We are in a wonderful age where computers make it so easy to write. And busy as we are, we do have time. When you sit down and let your words and ideas flow, you become the witness to your own process. Now that we have the technology to scan the brain, we are learning that mindfulness – the capacity to observe and witness your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences – actually changes the way the brain looks. A current study on social anxiety conducted at Stanford University points to evidence that mindfulness meditation can be a powerful element in calming anxiety – and the brain scans confirm that it accesses a different part of the brain then our normal thinking!
Sometimes our witness is another person. But often we can be our own witness and get those important synapses moving in our brain (while having a creative focused time of self reflection). How does this come back to asking questions about your family legacy?
As we fill in more of the missing links in our story, we get insight about why our parents may have acted as they did, or believed as they did. It helps us build a coherent narrative about what influenced us, the beliefs we take for granted as true. We can see that we have some choices about what we do with those influences – when we become conscious of them.
Mindful reflection is a time honored practice, long before it had a name. Writing is an entertaining and easy way to be creative and mindful at the same time. This is how my book “The Woman in the Photograph” (probably a 2012 release) got started. I just wanted to understand what ingredients had gone into my understanding of myself and life, the main source being my mother. What I found out startled, shocked, gratified and inspired me. Twenty years of mindful reflection turned into a memoir that I want to share with you.
Tell me about your experience of collecting the pieces of your legacy and reflecting. How does that affect you?