The Way Your Brain is Wired.

Your brain’s job is not to make you happy or to help you achieve your biggest goals and dreams. It literally is wired, neurologically to keep you safe, and that means…alive. It’s sole mission is to keep you literally alive and breathing.

This is literally why stepping out of your comfort zone is such a challenge. Your brain will quickly remind you that you aren’t in familiar territory, there are things your need to watch out for, that you are getting to the edge of your know and comfortable space, and will throw all kinds of self-sabotaging thoughts your way! So in order to be able to evolve and grow into the person you truly desire to be, you have to know that your previous wiring for safety is going to be tested, and that you will need to re-program the old and familiar wiring with new information. Your old internal subconscious patterning, which is the internal map that your brain is operating on to keep you safe, will only is only comfortable with what it has known in the past. And for many of us, that old programming is keeping us stuck in patterns that we learned and used to survive the conditions we were brought up in, but that aren’t healthy, or serving us well now that we are adults. And the more chaotic or traumatic your younger years, the more those ingrained patterns are entrenched. So how do you re-wire your old programming so that it will allow you to grow and expand into the highest version of yourself you can now imagine?

The first step is to recognize that whatever your younger years were like, you can have the things you most want in life. You get to choose. As an adult, the goals for your life are up to YOU!! No matter what society says, or family members say, the choices that you make in life are YOURS!! I remember growing up my Dad had a very strong personality. He made the rules!! He had many amazing qualities, but his desire to be in charge of everything wasn’t a healthy pattern for me to learn. I remember thinking that I had to follow the rules, and didn’t feel like I had any choices, that I had to fit into what everyone else needed at all times.

It was a revelation to me much later in life that there were things I could choose. I spent most of my life trying so hard to please everyone, and then realized that it was completely impossible to do. I was burning myself out trying to please my ex, my family, society in general. I didn’t use even an ounce of my energy to do what I wanted to do. In fact, I hadn’t even realized that I could think about what “I” wanted, hadn’t even considered it! I was listening to a business associate one day telling me all of his dreams, all of the personal and professional goals he was envisioning, and it dawned on me. I didn’t even know what “I” wanted. I had been working feverishly for decades, to the point of workaholism to fulfill what I thought everyone else wanted me to do.

As a recently divorced single mother, I realized that I needed to start over to build a vision for what my life would become. I had to start at the beginning. I didn’t even know what I enjoyed, or how to have fun. I just knew how to work hard. That was the only thing I knew. Relaxation was not even something I could do. I had friends that meditated and got so much joy from that. I tried. I felt like a miserable failure. I hated it. My brain was telling me what was familiar. “There’s work to be done. You can’t just be sitting around doing nothing!!” It took me ten years of trying again and again, and trying different forms of meditation to find some things that work for me. Paddle boarding at sunset is an active meditation that I love. Guided meditation where you are listening to music and someone’s voice helped me a lot. Dancing is a form of active meditation that gives me incredible joy. I can dance to a few chosen favorite songs, and feel energized and alive. I recently discovered Qu Now that I understand that my brain and thoughts only knew what was familiar at the time, it makes sense that trying to relax and meditate was so far out of my workaholic comfort zone, that it wasn’t going to feel comfortable doing that. It took time to develop a vision for my life, to create a new map and slowly take actions that felt like a step in the direction to my dreams: more joy, more peace, more freedom, more connection.

The most important lesson I learned from all of it is that we need to love ourselves where we are at now. And to keep searching for what works for you. You are unique. The experiences you have gone through, no matter what they are, make you the person you are today. And you get to determine how your life proceeds from here. Moving towards more joy and connection to the things you desire most, or away from them, the choice is yours.

I invite you to really think about these questions:

What do I most want in life?

What do I love?

What have I always thought about doing, but haven’t started yet?

Think of an action step that would get you closer to one of these answers today. And actually decide and do it! Right now.

I would love to hear what your answers are, and what your first action is…


The Emotional Scale

When reading the emotional scale, isn’t it easy to pick out co-workers, relatives and family members!  But what about taking a long look to see where the scale hits you between the eyes on a regular basis, and  then investigating further to determine… Why? 

