The brain has the ability to change, but it can also be consistent. Myelin in a healthy brain is what causes it to remain consistent. This is why breaking bad habits, like smoking, can be so difficult. Once a pathway is insulated with myelin it is difficult to change them. As it says in the book, myelin is fatty tissue and we all know how difficult it is to get rid of fat.
Speaking of detours, how was your drive to work? What did you listen to as you sat behind the wheel? Me? I am chillin’ to Blue October’s Home while nibbling on a pear and enjoying a cuppa fresh coffee. I have my copy of Around the Writer’s Block by Rosanne Bane resting in front of me, waiting for all of you to join in. We are on page 146. Are you with me? Did you grab your cuppa and a nibble? It is a cold gloomy day. My favorite. These are the days I tuck myself into a good book with a warm cuppa and my dogs at my feet. Aaaahhhh- join me.
Okay, so we were talking about the brain’s flexibility. I wish I was that flexible. I pull muscles tying my own shoes. But…there is always a but, with all its flexibility that means it can replace skills we don’t use. This is where the title “Use it or Lose it” came from. What you use often, practice and build routines for are safe from eradication. If you don’t write often your skills will wane. The neurons you built for your writing that are no longer in use will then transfer over to work for a different skill.
INQUIRY: “How can I design and practice rituals to support myself as a writer, an artist, and a human being?”
All talk and no action. Do you know people like that? I do. They talk a mighty good game but have nothing to show for it. I go to writer’s groups all the time where people talk constantly about ideas but have nothing on the page. Are you one of these people? Who is holding your feet to the fire? Maybe you need to have someone or a group of people you check in with. You can record your progress in a journal and grant yourself a reward when you have reached a goal you set for yourself. My reward is baking a blueberry lemon swiss roll and eating it without guilt- cuz I earned it.
Remember waaaaaaay back near the beginning of this series of posts when we talked about Process, Self-care, and Product Time? I know, that was like a million years ago but take some time and go back and refresh your memory, because it is time to start putting these ideas into practice. All habits, in the beginning, are hard to stick with. It’s kind of like the New Year’s Resolution to hit the gym. You don’t WANT to go but you understand you need to. That doesn’t mean you will…unless you build the habit. I have been going steadily for 5+ years. Do I like it? Not always. Do I regret ever going? No, I may have grumbled going in but feel proud coming out.
Let’s talk rewards. It is up to you. What prize will motivate you to accomplish something? Money? Food? Adventure? Remember, whatever the reward is, it should be used for YOU. If you are using money as a motivator then that cash should be used on you and only you. You earned it. If I made $5 for every post I threw up here- you would be reading 3 or 4 a day! But, I’m not money motivated. Cookies! Give me a cookie and I’m in!
Think about it. What is your reward?