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“Every time we make a promise and fail to keep it, an angel loses her wings and gets booted out of heaven.”

One of the very first posts I made to this blog, almost 8 years ago, was on something I made up called The Big Brain Question. I didn’t make it up out of whole cloth, however. I based the question on my own personal experience, anecdotal reports from friends, colleagues and clients, and a considerable amount of data from attachment research, pre- and peri-natal developmental psychology, traumatology, polyvagal theory, social neuroscience and somatic psychotherapy. All that research is probably best summarized by Karl Pribram of Holographic Brain fame, who wrote: “The most basic human brain function is the regulation of arousal.” The Big Brain Question is all about arousal regulation.

The primary way the brain regulates hypo-arousal is with excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate and acetylcholine – those are the neurotransmitters that get energy (action-potentials) flowing. Hyper-arousal or over-excitability, on the other hand, uses inhibitory neurotransmitters like GABA, glycine and serotonin – to calm us down. Those twin binary processes are what the brain spends most of its day attempting to keep in balance. What becomes quite evident is that actions we take or fail to take, are the result of complex processes that mostly operate outside our control – as much as we might like to think otherwise. Positive answers to The Big Brain Question help us develop our own capacity for self-regulating arousal. They help us begin to gain more control.

A Well-Regulated Excitatory Brain Neuron …

Excitatory Inhibitory Cell Connections

Buried Trauma

When I was about 10 years old, I recall a sticky summer evening in the housing projects. It was getting dark and I was sitting on the front porch with my sister and her girlfriend whom I had a crush on. In the middle of playing and flirting, my mother suddenly appeared at the front screen door and announced, “Time to come in and wash up for bed.”

I balked. She insisted. When she opened the screen door to come out and try to grab me, I bolted from the porch, raced to the sidewalk, stumbled on the curb and went flying face-first full into the gravel-filled street. My mother had caught up to me by this time, and my spontaneous, desperate plea to her was, “Please don’t take me to the hospital. Please don’t take me to the hospital” (At age 4 I’d had my tonsils out under general anesthesia. As a result I experienced an unconscious traumatic “freeze response,” and had inexplicably and unconsciously become terrified of any potential return to any hospital at any time, ever).

My mother checked my injuries, made sure there were no broken bones, and then took me back inside the apartment to clean and bandage the deep gash over my right eye (still visible and holding somatic memory more than a half century later!). All the while she assured me that we would not need to go to the hospital.

Because my own brain networks were immature and were not up to the task of self-soothing in those hyper-aroused moments, my mother’s brain had to serve as an external arousal regulator. In effect, in that moment, she was positively answering The Big Brain Question “Yes” for me when my own brain could not.

Exo-Regulation

This is one critical, essential function that parents and other adults need to provide to children (and often other adults in times of great stress). Because the emotional centers of our brains don’t have sufficient connections to enable them to self-soothe – to self-regulate – when we’re kids, that soothing needs to be provided externally. This is fundamentally what neuropsychiatrist Bruce Perry taught a class of kindergartners to do for Peter, a Romanian orphan, when Bruce went to Peter’s class and taught them brain science – one of the most important things those kindergartners learned that year.

Keep Your Word

Promises made and kept are another way to positively answer The Big Brain Question. Healthy parents make a number of implicit promises to their children. They promise to provide a home, food, safety, guidance, loving connection. In healthy homes these things are provided as a matter of course. As such, they become a given – implicitly wired into our neural network. The result: as adults we mostly take them for granted.

A Rose with NeedleParents also make explicit promises. They agree to take us to a movie, buy us a computer game for our birthday, let us have a friend sleep over, etc. If our parents are reliable and trustworthy and know the importance of giving their word and keeping it, we come to expect that behavior, too as a matter of course. Over time, with repetition, the explicit becomes implicit. Until the first time it doesn’t. Promises made and unkept violate a fundamental neurological need. They deliver a resounding “No” as the answer to The Big Brain Question.

But here’s something we only rarely come to realize: when we, as a parent (or simply as a person), make a promise and don’t keep it, the angel that gets booted out of heaven … is us! It’s our brain – Spy Consciousness (to use a term from neuroscientist Mike Gazzaniga) – watches everything we do. And then it goes about unconsciously making up stories about us – who we are, how much we can be counted on, what we’re worth, etc. And unfortunately for you and me, all those stories get delivered to our unconscious where they constantly operate behind the scenes, silently and surreptitiously regulating excitatory and inhibitory neurons, constantly arguing for or against our self-limitations, mostly under the radar of awareness.

