Maui and the Healing Power of the Brain (and a FREE eBook)

Anyone who has ever had a pet or watched wild critters knows animals are inspirational (I’m told there are even people who find reptiles, insects and other vermin fascinating – myself . . . I prefer mammals . . . but who’s to say . . .).

I had a horse, Misty, dogs and cats.  My last kitty Maui, long after his passing, has been particularly inspirational:

  • Maui inspired me to write his story as a children’s book to help children know that they too can flourish when they set their mind
  • Maui inspired Judy and I to create CATNIPblog to share neuroscience research and how we can all live better lives harnessing the power of our own minds.
  • Maui’s story is proof the brain, including YOURS, is capable of “rewiring” and “repattenrining”.

Maui was part Siamese and lived up to the breed’s reputation of being intelligent, playful, social and quite mischievous.  

Maui

I named him for the jokester god of the Hawaiian islands. What happened to him was no joke.

When Maui was 11 years old, he had a  blocked ureter.  The treating vet told me Maui would not live.  I brought him home and helplessly watched Maui do nothing but lay on the floor with his chin on his favorite water bowl.  He didn’t eat for days and his back legs were weak.
One day Maui couldn’t move his back legs at all. The vet had neglected to tell me that cats not eating for 3 days or more can lead to heart problems which can result in a clot that blocks the femoral artery. The blockage causes the back legs to not function.  A permanent condition.

 The vet repeated Maui could die at any time and suggested putting him down. I was distraught.

Hope against hope, I took Maui home and helplessly watched him drag around with his two front legs.  It took him one human year or 7 cat years to rewire his brain and regain use of his back legs.

Maui taught me first hand about persistency, resiliency and how with patience the brain can be retrained  . . .  and the paws will follow.

To read Maui’s full story click here

Your human brain, too, has incredible plasticity.  Maximize aspects of your life by focusing on what you want and minimize what doesn’t support your wants and needs.

The old sayings “Practice Makes Perfect” and The Power of Positive Thinking have been proven accurate through scientific research.

You can shrink memories you can make them less likely to come to mind by avoiding them, by refocusing on other things.

Maui teaches us how to use persistence and trying—again and again and again in order to develop a physical capability (in his case redevelop a physical capability that he once had and lost). People can do this, too. People who do it are very often guided by therapists and professionals who have discovered how to do this, which takes a tremendous amount of persistence. They need to keep trying in the face of such a tiny amount of progress at least at first. Then progress builds.

Free Kindle version of “The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and HIs Back Legs” click here

Offer good until September 23 only

“What you pay attention to GROWS” and not just for monkeys

I had the fortune of studying and teaching under the direction of David Bresler  Ph.D and Marty Rossman M.D.  Both are pioneers in the field of MindBody Medicine.   They founded The Academy for Guided Imagery, a teaching academy for health care professionals to provide treatment using individualized one-on-one imagery for health and wellness.

By now you already know that Peggy and I rant and rave about the power of our minds – not to dwell on the negative, not to focus on what we can’t do but on what we are capable of.  When I came across this article by Dr Rossman I wanted to share.

Shifting Your Attention Can Change Your Brain

from The Worry Solution

by Martin Rossman, M.D.

“Repetitively shifting your attention to positive outcomes may actually result in growth in areas of your brain that start to do this automatically. My colleague, neuroscientist Dr. David Bresler, always says that “what you pay attention to grows” and research proves him correct.

“Neuroscience journalist Sharon Begley wrote in a 2007 Wall Street Journal article, “Attention, … seems like one of those ephemeral things that comes and goes in the mind but has no real physical presence. Yet attention can alter the layout of the brain as powerfully as a sculptor’s knife can alter a slab of stone.”

Not to be confused for either Dr Bresler or Dr Rossman

“She describes an experiment at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in which scientists “rigged up a device that tapped monkeys’ fingers 100 minutes a day every day. As this bizarre dance was playing on their fingers, the monkeys heard sounds through headphones. Some of the monkeys were taught: Ignore the sounds and pay attention to what you feel on your fingers…Other monkeys were taught: Pay attention to the sound.”

“After six weeks, the scientists compared the monkeys’ brains and found that monkeys paying attention to the taps had expanded the somatosensory parts of their brains (where they would feel touch) but the monkeys paying attention to the sounds grew new connections in the parts of the brain that process sound instead.”

“UCSF researcher Michael Merzenich and a colleague wrote that through choosing where we place our attention, “‘We choose and sculpt how our ever-changing minds will work, we choose who we will be the next moment in a very real sense, and these choices are left embossed in physical form on our material selves.’”

 I won’t say, “We told you so.”

(jw)

Originally posted on Curious to the Max on 

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