you are human!

Our brains are hardwired to pay extra attention to negative things, and to ignore the small pleasures that surround us every day.

  • This is called the ‘negativity bias’.
  • To put it simply: our brains are programmed to be like Velcro for ‘bad things’ and to be like Teflon for ‘good things’: the bad sticks, and the good washes away.
  • This has evolutionary value (survival!), but is not helping us to feel relaxed and fulfilled.

Fortunately, we can learn how to rewire our brain.

Why pay attention to our brain?

It’s important to attend to the garden of our mind. It is possible to practice ways of rewiring our brain. For instance, we can learn to do our ‘inner gardening’ in a way that is helpful for us.

In essence, we can manage our mind in three primary ways: let be, let go, let in.

  • We begin by observing what we are growing, what qualities and habits do we have?
  • Then we can make some decisions to prune or to pull some weeds, a type of letting go
  • And then we plant or water the things we want to grow. This way we can grow the resources that we want, that are healthy and helpful for us, that will help us deal with difficulty and allow us to thrive.

How to ‘take in the good’

  • Become aware of the fact that what you are experiencing is a positive experience. A time when you don’t need to be caught up in thinking but are present for this moment. What is it bringing you? Calm? Joy? Beauty?
  • Allow yourself a few extra seconds to really take it in: what do you really see? If you see a flower or a bird, do you marvel at the uniqueness of it?, do you enjoy its form and colour? Are you grateful for having the sense of sight?
  • You might also ask yourself: How does this make you feel? Do you feel lighter? How does your heart region feel? What else do you notice? Maybe a smell? Or the fresh air on your skin?
  • You can reflect on the following: Why does this matter to you? Maybe you feel satisfied for this moment that is freely given to you? Maybe you feel safe, knowing that goodness is always around, even when we forget it.
  • Let this experience sink in to you, and know that this calm, this joy, or whatever positive experience you have, is becoming a part of you. It is being hardwired in your brain.
  • Allow yourself to be inspired by this meditation on taking in the good

If you like to learn more about how to do this, please have a look at our regular offerings of the ‘positive neuroplasticity course’.  It might just be the boost you need to learn how to get a happier brain and build up your resilience.

Wishing you a wonderful exploration of whatever season you find yourself in!