Bottomline: Be extremely mindful of the promises you make. Your brain health and balance and self-esteem depends on it.

And now, with that said – as promised – here’s a regularly scheduled Enchanted Loom on one of the best-selling neuroscience books of all time.

“The brain has reasons that reason knows nothing of.” – with apologies to Blaise Pascal

When I was 20 years old a group of aspirants would meet weekly with a Sufi wise man visiting America from Turkey. One day, at a particularly teachable moment, he delivered a directive that lit up my neural network and has powerfully shaped and guided my life ever since. In part it was what he said, but in equal measure it was what I was ripe and ready to hear. Fifty years later that directive has circled round and lit up my neural net once again.

Sufi PirFeedback Loops – Good or Bad?

One double-edged aspect of the way feedback loops affect our brains (and believe me – spiritual directives can be very powerful feedback loops) is that whatever we pay attention to in our lives tends to increase. So, for example, when we begin learning the multiplication tables and say “Three times three equals nine,” actual wires (axons) connect to other wiring (dendrites) in our brain. The more we repeat the multiplication tables, the more wires connect and the stronger the connections become, until one day – voila – we’ve built a sufficiently robust, integrated network that demonstrates we’ve learned all the multiplication tables. This wiring process repeats all through our lives with every bit of learning, including, unfortunately (and fortunately) learning that ends up breaking our hearts.

With respect to the spiritual directive I received, a number of network fibers had already been laid down – the equivalent of several exposures to the multiplication tables. I had sold a business I’d started in California, and was now back in Connecticut working with a friend who’d just started a housebuilding enterprise. I didn’t know it then, but my brain and body really thrived in being active and working outside every day. A big part of housebuilding, especially for two guys building their first house by themselves using a textbook (Willis Wagner’s Modern Carpentry), was creative problem-solving. This too, was a boon to my brain!

Gimme Shelter

Back to the spiritual directive. What the Sufi wise man said that was so impactful to my unfolding heart and brain was: “Provide shelter for people.” This teacher obviously knew that a kind heart trumps good looks!

To a 20-year-old with boundless energy, that directive meant “Build whole houses for people.” Which essentially is what I did for more than a quarter of a century. But the body ages and energy wanes. What’s an elder to do about that Spiritual Directive then?

Well, several weeks ago, the answer to that question arrived in an email from a friend. It was a short, inspiring Karma Tube video. It was this one of a guy in West Oakland, CA suddenly connecting a bunch of Rich Club networks in my brain (which I suspect ultimately connect to the heart – although I have only anecdotal evidence, which is often more than enough to form a research hypothesis or two around).

What the video provided was an illustration of one man’s efforts to help heal a few local broken hearts (including his own). Here’s how his efforts have inspired me.

Slowly I Turn

When I turned 50 it became clear that I could no longer take on the stress and responsibility for planning, constructing and completing one new home after another. I could do remodels and additions – things that required less time and energy and afforded some downtime between projects to recover. As the years have gone by and my interest in brain science blossomed, I have done less and less construction work.

wood-chapel-red-rhodiesFor the last two years though, I’ve been looking into the Tiny House movement, and have built the equivalent of several tiny houses on our property (see the Wood Chapel at the right and Ollie’s Love Emporium image below). Last year I almost went out and bought a trailer to build my first mobile Tiny House on.

And then along came Greg Kloehn’s video. Not surprisingly it triggered memories of two times in my own life when I was homeless, couch surfing, sleeping in trees and in friends’ parked cars. And because I know how important a sound, safe night’s sleep is for integrated brain function, my own neural network lit right up.

love-emporium-framed

Ollie’s Love Emporium

And now Oneira Zzzzz Podz has been born. My first sleeping pod for the homeless – a form of “shelter for people” that my current level of time and energy can readily manage. It’s well on the way to completion (you can see pictures HERE). I find my brain and body abuzz in ways that it hasn’t been for quite a while now. Especially because if anything will begin to address the complexity of homelessness, a safe and sound good night’s sleep is a great place to start. Oh, and the research shows how beneficial helping just one person actually is for the brain, not to mention…the human heart. Whose heart does your brain yearn to help heal?

