This week we welcome the New Moon of Sagittarius, a month that helps us connect with, and believe in the miraculous. Shifting our perspective toward seeing the miracle and the joy that exists in everything isn’t always easy, but Sagittarius arrives just in time to offer us support in doing exactly this: rewiring our brains to see miracles.
Miracles can be enormous and life-shifting, but they can also be simple and subtle; sometimes going entirely unnoticed. Most of us think of the former when it comes to miracles, but this month we’re going to teach ourselves to see and acknowledge not only the extraordinary miracles but the everyday miracles as well; ones that are often just as magical.
The sign of Sagittarius is thrilling and bold. Those born under this sign are characteristically fun-loving and risk-taking; always on the lookout for new challenges and adventures. Whenever an opportunity for excitement arises, Sagittarians are the first to rush in; the more impossible the task, the greater their enthusiasm. Above all, Sagittarians seek pleasure in all forms because it is what they are wired to do. This month, we get to wire our brains toward pleasure and joy regardless of the sign we’re born under.
Scientists now tell us that, with training, we can create new neural pathways — the highways on which information travels within our brain — that lead us to compassion, gratitude, and joy instead of anxiety, fear, and anger. We are able to reprogram our brains for happiness, and all that it requires is the conscious effort to do so. All it requires is dedication, awareness, and as neuroscientists explain, repetition.
There is a term used by scientists called “use-dependent cortical reorganization,” which means that we strengthen whichever neural pathways we use most often, or as some neuroscientists like to say “neurons that fire together, wire together.” Our brain is malleable; it isn’t fixed, and we can utilize the neuroplasticity of brains in a variety of ways. All it takes is time.
So how do we do this? How can we rewire our brains towards happiness, compassion, and even miracles?
The first step is to get conscious. Let’s say you’re running late to work, and you’re stuck in traffic. You’re feeling frustrated, angry, and anxious, and suddenly everyone on the road is in your way. At this moment, notice your frustration and anger. See if you can respond to it by taking three breaths and then trying to feel compassion for other drivers on the road, even if it’s just for 5 seconds. Imagining that they are also equally exhausted and angry, and are wishing they could be at home. They are thinking about their families; feeling all the same things you’re feeling.
The next step is to turn that compassion onto yourself. Practicing self-compassion is one of the most powerful ways to start building these new neuropathways. The compassion you feel for the other drivers is compassion that you can also extend to yourself. Instead of feeding your anger and frustration, you’re now offering yourself care and understanding.
From here, you can continue self-compassion by continuing to offer love and understanding for all the ways you feel. Before you know it, you’re feeling a little more peaceful and a little less agitated. This is not only helping you to gear your brain toward more joy, it is also helping you to disrupt the pathways that create states of being that you do not enjoy. By noticing when you’re experiencing a negative reaction and choosing to take a few breaths instead of attaching to the reaction, you’re also wiring your brain away from these ingrained responses that are so often unconscious.
The final step is to start looking for the miracles. The process of making any kind of change in our lives is exactly that — a process. Shifting consciousness, rewiring our brains, and actively practicing something new is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be uncomfortable. You will find, however, that the process itself is filled with the miraculous, tiny magical surprises that you will begin to see as you practice this new way of thinking and being.
Let’s say you’re back in the traffic. You feel yourself having your frustrated, angry response, you practice breathing, cultivating compassion for others and yourself, and you feel yourself calm just a bit. Suddenly, you notice that the construction that has been blocking your shortcut to work is finished. You take that right turn and end up at work five minutes early when you were suspecting you’d be 20 minutes late.
Because you were actively focusing on the positive by working to shift away from the negative, you were able to “see” an opportunity you might otherwise miss. If you had been in your same frustration and anger at the traffic and yourself, you would have never thought to look.
The kabbalists teach that blessings cannot rest in a place of darkness. There needs to be an opening, no matter how small. When you decide to rewire your mind for happiness and take the steps necessary to do so, you create openings for all kinds of miracles. And because you are practicing this new consciousness every day in small ways, you are given the gift of sight. You begin to see that the miracles were there the entire time just waiting for you to find them.
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
Practice these steps to rewire your brain for joy and share what miracles you find along the way.
- Become aware of your negative feelings. Take three deeps breaths and cultivate compassion for whoever is around you.
- Take the compassion you feel towards others and turn it in on yourself. Notice your feelings and why you’re there, releasing any judgment or criticism of them.
- As you begin to feel calm and peaceful, notice the beauty all around you, even if it’s s small as a tiny flower growing out of the sidewalk or a gift card you find at the bottom of your purse.
- Keep a running list of all of the “miracles” you see.
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