I test ‘drove’ some newly designed orthotics my chiropractor, Dr. Ali, had ordered in the mail. These orthotics were designed to stimulate the nerve pathways in the feet. In theory, the orthotics activate unused or under leveraged nerve centers in the feet, ankles and knees. These revitalized pathways transmit signals to the brain. Thus, the brain remaps itself in response to its new order.
In the bigger picture: With this brain remapping, the chiropractic structural alignments might have enhanced integrity; alignment would retain in the body longer. In this brain remapping, generated ‘system’ memory, the brain can now effectively send signals to the rest of the body in response to physical activity like Kawhi Leonard one-hand dunking a basketball or me throwing some dude to the mat in Aikido.
Brain remapping might sound like science fiction. Yet, as a Satellite System Engineer, it makes a measure of sense. It makes more sense in another context, as well.
I’ve suffered and experienced depression. About 5 years ago, after ignoring the symptoms for a lot of years, I crashed. I sought help from my therapist Lance. While working intensely with Lance, it was clear to him that I suffered from severe depression and trauma.
Think of it like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yeah, apparently not only soldiers in war were affected. Me, too. The trauma sourced from my unresolved fears of my Dad, when I was a little boy. So effectively my past determined my present and possible future. Damn.
In my heightened stress scenario, my brain rewired. For example, sustained stress levels in the body produce high levels of cortisol in the brain, as a survival mechanism.
Resolving my fear as a child with Lance was necessary to begin to heal and forgive me. Yet, I also had to find a way to remap the pathways of my brain and lessen the aftermath of trauma. Anti-depressants didn’t work for me. Their side-effect symptoms created even more anxiety for me.
So I tried meditation. It seemed to work. 10 to 20 minutes a day started to calm my mind. No, I’m no meditation guru. I can’t attain mushin (“empty mind”) for any extended period of time. Yet, I try. Albeit that I suck at meditation, rather I’m not as good as I would like. However, centering and breathing makes a profound difference. At times I experience peace within.
I read that one of the benefits of meditation is that it rewires or remaps the pathways of our brains. Meditation over time can remap the brain to a steady-state. That makes sense, even from an engineering perspective. So can we re-engineer our brains, re-create our own measure of peace?
Maybe. I really don’t know. What I do know is that it takes practice. As Sensei might say, “Just train.” So I meditate every morning even if it’s for 5 minutes. For me, it’s like brushing my teeth.
Meditation, therapy, Aikido, writing and really appreciating what I have helps remap my brain. Perhaps, I’m really remapping my soul along the journey to discover my measure of peace. Personally, it’s hard. It takes a lot of work, discipline, and will. In the end, I believe it’s worth it.
It’s like having spiritual ‘orthotics’. I remap my brain. I remap my spirit. Really, I get to reinvent myself, recreate my life.
I know what the darkest times can be. I would not wish that upon my fiercest opponent. No. With the help of a lot of special people, I’ve made it through to the other side. And I’m okay.
It’s funny. I’m making less money than I did 8 years ago. I don’t have a lot of the material things that I wished for. Yet, I find myself happy for the most part. I’ve learned to forgive and love me. I try to see the greater than in others. I do what I love: Aikido, writing, seeing movies, working with talented people in my career. Most of all, I find myself blessed with the people in my life. I’m forever grateful.
In life, both joy and shit will happen. Life is imperfectly perfect. Part of that beauty is remapping the life we live. Over time, nothing stays the same. So why should we expect that our lives will remain unscathed? I accept the inevitability of change. I embrace the reinvention of myself. Amen. Amen.