“Your task is not to seek for money, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” With apologies to Rumi

To recap briefly – a small band of intrepid, fledgling neuroeconomists have agreed to attend online weekly sessions for a year while together we explore Money Relationships and the Brain. At this report we’re half way through the year. In case you’re wondering, as far as I know none of us has become a multi-millionaire thus far.

But what have we become? I will first speak for myself, and then offer a number of anonymous insights from various members of the group.

The first and probably the most disconcerting thing I’ve become is aware of just how unconscious I truly am when it comes to money. And I’ve run a number of successful businesses for more than 50 years! But just because I might be reasonably good at managing expenses and income doesn’t mean that when it comes to money I don’t have … issues. Triggers and blind spots and unskillful impulses. So that’s a growing edge.

Money GIF.gif

Another thing I’ve become aware of is just how much money implicitly factors into many of the daily decisions I make without any overt awareness on my part. Often I find myself striking an unconscious balance between fear and greed or desire. A simple example: I go over to the Goose Grocery and stroll the aisles. Rather than paying attention to what I might actually be hungry for, I’m constantly scanning the shelves for what’s on sale.

Mon – ey, It’s a Crime

As far as what participants have taken away thus far from six months of meeting together, here are a few selected and edited perspectives …

I really like how I feel when I pay attention while giving money to things I value, in this case, your money work in the world. Tithing seems to work the way you and the research suggest it does – beneficially. The amount of the tithe seems irrelevant. It’s the intention behind it that is paramount.

Money in  front-pocket  of jeans

I was really struck by the Yiddish proverb, “With money in your pocket, you are wise, and you are handsome, and you sing well, too.” It reminded me of the impact of social proof and self-confidence that can come with money and affluence…and I liked the way it made me laugh at that idea at the same time. We are so much more than how much money we generate; even some homeless people can sing quite well.

I appreciate that our explorations hold space for both content and process. I notice I’m thankful for the structure/format, and the relative looseness of the structure, too. I can utilize the group as a way to make myself more accountable, or not; it’s on me and not an expectation. It’s a place to connect with something that matters to each of us, and a place where all of us are learning together. You also listen well.:-) It’s a joy to notice the way you listen to each of us, to be listened to, and truly heard. I appreciate that you share your own process, too.

I have learned that fear of not having money, fear of spending money and fear of losing money reinforce the illusion of scarcity and stop momentum in my life; that trying not to spend money only invites a feeling of helplessness and fear. Relaxing, enjoying and being in the moment allows me to hear and feel the helplessness and fear, and in response develop a greater opening in my life for money energy to flow through – a stream that will become a babbling brook, a rocking river that leads to the vastness and depths of the ocean of financial energy that is always there when needed, always flowing. It’s a process that seems to be leading to an increasingly deepening trust in life.

Finally, a number of people realized that our weekly group is the only place in their lives where they can talk openly and honestly explore what’s really true for them about money.

But enough about money for now. How about a new Enchanted Loom, on sale at a bargain? It’s about the Human Unconscious. Click HERE.

Recently, a friend I’d hadn’t heard from in a while invited me to lunch at my favorite Café in the Woods. I was happily looking forward to getting together and catching up. I also enjoy the food and the folks who work at the Café.

As is my inclination, I got to the Café early and picked out a table off in a corner so as to be minimally distracted by the general noisy background of the place. And then I waited. And waited.

My friend – let’s call her Liza – finally showed up 17 minutes late. This practice is known locally as “Whidbey Island Time.” Many people on this island apparently have internal clocks that don’t tell time very accurately. I think of it as a neurological anomaly – a feature, not a bug. But not an especially appealing one.

Be that as it may, I managed to put my irritation aside and once again look forward to my time together with Liza. Turns out she was in the throes of a new romantic relationship. As I listened to her, I found myself first becoming concerned and then increasingly irritated. I was reminded of Irv Yalom, in his book, Love’s Executioner, talking about how he abhorred doing therapy with people in the early stages of a love affair – they mostly showed up as temporarily insane.

woman-romantic-gaze-500x375Liza was showing many of Yalom’s signs. She was distracted, spacy, totally self-involved and mentally elsewhere for much of the lunch. To make matters worse, Liza’s love affair was of the Internet variety. It had been going on for a year and she had yet to meet the guy in person! There had been many planned meetings that had to be canceled on his end for one reason or another. As you might guess, all kinds of red flags went off in my brain.

