I'm not sure what has happened, but as of last week crawling has gotten quite a bit easier. :-) I finally passed the 50 hour mark. Maybe that's what was needed, to cross the 50 hour line. Two more sessions of 50 hours and I'll be at 150!
While crawling last night I noticed something different. My hands, particularly the left one, were lying flatter on the ground than they ever have before. In the past my hands have been a little cupped, with some space underneath the palms - not a lot, but definitely a little bit. This time it was different. My left hand lay completely flat on the floor during creeping, and my right hand is almost completely flat.
It reminded me of when I first felt my feet really grasp the ground. I felt like I had monkey feet. All around the edges of the soles, heels, and toes grasped the floor (and still do). I felt much more grounded when this occurred. I can't say I feel more grounded when crawling, but I did notice a change, and it's the second real change I've noticed (after the hips feeling looser). I don't know if there are crawling stages like there are creeping stages, but if so, I'm hoping the looser hips and flattened out hands are considered part of an advanced stage.
My brain doesn't seem any different from what I've previously mentioned. I haven't had any major epiphanies lately, but I'm looking forward to noticing more changes as I move along.
It frustrates me when people don't understand. It frustrates me even more when people balk at methods that I know are working for me. Just because some people do not have the same problems with their brain that I do, doesn't have to mean that the difficulties aren't real. Many people don't have difficulty waking in the mornings, or falling asleep at night, waking up throughout the night, having racing thoughts that WON'T stop. Many don't have problems organizing information in their heads nor do they have difficulty accessing the big picture... the ultra abstract. I have these issues, and I've had them my entire life. I guess I just wish people would listen more attentively and not be so damn critical of others' approaches to helping themselves, especially since what I'm doing cannot possibly harm me in any way.
Creeping and crawling are simply body movements, like exercise, except they have the added benefit of reorganizing the brain somehow. I don't know how it works, but I believe in it. I'm sure yoga, if performed consistently, also helps to organize the brain. I have no doubt it helps, but I believe these particular patterned movements I learned in Brain Highways ensure a level of organization that perhaps other methods (thus far known) cannot do.
I'm glad I took a break from creeping and crawling. Coming back to it, I have a new awareness of my body and joints. For instance, I'm noticing that my hip joints are looser than they have been in the past. Not sure I would have recognized the change without the break.
My brain seems to be functioning better too. I am processing more deeply and more often, thus the obsessive thinking is lessening. I'm also connecting the dots at more abstract levels. I can't think of a good, yet brief example of this yet, but one will come to me I'm sure. When it does, I'll try to remember to share it.
If I haven't made this clear already, I am in no way associated with Brain Highways other than that I took the online course, do the movements, and fully believe in Nancy's work. I am an independent reviewer. My intuition tells me there is something positive going on with the work she does, and I want as many people to hear about it as possible. She developed the program for children having different difficulties, such as learning disabilities, from what I understand. I took on the course originally because of chronic pain, although I may have some learning issues (e.g., reading comprehension difficulties as a child and adult). I especially want those who deal with chronic pain to consider the possibility of having a disorganized brain. In no way do I think all sufferers of chronic pain have brain disorganization. However, I do, and I had chronic pain and anxiety, and I'm sitting here today writing with little pain and little anxiety. Amazing feats from my typical experience.
So I had to take a break from creeping and crawling... for about two weeks. I became so disgusted with the monotony and tediousness of it all that I took a week-long break. Then the Thanksgiving holiday arrived, I went out of town, and decided to add an additional week-long break. I'm glad I did. I started back on my movements (my term for creeping and crawling) this past Monday, and I'm glad to jump back in there. Nancy Sokol Green of Brain Highways mentions that many people stop the mid-brain development because they quit crawling before it's time. I see how this happens. It's boring and it's a workout. So... I decided to put a more positive spin on my movements. Not only are they designed to help organize my f*^!*ed up brain, they are also providing a serious work out. Who doesn't need to move their bodies every day for at least 30-45 minutes a day? Everyone can move more to feel better, if one is capable of doing so, of course.
I also decided to break up the movements more often. Rather than trying to blast through 30-45 minutes at a time, when I need a break from my work or something else I'm doing, I can spend 5-10 minutes creeping or crawling throughout my day. This doesn't work so well when I'm at work (obviously), but when I'm working from home, it's a great way to think about it, and it's much easier on the mind and body.
Finally, I want to reiterate that this program (BrainHighways.com) really works. I find myself thinking more deeply than I have since I was a child. I'm totally serious about this. I mean, obviously during my advanced education I had to think deeply about issues, but what I'm trying to say is that this is the first time it's been easier to think more deeply. I don't have the gift or talent to describe things very well, so I'll continue working on this idea, and I hope to be better able to explain it in the future. Does anyone else feel that they don't think deeply and wonder why they don't? Does anyone else find that so much nonsensical stimuli floats and flies around in their brain causing them to NOT think more deeply? I'm just curious what other people think about these brain issues. I've always known I can't possibly be the only person with these problems, but because I rarely talked about them nor knew how to communicate the experience to others, I've never in my life found anyone else who deals with brain disorganization. I want to meet and converse with like-brained individuals.
By the way, thanks to those of you who have written comments on my page. I so appreciate them, and I try to respond when I can. I'm thrilled to hear from anyone, whether your issue is chronic pain, depression, brain disorganization, etc. If you feel particularly that you have a disorganized brain, I'd love to hear how you describe the feeling.