Once we can look at the conscious and then the underneath subconscious indicators, we have the power to begin to change where we are on the scale.  Not by suppressing the feelings, no matter what they are, but learning to move them through your body and release them!  Your feelings are literally your emotional guidance system.  They are there to teach us something. Guilt, for example, is not there to teach you that you are a bad person, (it was more than likely drilled into you as a youngster).  It is there to tell you that you are not in full alignment with your true inner core of strength and love and connection, and that you have some inner work to do if you would like to change that. 

Neuroscience is telling us that feelings such as anxiety and anger are the body’s way of signaling to the brain to produce the chemicals of stress, adrenaline and cortisol to for example. If we stay in a certain range on the emotional scale for a while, we can get used to or addicted to the chemicals of stress and begin to normalize feelings such as guilt, anxiety and depression.  Long term chronic stress, as well as acute trauma can literally get stuck in the body, and although they begin to feel normal the longer they persist, they do not have to be permanent.

This is really great news!!  We can determine what the underlying conscious and subconscious patterns are and literally create brand new neural pathways for the chemicals of joy and connection to run on.  Our body can create numerous feel good chemicals such as oxytocin and serotonin when we learn to get out of the fight or flight mode that leads to depression, guilt, anxiety and in the process, we move up the scale to better feeling thoughts.

Many decades ago, when I first heard about the law of attraction, I heard that you could say some affirmations and fix everything!  Great thought, but hard to put into practice.  It works on conscious thoughts and has validity there, but it is the unconscious thoughts that remain below the surface that also need to be addressed for real and lasting change.

Luckily for us, neuroscience has given us the tools to tap into the thoughts that stay mostly submerged, and begin the journey of creating those new pathways, and when your predominate thoughts, both conscious or unconscious match, (and are not cancelling each other out) and are predominantly in any layer on the scale, that will be your predominate emotion and feeling.  No one stays in a perpetual state of joy, it is normal to have fluctuations into different layers on the scale. Being able to turn momentum back to positive when it has turned the other way, without spending a lot of time heading downward is the key. Staying stuck near the bottom, isn’t required.  What is required is a willingness to face where you are, decide you want to change, determine that you will do the inner work to release what is holding you there, believe that there is a way forward, and begin the journey!!

Life is like a spiral, you have the power at any point to orchestrate the direction of the spiral.  Here’s to consciously creation what you most want for you!! 

If you would like some tools to do this for yourself, check out my FB group, Navigate Your Sea of Dreams… Find Your New Direction

January- time to thaw from the deep freeze

The ground is buried in a new blanket of snow,  but for me, the inside is looking quite a bit toastier.  Not just the indoors, but my actual insides.  For most of my life, I have been the one that follows all the rules, colors only inside the lines, does what everyone thinks I should do, partly to please others, but I think more so, because I never had much of a sense of what I wanted for myself.  I hadn’t really even given that much thought until recently.

I have recently taken up following the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza, and begun his meditations, which has led me to a spiraling upward path of finding feeling, yes, the physical sensation of feeling emotions in my body, a path of warming up the frozen insides that my upbringing had me holding on tightly to.

When your insides are completely frozen, you don’t even know all the things you haven’t felt exist.  The warmth your heart feels when you have a conversation with your adult children.  Not that I haven’t always had the biggest love for my kids,  I can just FEEL it now, physically in my body, after doing the meditations.

I now literally feel the space that releasing old patterns, old regrets, anger about things that didn’t happen, or things that shouldn’t have, has made.  Space that a new level of happiness was waiting to occupy.

