"Our past is silently voting in our apparent present." This quote I heard recently speaks to me. It is from Irv Milowe, a psychiatrist who is attending Hedy’s three-year International Master Class.
I am always anxious about getting to the office on time. I feel guilty about being late. I also feel guilty about taking a full lunch break. I feel guilty about not being in the office when I eat lunch just in case the phone rings. When I do leave the office to run an errand, or when I meet somebody for lunch, I feel guilty, and I am constantly thinking about getting back to the office. “What happens if Hedy calls and needs me?” I think to myself.
My partner Carlos suggested that I tell Hedy about it so that she could help. My "always-already-listening" spoke for me, saying, “Sure, so I can listen to another lecture and have more work to do.” It was easier to complain about my boss and be a victim, than to be responsible for my own thoughts. Obviously, I accepted Carlos’ suggestion.
Hedy recommended that I have a conversation with the "anxious Geoffrey." She said: "I want you to have a conversation with the "anxious Geoffrey", because when I hired you, I chose to hire Geoffrey, the Operations Manager, whom I trust to make professional decisions about time management, and not the Geoffrey who is anxious about all of this."
On that same day, I decided to take a full hour lunch break out of the office. Twenty minutes into my lunch hour, Hedy called my cell phone and asked: “Geoffrey where are you? I cannot reach you at the office." See!, more proof that I cannot leave the office! I felt guilty.
The Relational Conversation and what I learned from Hedy about the Brain:
Hedy and I had a relational conversation.
On that day I learned something completely new to me about the brain.
1- I learned that there are two categories of memory storage in our brain: Explicit Memory and Implicit Memory
Our Explicit Memory is conscious, sequential and intentional: what happened, where, when, what was before, what was after, who was there, and any of the other details surrounding the event. We can retrieve it at will.
Our Implicit Memory is unconscious and unintentional. We don't exactly know when, where, how, what, or who. It is the memory of an emotional climate.
2- I learned that there are two related areas of the brain that are central to memory storage: the hippocampus and the amygdala
The hippocampus gives events a beginning, a middle and an end. It translates, describes and integrates each life experience into Explicit Memory.
However, if the hippocampus isn’t given time and space to process the experience, the raw emotions will remain in the amygdala in the form of an Implicit Memory. Those emotions will live inside us as strong “real” messages waiting to be activated.
3- I learned about the implicit messages that get played and replayed in our daily life
In day to day life, the implicit messages unknowingly control our reality. Some event, thought, sound or action in the present will trigger the trapped messages, and cloud the present moment.
Here are some of my implicit messages when it comes to being in the office:
- I have to stop what I’m doing and get back to the office as quickly as possible
- Hedy is checking up on me. She probably called the minute I left the office and she’s wondering where I am because she can’t reach me
- I never have time for myself
- I am the only one who can do the job right
- I am going to get in trouble if I am gone too long
- I can’t do what I need to do
- My personal time isn’t important
- Everyone else’s needs come before mine
These implicit messages drag along with them a huge impact. Not only do they constantly cloud current situations and conversations, but they waste a lot of time and productivity. How often am I unconsciously preoccupied with one of these thoughts instead of being 100% present to the task I am doing, or to the person with whom I am having a conversation?
Life Lessons learned:
1- I learned that the only way to dissolve the implicit messages is to allow myself to "live inside" the contradiction of simultaneously experiencing the implicit messages AND experiencing the current reality of what is true in the here and now.
For example, when I am in connection with Hedy, and I hear her say: “I completely and 100% trust how you organize your time,” it creates a bridge between my amygdala with the implicit messages from the past, and my hippocampus which can process this new information from Hedy, in real time.
2- I learned that I am able to grow when I allow my implicit messages to come to the surface and I can language them, and express them to another person.
For example, when I use words to describe the experience, and Hedy listens to me with empathy, then I can feel and think at the same time. Only then can I begin to be the real voter in my real present.
3- I learned that our past is indeed silently voting in our apparent present. So often in our lives we believe we are living and acting completely in the present.
However, there is almost always something from our past that is still unconsciously stuck in our present, quietly voting on how life should go right now, in this moment. We often don’t even realize we are not being present at all.
4- I learned that we all have implicit messages that waste our time and impact our relationships. Some come to the surface around our parents, or our brothers and sisters; some come to the surface around our spouse or partner; and some come to the surface around our boss or business partners.
The only way to create a "brain bridge" and make a difference in our relationships, is to learn to "cross the bridge" with the person who triggers those implicit messages.
Discover your "silent voters":
I am writing to you today as the Operations Manager of the Tikkun Learning Center, an educational company where the principles of the Relational Organization are being "lived" through the embrace of the three invisible connectors: the Space, the Bridge and the Encounter.
Take some time to check out our website. You will find information about a two-day private Intensive session which will assist you and your partner, be it your life partner or your business partner, in uncovering the implicit messages that stop you from reaching the full potential of your relationship.
I invite you to discover your own "silent voters", which will enhance your personal and professional productivity, as well as expand your relational maturity.
I welcome all your questions about our programs. I am here to assist you. Please reach me at Geoffrey@HedyYumi.com or 305-604-0010.
Tikkun Learning Center