But I never ended up offering them to Liza. All through the lunch our conversation was interrupted by her phone buzzing. There were text messages that she simply had to respond to; calls that she absolutely had to take; email notifications that she had to read. Finally, when Liza excused herself to go out onto the patio to take yet another call, I simply left my share of the tab on the table, got up and left the Café.

Integration Makes It Happen

The connections that networks make in our brain are what makes our neural networks work. The more connections a network makes, the more robust that network is. Integration means: to organize or combine into a harmonious whole. Neuropsychiatrist Dan Siegel, in his book, The Developing Mind, identifies nine ways that our brains can become integrated into such a harmonious whole. Essentially, what’s involved is growing more physical wires (neural axons and dendrites), and connecting them up all over the place – front to back, back to front, side to side, top to bottom, bottom to top. The more the merrier.

The merriest connections that result in the greatest integrative harmony – if we believe research emerging from contemplative neuroscience – are the ones that run from the prefrontal – “executive function” – cortical area of the brain to the sub-cortical emotional centers of the brain. That appears to be the neural direction evolution is moving humanity. The result is a brain and mind that can meet an ever-changing world with flexibility, adaptability, coherence, big energy and stability. Except, of course, for when it can’t.

Put the Cell Phone Away

network-blogs.cas_.suffolk.edu_1What we find is that there are many nouns – people, places and things – in our everyday lives that work against neural integration, romantic love among them. They tend to produce its opposite – fragmentation. Fragmented networks don’t process energy and information very efficiently. They lack robust connectivity, and often have to generate a lot of energy-consuming “workarounds.” Think air traffic having to be rerouted when O’Hare is fogged in. Or the local police having to reroute traffic around a crime scene.

So what kind of nouns contribute to fragmentation? Many in contemporary culture, it turns out. In addition to romantic love, stress, trauma and time pressure are a few. Here’s some recent research that suggests the constant interruption of our cell phone is detrimental to the early development of children’s brains. I only have to watch my own reactivity to hypothesize that it’s not ideal for adult brains either.

Intrusive Internet Ads

Another area where I get to watch my stress, irritation and frustration mount as my neural network becomes increasingly fragmented is when I’m on the Internet and advertisements constantly intrude on the information I’m trying to take in. Now they have delayed audio promotions that suddenly speak to me from a page I visited five or ten minutes previously. I then have to spend precious focused time trying to frantically find the offending intruder and silence it for good. It’s hard for me to believe people are falling in love with such ads. All they do is make me loathe the medium and the products they’re trying to burrow into my brain. Give my brain a break.

And leave your cell phone in the car when you go out to lunch. Your world won’t come to a grinding halt if you stop and be fully present with another human for an hour. It’s a loving thing to do.

I’m taking this week’s column almost wholesale from Louis Cozolino’s newest book, Why Therapy Works. What he argues for and offers in that book is a collection of strategies for becoming an alpha member of the human tribe. Interestingly, these strategies map almost exactly onto the goals of most forms of psychotherapy, executive coaching or parental training programs. Here are ten alpha qualities that seem to be where human development is headed. Some of us might want to find ways to practice and creatively apply them as we move into the Third Acts of our lives. Even more interesting is that many of them correlate with … Impeccability Practice. And it’s important to remember that these are not assessments or evaluations – they are aspirations – capacities it is possible to grow into.

Alphas are confident.

Young girl thinking with abstract icons on her head

Alphas’ security in their own abilities is their best ally. They are willing to take risks based upon their own discernment and are open to correction and modification to improve personal strategies. What they are most confident about is their ability to learn and grow.

Alphas take responsibility for outcomes.

Alphas take responsibility for their behaviors and the success of the group; betas make excuses for failure. Alphas attempt to identify and control variables in advance that might scuttle projects or derail successful outcomes.

Alphas don’t fear failure.

Alphas are curious about failure; their primary interest is in what they might learn that can be of value going forward. Obstacles exist for Alphas as opportunities to expand their creative problem-solving abilities.

Alphas keep their own council.

“A woman who wants to lead an orchestra must turn her back on the crowd.” (apologies to James Cook). Alphas are pretty resistant to peer pressure and groupthink. They use their own life experiences and values to guide thinking and actions.

Alphas are able to regulate their emotions.

