Remapping Your Mind: The Neuroscience of Self-Transformation through Story by Lewis Mehl-Madrona M.D. Ph.D. (Author), Barbara Mainguy M.A. (Contributor)

A guide to retelling your personal, family, and cultural stories to transform your life, your relationships, and the world

• Applies the latest neuroscience research on memory, brain mapping, and brain plasticity to the field of narrative therapy

• Details mind-mapping and narrative therapy techniques that use story to change behavior patterns in ourselves, our relationships, and our communities

• Explores how narrative therapy can help replace dysfunctional cultural stories with ones that build healthier relationships with each other and the planet

We are born into a world of stories that quickly shapes our behavior and development without our conscious awareness. By retelling our personal, family, and cultural narratives we can transform the patterns of our own lives as well as the patterns that shape our communities and the larger social worlds in which we interact.

Applying the latest neuroscience research on memory, brain mapping, and brain plasticity to the field of narrative therapy, Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy explain how the brain is specialized in the art of story-making and story-telling. They detail mind-mapping and narrative therapy techniques that use story to change behavior patterns in ourselves, our relationships, and our communities. They explore studies that reveal how memory works through story, how the brain recalls things in narrative rather than lists, and how our stories modify our physiology and facilitate health or disease. Drawing on their decades of experience in narrative therapy, the authors examine the art of helping people to change their story, providing brain-mapping practices to discover your inner storyteller and test if the stories you are living are functional or dysfunctional, healing or destructive. They explain how to create new characters and new stories, ones that excite you, help you connect with yourself, and deepen your intimate connections with others.

Detailing how shared stories and language form culture, the authors also explore how narrative therapy can help replace dysfunctional cultural stories with those that offer templates for healthier relationships with each other and the planet.

Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician, associate professor at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, and executive director of the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation. The author of several books, including Narrative Medicine and Coyote Medicine, he lives in Orono, Maine.

Barbara Mainguy, M.A., is a psychotherapist and education director for the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation. She lives in Orono, Maine.

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Remapping Your Mind with Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona & Barbara Mainguy

Published on Nov 18, 2015

There are stories we have about ourselves that play in our head. Characters and plot lines that affect, and sometimes limit, our experience of self and our interactions with others. What if we could change those stories? How would that change our lives, our community, and our planet? Join Caroline as she welcomes her guests Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy, authors of Remapping Your Mind: The Neuroscience of Self-Transformation through Story.

Lewis is a physician and executive director of the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation. He is the author of several books including Narrative Medicine and Coyote Medicine. Lewis specializes in weaving the wisdom of indigenous culture into his work as a physician. Barbara is a psychotherapist and education director for the Coyote Institute. Together, Lewis and Barbara bring the power of story as narrative therapy to their patients. In this interview, they share the beauty and power of story with us both on a personal level and on a global scale.

Deep gratitude to Brian Zach & Synrgy for the use of their song ‘Embrace The Change.’

A Path to Personal Forgiveness: Defeat the Three Dragons ~ DEEPAK CHOPRA

All of us, I feel fairly certain, believe that forgiveness is a positive quality. But the fact that religion has been the traditional basis for finding forgiveness has made it seem quite often that there’s something saintly, or at the very least unusually gentle, compassionate, and selfless in those who can forgive. Since the current project is to create a wave of forgiveness with a global reach, I think forgiveness needs to be brought down to earth.

To begin with, forgiveness comes at the end of a process, not at the beginning. In order to forgive yourself or another person, three obstacles must be overcome. Let’s call them the three dragons of judgment, anger, and blame. Each has had powerful effects in everyone’s life. Millions of people feel justified in clinging to their own dragons, and it takes conviction to realize that nothing about judgment, anger, and blame actually serves anyone’s self-interest.

The reason that we cling to our dragons is out of a belief that they somehow serve us. In medicine we call this a secondary benefit, as when a child with tonsillitis gets to stay home from school and eat ice cream after his tonsils are removed — that’s a secondary benefit of being sick. The three dragons also have secondary benefits even though they represent a psychological malady.

Judgment has the benefit of making you feel righteous, justified, morally superior, and on the good side of “us versus them” thinking.

Blame has the secondary benefit of shifting responsibility to someone else, escaping moral scrutiny, and having no need to examine your part in the conflict.

Anger has the benefit of justifying revenge, providing an outlet for hostility and aggression, and keeping you safe from fear, which is a much harder emotion to deal with than anger.

As a practical matter, then, the process of forgiveness is about choosing to renounce these secondary benefits. Why make such a choice? Leaving aside the people who have inculcated forgiveness as a moral or spiritual virtue, someone has to actually experience the advantages of forgiveness. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and fortunately, almost everyone who has walked the path to forgiveness testifies that they feel much better personally without the burdens of judgment, blame, and anger. Second-hand testimony is a helpful motivation, but realistically, it’s a minor factor compared with the personal sensation of defeating your own dragons.

