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Reinvention

Do You Have Emotional Sensory Amnesia?

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Do You Have Emotional Sensory Amnesia?

Here's the third excerpt from my new book, The Reinvention Equation. The second draft is almost done!
Emotional Sensory Amnesia is a term I have coined so we can examine what we have forgotten about our emotions and feelings. How do they work? What do we do with them? What feelings have you put away a long time ago? The awareness of emotions and feelings are key to the reinvention equation.
 

The initial adaptation for baby is at the physical level. Baby must adapt to the conditions in which they find themselves in order to be fed, cared for and loved. Baby has no control over their environment and so must learn how to get what they need to survive. The physical adaptation is one which baby will know for the rest of their life. It will show up in adapting as best they can to whatever circumstances show up. They cry to be fed, they smile and giggle to get loving attention and they learn very quickly what it takes to make the adults happy.

Baby also has feelings. The child sees what is happening in the family and reacts accordingly. In some families certain feelings are not allowed to be shown. Baby is very observant of what is happening in the family. If baby feels sad and expresses it, mother or father will give baby a message that sad is ok or not ok in this family. Baby quickly learns what they can express and what they need to keep hidden. 

For example, in my family, anger was never shown or talked about. If I was angry I learned to keep it to myself. This is confusing to a child who initially believes that they way they feel is what is ok to express. The idea of keeping certain feelings hidden is something the child will not only learn but will use to evaluate all situations whether at home, play or work as to what is ok to express and what must be kept within one’s own heart. This leads to stress within the child’s body which, when young, they do not have the skill of releasing. 

We used to say at the company I worked for, “Leave your personal life at home.” We interpreted that to mean don’t talk about your personal pain, or family issues at the office. Feelings were not welcomed when there was work to do. So the adaptation continued wherein feelings and emotions were locked away. The stories of what happened at work and how one felt about them were told at outside parties or with friends with whom we felt safe. In some way we were trying to relieve the stress created by bottling up all the feelings that were felt. They were real but unwanted in the world in which we lived. Our adaptation to what was required at work took a lot of energy to maintain but we learned to do it at what we now know is a huge cost to our emotional and physical health.

Childhood adaptation occurs at the physical, feeling and the thinking levels. We are pretty smart as kids and we soon learn what feelings are ok and not ok to express in the family. As in my case I decided it was not ok to express anger so that emotion went underground. There was no way I would express anger as an adult. First, I didn't think it was acceptable. Second, I had no practice in expressing it in a healthy way.This is Emotional Sensory Amnesia (ESA).
We forget that to express a wide range of feelings is normal. However, our adaptive habitual training leads us to only express those feelings we have learned are on the approved list. The feedback loop between the brain and the feelings is stuck in a particular neural pattern. That means the default is always what we think we know in the moment, not what we have forgotten.
In order to make a change in the neural pattern and therefore a change in our life we need to recognize what is taking place and consciously choose to have a different experience.

 

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The reinvention Equation

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The reinvention Equation

Here's an excerpt from my new book, The reinvention Equation. I'm looking at how we can apply creativity to our lives when change is called for. I hope you'll take a moment and leave a comment and share with your friends. I plan on sending out more excerpts from time to time.



Have you ever reinvented yourself?

I am sure you have but may not be aware of how you did it or what resources internal or external you brought to bear for it to happen.

I know I have reinvented myself several times. Mostly out of unplanned circumstances that had me change direction.

Even though there was a feeling of a lack of power in those times, a change was called for and there was nothing I could do about it. 

One of the first reinventions I remember as being a big one was the divorce from my first wife. This was a big one. I was unaware of what was happening, not emotionally available to the relationship and totally self centered on my own life. 

Notwithstanding counseling sessions that I considered a waste of time (that was my perspective at that time in my life - not any longer), I carried on with my business and personal life as though there was no disconnect with my partner, as though she could not possibly be in pain because of her experience. 

Sure, we had discussions from time to time with what I perceived as threats to my well being through my activities like working long hours and traveling most of the time. Notwithstanding the information I was getting, I just carried on doing what I always did. 

Then one day the end came. She was done. I did not see it coming because I was out of touch with my intuition and my feelings. I had thought things through and told myself I had things figured out. As you might have guessed, I didn’t have anything figured out.

The moment of reinvention had appeared and I was not ready for it.

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