No Shame with the Lower Brain


Most of us didn’t know that the “ground floor of brain organization” was supposed to happen during the first year of life.

A while back, a mother posted on our Brain Highways Facebook page how her son had gone from being the kid placed on a behavior contract with a stack of “character referrals” to one the teacher was now exclaiming and praising—but how that had only happened after he started organizing his brain.

After seeing so many positive responses to her post, the mother then wrote me what she had not previously shared.  Prior to starting Brain Highways, her son had been scheduled for a behavior assessment at Rady’s Children Hospital to see whether he qualified for a formal diagnosis.  Such appointments are hard to come by, so (while waiting), her family began Brain Highways.

However, when that appointment time finally came around, this mom decided to postpone it since she was already seeing changes in her son, even though he had only been participating at Brain Highways for about a month.

As the re-scheduled appointment neared once again, she now decided to cancel it altogether. There truly was no longer any need for the assessment.

Since I know that people who are unfamiliar with brain organization, as well as those who want it to happen overnight (they forget it’s a process), benefit from reading such stories, I asked if she would now also share that part.

Yet, she was reluctant.  She wanted to check with her son to make sure he was comfortable telling others that he had been scheduled for a formal behavior assessment. She was concerned that friends at his school (who also visit the Brain Highways Facebook page) might see the post, and she wanted to make sure he was comfortable with that.

Not surprisingly, her son shrugged his shoulders and asked why would he care what other kids thought?

However, here’s what most likely happened.  Don’t think a 6-year-old actually has first-grade friends who visit our Facebook page. So, I’m thinking his mom’s concern was about the reaction of his friends’ parents.  Without realizing it, she may have felt some kind of shame that her son had needed to be scheduled for a behavioral assessment or that he may have even been close to getting diagnosed with some condition that again . . . often comes with even more guilt and shame.

Now, if such emotions were triggered in the mom, there is absolutely no judgment there.  But there is reflection.

How did we (as a society) get so far off the beaten path that there is stigma or embarrassment—or even actual shame—associated with those who have just not finished their lower brain development?  After all, it’s not as though any of us had a say in whether this work was completed during our first year of life (if we’re the one who did not finish the development), or it’s very unlikely that we (as parents) consciously decided to forbid our kids to complete this important brain work.   In fact, we most likely did everything we thought we were supposed to during our child’s first year of life.

Yet, I’ve lost count of how many Brain Highways parents ultimately shared they experienced much shame and guilt associated with what turned out to be . . . underdeveloped lower centers of the brain.  I say ultimately because such sharing usually only happened after they were confident everything was moving forward in the most positive way.

You see, shame hecklers in the brain count on people keeping quiet about whatever they think others will judge harshly. The more secretive, the more the shame escalates.

But no more. That’s why I’ve decided to dub 2014: No Shame with the Lower Brain.  If any of us—adult or child—has been trying to function without the ground floor of brain organization in place, there should not only be no shame, but such people deserve accolades for whatever they accomplished with a brain that is not functioning as intended.

So, what’s the best way to silence those shame hecklers?

Well, we’re no longer going to be secretive about how our brain is organized. If our lower brain development is incomplete, we now blab that information to everyone, noting how we must be pretty darn amazing, considering all that we’ve already accomplished without these highways in place.  We share how we’ve been struggling unnecessarily since it’s possible to go back and finish that development at any time in our life—and how we’re grateful for that opportunity.  We’re optimistic and curious about how life will be once the highways are in place.

And guess what? The more people who shift their consciousness to think this way, the more people will silence lurking shame hecklers in their own brain.  But such sharing may also motivate others to be more open about what they’re also experiencing, which may lead them to decide to complete their brain development if they discover that their own “ground floor of brain organization” is not yet in place.

At the Brain Highways Centers, that’s already the mindset.  All (not just a few) of the parents now organize their own brain alongside their child.

Not only that, but the parents’ lower brain is assessed in front of everyone (we’re talking a large crowd) at a pre-session parent meeting because . . .  why not?  We’d only do assessments behind a guarded curtain if there was something to hide, right?

And then, after we’re done assessing all the parents, no one is strutting because they may have a more developed pons than someone else.  Actually, if anyone is strutting, it’s the parent who discovers that he or she only has 5% of their pons developed.  In such cases, the reaction to such information is often, “Wow! I must be brilliant!”

So, let’s challenge the idea that we have to keep secret how our brain is presently functioning.  Let’s truly make 2014 the year where there’s no longer any shame with anything associated with the brain.

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