In a month’s time I will be going on a vision quest. My intention is to recalibrate my reptilian being.
I wrote last week about citizen superpowers and two parts of our brains: the part that serves as our deeper, higher Self (the middle prefrontal cortex, what Shirzad Chabine calls the Empathic Circuitry (mirror neuron system, the insular cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex) and the right brain; and the fight-or-flight parts of our brain (brain stem and limbic system). The former generates what I call our citizen superpowers, our passion to improve, while the latter is the source of Chabine’s ten saboteurs (see citizen superpowers).
The brain stem and limbic system is also known as our reptilian brain. It is in survival mode at all times, but in my life, I do not need to be in survival mode at all times. I have reliable shelter. I have a good food supply. Far more than my basic needs are met. Yet this old part of my brain tells me that there is never enough, that it will never last. I puts me on the defensive and the offensive. It feeds my behaviours that sabotage me and my ability be my best Me.
The reptilian me is focused on scarcity.
When it comes to food, I have engrained habits that are based in deprivation. I eat whatever is in front of me because it feels like it is my only chance. A few years ago I tried my first diet and it worked wonders. I lost 30 pounds, was physically active and felt super fit. I felt wonderful. I even learned some good habits in the process – I now crave vegetables and fruit.
Inevitably, I started to gain weight back because I lacked the willpower to deprive myself of the foods I want. And when I have access to the food I want, or when I find myself super hungry, I eat like I will not have an opportunity to eat for a couple days. After depriving myself, the reptilian part of my brain takes over when it has a chance. Depriving myself of food I like/want is a pattern of scarcity.
The reptilian me is focused on scarcity.
I can feel a shift underway. I long to trust my body and its signals about what I need to eat and when. I want to fully appreciate what my body is and what it looks like. I want to shift to appreciate my body from within, rather than external measures (weight, people’s comments, the mirror). To pursue this exploration, I am embarking on an experience that will involve true deprivation: a fast.
In June, I will be heading out on a Wilderness Quest on a mountain in the Eastern Cascade mountains with the support of Ann Linnea, Christina Baldwin and Deborah Greene-Jacobi. It is a rite of passage that started when I chose to do this, though I can not better describe what I am moving from, or moving to. That will come. What I learn on this journey could be entirely different from what I imagine. I know I will ease myself into life on the mountain for a couple days, then head out alone, fasting, for two days, then circle up with my fellow questers to “digest” our learnings and prepare to re-enter the world.
My only expectation is time to explore and discover. And I may discover nothing right away.
There is a bigger ME that sees abundance.
My intention is to rewire my reptilian brain, to awaken my whole being to what real scarcity looks and feels like. My intention is to experience what the reptilian me sees, and bend with it to more fully see and appreciate – and embody – the abundance in life.
My quest is my abundant Self.
2 thoughts on “Rewire the reptilian”
Marvelous intentions, Beth. And there is a deeper wisdom than you might have realized which popped out at me when you mentioned “REAL deprivation.” Consciousness functions on contrasts, basically, so it seems to me. Thus, this strategy of providing a much greater contrast around what is scarcity and what is abundance, to your reptilian brain, stands a good chance of rewiring its consciousness around what is scarcity and what is abundance.
This is the first blog I’ve read in this series, so I have to read further to see what happened!
I so admire you for this radical commitment to your greatest potential !
Thank you Alia! Contrast can certainly serve a purpose, I can say several weeks after returning. And symbols for abundance keep popping up …