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.
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.