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"/>My Secret Weapon - Ann McMaster M.A., L.P.C.


My Secret Weapon

The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a small part of our brain with a most important job. It is the gatekeeper that weeds out sensory input that isn’t life threatening or relevant to our current focus. Skin (touch) alone has about a million nerve cells recording pressure, pain, etc., every second.

The RAS can only deal with a little over100 pieces of information a second. (Is this with or without coffee? I don’t know!). Everything over the 100+ is relegated to the background as inapplicable.

Why is this important? Because it is My Secret Weapon (well-known to many). What I focus on (have the most Feelings for) is what will determine which data gets through my gatekeeper. When I’m regretting the past or anxious about the future, my RAS finds confirming data, while kicking to the curb anything contrary, including Reality. And if my proactive mind is focused on a consciously chosen direction, my RAS spots possibilities..

Why is this my Secret Weapon? I am at choice about my focus. How I use it practically – daily reviewing where I hit the bull’s eye (present, connected, aligned with Reality). I feel again, even more fully (to get in the flow of the good hormones) what it was like to be in my body in that moment. Then I recall a moment where I missed the bull’s eye (or maybe even the whole target), and I imagine, in detail, what I wish I had done that would be more congruent with the best in me. AND feel my feelings (stimulating the “good” hormones). Whether physical or imagined, my RAS and body respond the same.

The point: I choose what I want my RAS to gate-keep. I’m being self observing, self acknowledging and self correcting.That process doesn’t exclude outside input, and it is taking radical responsibility for the quality of my own life.

Try it for 40 days, tell me what you think.





7 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Andrew Munro

    Love it!
    I have discovered a new level of grounding and fearlessness recently , growing out of standing into a terrible fear. I want more of this. Jordan Peterson s “be like a lobster” and embody confident and you will get it, hormonally, is saying the same thing Ann. I am realising that if I keep doing it, I keep getting it. Cool, eh!

    I’ve just been re listening to James Hollis’ The Middle Passage, amd Through the Dark Wood.
    In these he notes the strategies we develop as kids to cope with the two fundamental challenges: overwhelm and abandonment. With overwhelm we avoid, or develop a power complex, or become compliant (Nice Guy Drama).
    With abandonment we identify, develop narcissism, or do addiction, including the seductions of fantasy. Ouch!!!
    I’d discovered the Nice Guy drama recently, but now I am confronted with the seduction fantasy aka addicted to love (Robert Palmer wrote a song about it that always shone at me but I managed to run and ignore the life shock!]. So ,beyond confessional, I’m being invited to notice notice notice, AND come back to reality and the now hundreds (exaggeration fantasy) of times a day sometimes . And each moment I’m kicking an old habit that was sneakily playing out. Bugger, found out! But boy it sure is nice to be out of the closet and back in the game.
    I’m pretty sure this is an example of radical responsibility….what I’m calling for me: growing into my real adulthood.
    Namaste Ann, and namaste readers,

    1. Ann Mc

      That’s why the dedicated monitoring of lifeshocks shortens time spent wandering in the desert,lost. Each day I find myself again AND practice giving my mind alternatives to the automatic default program that was developed years ago and requires updating, just like any computer program … biocomputer, the same.

      1. Avatar
        Andrew Munro

        Yes. And having coaches, mentors, and or loving others who are able to offer empathy and then insight to support me to see and understand my newest blind spot sure catalyzes the process. In other words, if I get what I’m looking out for, I can be more effective at noticing and shifting in the moment. Those old patterns can be very sneaky, as you shared in a previous post. I need to be supportable, then love can catayze transcendence . Thanks for being there, Ann.

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