One of the things I have noticed about my brain that I think I'm only now able to explain is that there seem to be fuzzy edges surrounding my intentions to think. For example, it is easy for me to decide to file something or make a folder for a file. It's clearly defined and not problematic, so I can do that with no trouble. It is the same with showering, dressing, and putting on makeup, for instance. However, when I decide to work on a research project or prep for my college classes that I teach, I find it extremely difficult to sharply and clearly focus on the assignments at hand. When I sit at my computer to write or develop something, my brain feels fuzzy and unclear. It is almost like I don't even know how to do it, or like it is too complex of a task for my brain to focus on, in and of itself.
I realize I'm still not defining this well, but for now, that is the best way I can describe what happens when I need to work on something that is difficult and complex. If something takes many steps to do to complete it, and if many of those steps have to be thought over in advance, my brain does not seem to have the capacity to do it without a great deal of effort, which leads to paralysis and feelings of incompetence and not feeling confident in my abilities. Thus the cycle continues and the anxiety builds. I think dread is a common emotion for people with learning disabilities.
I was talking with an ADD student the other day, and she informed me how difficult it is for her to concentrate and stay focused on a task, especially when it comes to reading or studying. I so totally understand this dilemma because it is the challenging work we do that makes the ADD/ADHD most manifest. If it is something easy and, perhaps, even something we thoroughly enjoy, it is much easier to do. Yet it seems that at some point in our lives, what is easy now, must have been challenging at an earlier time, and we worked through those challenges, which allowed them to become easier tasks to perform. I can only hope that the more I continue to work through my difficulties with reading, writing, performing research, etc. that they will become easier and more enjoyable tasks. Additionally, I have to believe that the more I creep and crawl, particularly, my brain will sharpen and those fuzzy edges surrounding complex, abstract work will become something of the past. I so desperately want and need for my brain to have sharp edges surrounding my thinking.
If anyone reading my blog experiences similar issues that I discuss, please share those experiences with me. I imagine there are much better ways to explain what goes on with a disorganized brain, and I'd love to hear from others how you might describe the process and feelings that go along with a disorganized brain.
Although it has been about a month since I've blogged, I have not stopped creeping and crawling. It's amazing this newfound quiet space in my brain. I still can't describe it well, but it is making a huge difference in my life. I used to have major issues with obsessive thinking. In fact, I think it was a way to keep much of the additional stimuli from sinking in. So, for instance, I would count to 18 or 20 over and over and over again, or I would say the word "OK" over and over and over and over again for hours at at a time. I tried telling a doctor once that I didn't think anymore, and he looked at me like I'd truly lost my mind, so I said "never mind" and never mentioned that to anyone again. But I seriously had stopped thinking about real things, and I let these obsessive thoughts take over, for years. As a child, I grew up in a highly dysfunctional environment with lots of psychological and emotional abuse, so this obsessive thinking probably began as a way to cope with that, but it became a major problem in my life. The crawling aspect of Brain Highways has helped to calm that obsessive thinking in immeasurable ways.
The other major changes that have occurred with the creeping and crawling are still underway. For example, my anxiety is practically gone. I feel calm most of the time, and I'm enjoying reading and writing again. I'm still nervous about my writing; I don't feel that it is very good, but at least I'm doing more of it. I'm also continuing to retain what I read more than I had been able to in the past. It's amazing the knowledge I feel I'm gaining, which I was unable to do for so long. The other phenomenal change is that my chronic pain has all but disappeared. My head still has a lot of soreness and pain, especially around the temples, jaw, and base of skull, but the pain in my neck, back, shoulders, and hips has mostly dissipated.
For Brain Highways to completely re-organize my brain, I need to log somewhere between 150-300 hours (and I'm really hoping for closer to 150). I've logged around 40 hours so far. I should be closer to 50, but life has gotten in the way on a few occasions - conference presentations, travel, and such.
So I've been complaining about crawling, but I have two breakthroughs to discuss directly related to crawling and developing my mid brain. First, yesterday evening I was sitting down to read, and I noticed what felt like a small space in my brain that allowed for some peace and quiet. My brain is constantly overrun with stimuli that I cannot get to quiet down. The few times my brain does get some rest is when I meditate, especially with my yoga nidra, and when I'm in Bikram yoga classes. The Bikram yoga takes such effort that I am only able to focus on the poses when I'm in them. But this was not one of those moments. I sat down and I felt a small amount of quiet space in my head. It is so difficult for me to describe, but it feels amazing. It hasn't gone away either. I am sure that as I continue to develop my mid brain via crawling, the calm space in my head will increase and eventually take over the constant dribble of craziness that is currently running amok.
Second, I sat outside in the sun yesterday to read a couple of articles on incivility in higher education. Today, I sat down at my computer to write about incivility and realized I did not have my articles with me. However, I was able to retain much of what I read. This does not usually happen with my brain. I tend not to comprehend or retain information that I have read, which leads to me having to re-read materials over and over and cite verbatim rather than paraphrase. Today was different. Today I realized I had retained the information and could actually paraphrase the articles that I read. That is one of the most exciting outcomes of Brain Highways yet. Yippee!!
I don't know why, but mid-brain development via crawling on the floor is NOT easy! In my Brain Highways literature, I read where crawling is supposed to be easier than creeping, but I'm just not feeling it. I do, however, realize that I've been creeping for 8 weeks and only crawling for about 4, so I suppose it could get easier, but right now it is painful. My knees hurt, my right wrist hurts, and it's just such an awkward position to be in. At least with creeping, I glide across the floor, and it's not that uncomfortable. My heart rate still increases while I creep, but the crawling is not pleasant for me.
I'm putting notes up all around the house to remind myself that I must develop my mid-brain, and of course the only way to do that is to crawl. So every day I just have to trudge through this crawling thing. I really hope it gets a little easier. I'm trying to have a more positive outlook about it, but that's difficult too. Perhaps I need to reframe my thoughts about crawling. Maybe next time I write about crawling, I'll have a more positive outlook.