Lifting the Veil

I read an article today that really made a whole lot of sense to me (thanks Patti): https://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/05/what-kurt-vonnegut-taught-us-about-the-science-of-happiness/ 

I will wait here while you read the article so we can be on the same wavelength. Insert elevator music here.

Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson explains that positive and negative experiences accesses different memory pathways within the brain. That negative memories are like velcro, and positive experiences are like teflon.  The positive experiences don’t hold within our memories the way the negative do.

In his book, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, Dr. Hanson says that most of us don’t stay with positive experiences long enough for them to be “encoded” into our brain’s neural structure.

“The longer the (brain cell) neurons fire, the more of them that fire, and the more intensely they fire, the more they’re going to wire that inner strength—that happiness, gratitude, feeling confident, feeling successful, feeling loved and lovable.” Dr. Rick Hanson

You have to feed the positive memories. Give breath and life to them. Bring all the senses into that experience as you weave it into a memory. Consciously focus and remember the textures, sights, sounds, aromas, touch within that good experience.

Tell the story.

As a photographer, I can appreciate that! While I’m shooting, I often think about that. This one hour together is just like any other hour this family might have in their day. A little walk down a sun kissed pathway where trees bend to form arches (if you are lucky to find that scene). Yet, it becomes a tangible memory because it’s documented within a photograph.

It allows us to capture and freeze a fleeting moment. To lift the veil on the ordinary. Create beauty and meaning within the everyday.

Within the article linked above, a quote from Kurt Vonnegut left an impact with me. I will carry it with me into my days…

If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

There are so many tragic events within the world. It makes no sense. While it’s important to stay informed and focus attention there, I choose to do so in a way that breeds compassion and empathy.

The true gift in life is to celebrate and cherish all the beauty. Give meaning to it. Soak up the good. View life as a beautifully ever-shifting evolving cycle.  The terrible can also be a reminder of what it is to cherish the little moments of good within every single day. Because there are no guarantees. Life is precious and fleeting.

Even a tiny moment of connection with a stranger can tell you that we are all ONE. We can be united within understanding that we all grieve, laugh, and experience the high highs, and the low lows within life.

But truly living…is meant to come with feeling and creating memories out of moments.

Give life and breath to the positive ones.

I think that’s why I love lifting so much, I feel the entire time. It’s a challenge I can tap into at any time. How much do I feel when I’m tuned out on the couch, watching TV or scrolling over the daily FB highlight reel?

I have to remind myself to WAKE UP! Feel this life in all it’s phases…inhale the good stuff, exhale the bad stuff.

If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

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