I have always been into self-help, I have shelves full of self-books that I have been adding to for decades. I have read about doing affirmations, and tried over the years to adopt that practice.  It always sounded good.  Write down that you feel confident, prosperous, and joyful. Repeat.  I have now finally figured out why all my attempts at that in the past were complete non-starters.  As Dr. Joe explains, the intellectual mind and the feeling, sensing part of you, are nearly mutually exclusive.  Not that intellect is bad, it is very useful for some things, but if you use it and nothing else, like I had been conditioned, you have shut down many of the ways your body can feel.  Using your mind to think about the words, in the case of affirmations, and to intellectually rehearse them were entirely missing the point.  The point actually is to drop in your heart (for me, a frozen desert of a region at that time) and FEEL what it would feel like to be all of those fabulous things.  To awaken your imagination (still working on this), and to picture how these things would look, adds to the affect.   What you are actually doing, when you drop into the feelings in your body is to re-write the subconscious programs in your mind to accept the positive new ideas.

Dr. Joe’s work, along with Wayne Dyer and others, shows you how to “get out of your head”, and use your senses and emotions to bring an inner awareness of feeling, which is pulling together the brain and body into what is called heart and brain coherence.

Dr. Joe’s work shows the science behind what is actually happening when you meditate, you create new neurological pathways in your brain that shut off the chemicals of stress and ramp up the chemicals of joy. Following these methods people can heal themselves from stress related illnesses, emotional pain, and actually free themselves from past traumas of all kinds.

I know for me, this is a new journey of adding freedom to my life.  I woke up this morning feeling, yes, actually feeling the emotions in my body of being worthy of the life I truly desire.  I am giving myself permission to be joyful, happy, prosperous and surrounded by people that are giving themselves the same permissions.  No more nagging sense of not deserving that.  I left that baggage at the door, and checked into a new life.

February Is Time To Feel

Okay, so I am now working with a coach, the first session was today.  He is awesome, by the way, his name is Kevin Young, and he is in Detroit, MI.  My ultimate goal is this… to create the life I have always dreamed of. For me, this starts with people to love, and includes the time and means to make a difference in the world, to contribute my time, expertise and talent to causes that fire me up. I am starting from a place that looks pretty benign if you are on the outside looking in. From the inside, though, I know there are a series of old blocks that were holding me back. I certainly have been chipping away at them through the years, but they still have some rough and sharp edges, that I trip over and poke myself with here and there.  And I just decided that I was done with old things holding me back.  I am unhooking all that old stuff and leaving at the door, so to speak…I had spent many years of my life being frozen, not physically frozen, of course, but emotionally frozen, due to a traumatic event that happened decades ago. I know that encasing that event in ice, figuratively, was a survival skill that I needed at the time, but that as an adult isn’t giving me what I want.  I want to melt that inner ice, warm up the the non-feeling places and make space for more comfort and ease in my physical body, and actually tune in to more intuition and heart-felt JOY!!

So Kevin has agreed to work his magic, he told me to get ready to feel more of all kinds of emotions, getting that old stuff out and released!  He is going to be sharing his talents and helping me focus on tuning into intuition, finding clarity and finding ways to understand and share my purpose.  Come along on the journey.  Let’s see if we can tune in together…I look forward to being able to feel your presence!!

A Plan Doesn’t Always Go as Planned

Where is life taking you?  We all have plans that we want to complete, and everyone that has ever made a plan knows that Plan A doesn’t always go as expected.  Life doesn’t go in a straight line.  It is more like a spiral.  We get to choose the direction.  Spiral up or spiral down.  Which one did you choose today?  We have a lot more choice about how we react to daily happenings that we sometimes want to remember.  You can choose to be annoyed at a co-worker, or choose to wonder what makes that person react the way they do.  You get to live with your annoyance or your wonder.  Which one feels better to you?  And what are you wiring into your biology… literally.

Our brain’s job is to not to keep us happy, its function is to keep us alive.  So the automatic reactions we have which were designed to keep us out of the teeth of wild animals are often a bit of over-reaction for present day circumstances.  Using our higher faculties of discernment, we can see that we get to choose what we think about any given circumstance.  We aren’t stuck with reactions that highlight stress, anxiety and danger only.

When we choose a better feeling thought, we are literally wiring that into our neural circuitry.  And you don’t have to be brain scientist to use this in your daily life.

Try this thought experiment…

reach for the best feeling thought in whatever situation you are in today…

Here’s an example…

Situation:  my work schedule is full today.