Stress concept - angry man with exploding head

Alphas don’t have temper tantrums. Explosive and uncontrolled expression of emotion come from feelings of frustration, helplessness and fear. People who lose control of themselves are seldom true alphas. Aggression should never be mistaken for real power.

Alphas have goals and plans to get there.

Alphas operate in the world with an eye towards the future and what might be best for the group. Alphas tend to have careers; betas have jobs. Alphas trust in the combination of an inspired vision and hard work, while betas too often rely on structures provided by others.

Alphas understand and utilize the power of words.

Alphas know the power of words and so they measure them carefully. In addition they work on the practice of learning to listen deeply to what is both spoken and unspoken. Alphas also know the power of story and humor and self-disclosure and use them to get their perspectives across.

Alphas accept their vulnerability.

In doing so, alphas are unafraid to face their faults and do their best to skillfully address them. Alphas rarely succumb to internal blackmail – making unhealthy compromises so that the secret of their imperfection never gets out. Alphas accept their imperfections and work to improve them.

Alphas select their partners consciously.

Alphas don’t simply hook up with people who are attracted to them. When it comes to partnering with others, at whatever level, alphas listen to both their hearts and their brains – both brain hemispheres. They look for partners who are not threatened by their strengths or abilities, who are secure in their own values and competencies in the world.

Alphas are not afraid to be quiet or alone.

solitude_03Alphas recognize, as the poet and novelist May Sarton pointed out, that loneliness is a poverty of the self, while solitude supports a richness of the self. Alphas continue to work to grow the capacity to monitor internal monologues and simply dismiss any thoughts their brains secrete that do not support growth, learning, health and happiness.

Finally, this week’s Enchanted Loom reviews a book by an author who heads the list of most popular TED Talks. Do you know who it is? Click HERE to find out.

After my first week at James Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut, I knew that if I didn’t do something even more antisocial than I was already doing, the next four years were going to be hell. One way I knew Big Pain was waiting for me along that timeline was that first week when Billy Zwack came over to my locker and said, “I hear you can score me some shit.” I’m sure the fear in my eyes was obvious. “Well,” he announced, towering over me by at least a foot. “I’m going to be your regular shit sampler. I get my samples for free.”

Bullies-Step-1-Version-2Before I could deny or protest, my brain suffered its first-ever concussion. Zwack took my face in his massive hand and banged the back of my head three times into the door of my metal locker. The next thing I knew I was coming to in the Assistant Principal, Mr. Kennedy’s office. At which point, he bestowed upon me a great gift: He told me I was being expelled from school for fighting. He sowed the first seeds for me becoming an autodidact.

Billy Zwack and his friends were not my greatest threat in high school though. Zwack and friends made it abundantly clear that high school was not a safe place for learning. Or for supplying shit. But the more insidious threat to my brain was teachers who unwittingly tried to induce me to hate learning by constantly doing assessments and evaluations and delivering test results. The public schools of my day were past masters in generating neuroceptive threat – the body’s unconscious, non-verbal meta-wisdom that constantly tells us the threat level all around us at any moment.

Neural Nets Are for Learning

As a consequence of the first week expulsion, I basically dropped out of high school – logging more truant days than anyone else who managed to still get a diploma four years later. Even when I showed up for morning homeroom to get my attendance taken, I would later sneak out and take the bus downtown to the New Haven Public Library. There I would study things I was interested in, like local oddities of the natural habitat, the history of Judge’s Cave up on West Rock, how to become a moonshiner. Had the Internet been around back in my day, a public classroom would have never seen my face.

I followed my own lead pretty much up to age 28, before finally taking the SATs and enrolling in college. And only then because a high school guidance counselor surreptitiously planted a meme in my brain: “You won’t be happy, Mark, unless you go to college.” What she might have said, had she been a social neuroscientist, is: “You won’t be happy, Mark, unless you’re building internal learning networks with kindred spirits similarly committed to personal and global development.”

Learning as Phun

But even with three graduate degrees under my belt obtained in the company of such kindred spirits, I still operate in the world pretty much as an autodidact (I taught myself the meaning of that word ;-) ) I research and investigate what I want, how I want, when I want. There is very little fear or pressure involved in my learning – no journal editorial boards to impress, no tenure committees to kowtow to, no department chairs to battle with over my teaching load. I have no teaching load. What I have is a circle of friends interested in what I’m interested in. We support each others learning and we learn together.