I’d like to encourage anyone who wishes to become a unit of peace in the world to consider walking the path of forgiveness, and so as a practical matter, let me simplify it — in essence, the following things are necessary.

A Path to Forgiveness: 7 Key Steps

Find your own peace through meditation, yoga, or other contemplative practice.

Renounce the illusion that you can change someone else’s morality or worldview.

Know that you can do more to change the world by who you are than by anything you can say or teach.

Take responsibility for nonviolence in your speech and actions.

Address the issues of judgment, blame, and anger in yourself.

Associate with like-minded people who are committed to peace and forgiveness.

Adopt a vision of the highest possibilities for humankind.

If you pay attention to one or more of these steps every day, you will bring the power of self-awareness into play, and self-awareness is the level of the solution. Talking about forgiveness, struggling to overcome your own judgment, blame, and anger, even vowing to have no enemies in the world — these are good intentions that need a level of peace consciousness in order to be truly lasting and effective.

What I’m calling upon here is a merging of spiritual and moral values with psychological realism. A mind filled with judgment, blame, and anger has trained the brain to favor those pathways. Forms of violence become habitual when they are paralleled by pathways in the brain that have turned into the path of least resistance. The more you favor intolerance and prejudice, the easier they become. People who now see reason to abandon blame and judgment have turned those attitudes into default positions that their brains click into. It’s important to take seriously the numerous studies in social psychology that show something we all wish wasn’t true: The more you offer anyone rational reasons for letting go of a harsh prejudice or fixed opinion, the more strongly they cling to those prejudices and opinions.

By the same token, the most effective negotiators are those who enter a situation showing respect for both sides of the dispute — that’s because peace consciousness lowers the other person’s defensiveness. So we have already listed several reasons why forgiveness is personally beneficial:

You feel lighter and more unburdened.

You no longer allow judgment, blame, and anger to be in control of your responses.

You will be more effective in situations where conflicts need to be settled.

You are undertaking a change that will free your brain up from a mindless default setting.

This perspective will help you to consider the path to forgiveness, but the hard reality is that trying to be more peaceful raises a threatening specter. A voice inside warns, “If you forgive the bad guys, they only get stronger, and in the end you lose.” To bolster this warning, there are lots of frightening historical examples, such as the appeasement with Hitler that allowed him to invade helpless countries without fear of reprisal. Everywhere that evil and bad faith must be opposed, from Kosovo to ISIS, from the concentration camps to the Gulag, the power of forgiveness seems not just feeble but immoral.

For this reason, we are all fence-sitters about both peace and forgiveness. We pick and choose when to fight and when to forgive. We blame the people it’s impossible to forgive and make peace mostly with those who already want to make peace. Gandhi faced a tottering British Empire that was ready to make concessions; we have no Gandhis who stopped Attila the Hun. When it comes to fence-sitting, the following points may help to promote more forgiveness.

First, be easy with yourself. Forgive whom you can. Make the right gestures and keep making them, but don’t struggle to forgive someone you simply feel doesn’t deserve it. You aren’t meant to become a saint, only a unit of peace consciousness.

Second, allow yourself to evolve. Forgiveness is a path. The more you walk it, the more your awareness expands, and the possibilities of peace, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness expand at the same time, because these are qualities of consciousness once resistance has been removed.

Third, obey the practicalities without becoming a slave to them. As a practicality, criminals need to be caught, tried, and sometimes imprisoned. But to use this as a justification for revenge, cruelty, fear, and social feuding is to become a slave to wrongdoing. “Love the sinner but hate the sin” is a dictum almost impossible to live up to, but the distinction makes sense.

A world in conflict has always been with us. Fear, war, violence, retribution, and “us versus them” thinking have been in place since recorded time. But humankind evolves, and we are unique among all living creatures in holding the power of evolution in our own hands. A forgiveness initiative brings something new to the evolutionary table. For every person who becomes a unit of peace consciousness, the future changes even as the present is uplifted.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and “Forgive for Peace,” in conjunction with the UN’s International Day of Peace (Sept. 21, annually). The International Day of Peace is devoted to strengthening the ideals for peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Forgiveness is the first step on the path toward Peace and therefore the Forgive for Peace Campaign was established. It also marks an annual day of non-violence and calls for a laying down of arms to bring about a 24-hour cease fire on September 21st. To learn more about Forgive for Peace, visit here.

The World Is A Manifestation of Me


Published on Dec 11, 2015

2015 Thanksgiving retreat in Temecula Week 2 Day 1

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