Which is how my brain worked in “Sandbox School” before I ever attended day one of public school. I can still recall the tension in my little body as my grandmother walked me down Pearl Street towards my first kindergarten classroom. I tried to persuade her not to take me by telling her that there was toilet paper stuck in my butt! She promised to take a look once we got to the school. The dread and overwhelm was like I imagine convicted felons feel on their first day in prison.a schools prisons

My public elementary school educator friends assure me things are changing. Not fast enough for my neural net.

 

“You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person. That special person who is wrong for you in just the right way. The way that lets both your scars fall in love.” ~ Andrew Boyd

Billie, the first girl I ever had a crush on, unfortunately had Big Juice for my best friend, Aaron. Aaron, however, didn’t have anything other than sexual experimentation energy for Billie. Years later I ran into Billie in the town where we grew up while I was back home visiting. She was just emerging from a community mental health clinic. She immediately got busy looking in every direction but straight ahead where she would have to make eye contact with me.

“Billie?” I said. She feigned surprise. “What are you doing here?”

Unreturned-Love-unrequited-love-31051498-302-251Turns out Billie was visiting her husband of several years in support of him doing a combined, court-mandated anger management / drug rehab program. Bruises on the sides of her neck and on her arms underscored the clear need.

Seeing her again briefly in that context, reminded me of what my attraction to her was – surprise, surprise – she reminded me a LOT of my mother. From the spousal abuse to the emotional resignation to the good heart – she could have been my mother one generation removed.

Fortunately, I didn’t remind Billie of either her emotionally absent mother or her incesting father. Consequently, her brain and body simply had little juice for me.

Childhood Yearning to Heal

In his recent book, Trauma and Memory, ethologist and clinical somatic psychologist Peter Levine points out that many of the early overwhelming and disorganizing experiences we have during childhood in the care of our parents get stored unconsciously as implicit memories. Implicit memory is made up of the emotions we feel and the body (procedural) memory that orchestrated how we responded to those early overwhelming experiences (recall that MIT neuroscientist Sebastian Seung identifies the fact that every neuron in our neural network eventually traces a route that terminates at a muscle!). Those early disorganizing experiences live in us like a chickenpox virus, waiting until conditions are perfect to blossom into the potential of full, healing flower. More often than not however, without knowledge, support and practice, little healing happens.

My Name is You

The general impulse for all living tissue is to heal, repair and integrate. The twin psycho-sensory processes of transference and projection, when viewed through this framework, would seem to be designed to draw us to “the right wrong people” alex-grey-artin order to provide opportunities for such healing, repairing and integrating to take place. Unfortunately, without that frame and a healing orientation, what most of us too often end up with in our lives is … the wrong, wrong person.

The wrong, wrong person is who we end up with when we try to make a relationship work that just doesn’t have a balanced “chemistry” being contributed to the healing, alchemical cauldron that is a human committed relationship.

Wrong Is Right as Wrong Is Healing

Here’s a simple example of the wrong, wrong person. Daniel, a friend of mine served two tours of duty overseas in the Marines. Needless to say, he came back with his brain and body significantly different than when he first went. He had been exposed to much suffering, many deaths, severe injuries and many loud, sudden, deadly explosions.

When he came home to his wife, and they tried to resume their lives together as a civilian couple, it turned out to be a considerable challenge. The main issue was this: several times every week his wife would quietly sneak up on Daniel and yell, “Boo!” (It sounds cruel as I write this). Needless to say, it flooded Daniel’s brain with traumatic images, spiked his cortisol and adrenaline levels, and required him to do everything he could to simply not reactively respond by lashing out. Home had turned into an unsafe place to be. But explaining all this to his wife (and having a traumatologist explain it to her as well) had no effect on her behavior. She continued to uncontrollably trigger Daniel into a state of hyperarousal on a regular basis. Since she was apparently unable to control her own behavior in this scenario, Daniel saw no other alternative but divorce. His wife had morphed into the wrong, wrong person.

Romantic love has little to do with love at all. What it has most to do with is the potential each person holds for the others healing. The deeper, more extensive our wounding, the hotter the initial fires. The hotter the fires, the greater the potential healing. The unfortunate reality of love unrequited is that where healing potentials are concerned, one person may be the right, wrong person, the other simply the scar-crossed wrong, wrong person.

For a further take on buried memories and healing and the different ways they might operate in unrequited love, check out the most recent Enchanted Loom review of Peter Levine’s new book, Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past.

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