(What am I going to choose to think about this?)

I am overwhelmed!!!  I can’t handle this!!

or… I will focus on the tasks I can do best, and I’ll be able to find help when I need it.

You get to choose.  Choose what gives you the chance to experience the “spiral up’.  Think of a better feeling thought in your given circumstance.  Even the tiniest improvement changes the momentum of how you feel.  It takes practice, you have to keep at it.  But once you get some experience with this technique, you will love the feeling of knowing you have some control in any circumstance.

Here’s to the “spiral up!”


November is Appreciation Month

November in Michigan finds the weather on a definite march toward Winter.  Frosty mornings, white caps on the lake many evenings, and me still too stubborn to put the paddle-board  away in the garage, on the off chance I can use it one more time before the air temperature is too cold until spring!  And even though the winter’s snow and ice are inching ever closer, early November gives us a brief pause to reflect on a year rapidly coming to a close, before the business of the holidays are in full swing.

I encourage you to stop your day’s hectic pace long enough to take 3 deep breaths.  And to consider a few things in your life that you can be thankful for in this year that is passing quickly.  For you if may be big things, or it may be little things, tucked into some things that may not seem like a reasons to celebrate at all.

I am grateful for a tiny kitten that was abandoned in the grocery store parking lot on the 6th of June, I carried his screaming little body home, and my son and I tried desperately to get milk into his little mouth, that had never known anything besides his mother.  Needless to say, after we got three drops into his mouth and he started purring, he was not going anywhere!  Our little Munchkin, as we affectionate called him from the beginning is a source of joy every day.  And our 1 year old male cat Milo, mothered him from day one!!  The two are like living teddy bears, and a constant source of contentment for us.

I am also very grateful for my intuition getting stronger as the days march on. I have never been able to say that before this year!!  I never thought that intuition existed, or that I had an ounce of it until recently.  It is only in LISTENING  to the little inner voice, that you can develop that sixth sense.  Tuning in this year led to start meditation as a daily practice. I have been trying (as in repeatedly starting and failing miserably) for 15 years!  So for anyone else that has tried and not been able to “get it” right away, rest assured that there is much hope for you!!  I always wondered why everyone else in a room full of people was so blissful and calm, when my body and mind were saying to me “get up and do SOMETHING, you can’t just be sitting here!”  My fits and starts with trying earnestly, were not a match to the ingrained workaholism that got me through a several tough patches in life.  I am grateful to it, in some ways, as it helped me, at the time, feel in control, to some small degree in situations where the amount of control seemed near zero.  And it gave me a positive feeling of being productive with all the energy I always have. But in the longer term, it pushed me to a point of burn out, and I had to figure out how to teach myself a different way, but my old programming didn’t give up easily!!

Enter the health challenge at work, for one month every year, my company has a health challenge, where you walk 10,000 steps a day for the month, and the reward is a nice discount on your health insurance.  I love to walk, and it usually takes place in August, which is a beautiful time to spend walking on the many path ways that pass the lake, the rambling brooks that lead to it, and the forested park nearby, so I am always content to join in!  Last year, the month was changed to November, and instead of idyllic late summer evenings, the walking days were 40 degrees and in the cold rain, almost daily.

Here’s where my intuition kicked in:  just before the challenge, there was a single week in which three separate conversations brought up the name Dr. Joe Dispenza.  I had been studying brain science and the new discoveries hoping to shed some light on how to help my son with anxiety and depression that can hit him at times like waves.  Having never heard of Dr. Joe before, it would have been very easy to overlook, but that tiny inner voice said to pay attention!   As I now had more than 2 hours every evening for a month to walk inside my house, due to the cold rain I started listening to  Dr. Joe’s videos on YouTube.  First, it seemed a bit hard to get into what he was saying.  “Get over the habit of being yourself.”  That sounded downright weird.  Until you listen for the explanation, and realize he is saying that you can literally re-program you mind in any way you wish.  If you start to use your mind in a proactive fashion, you can train your brain to think and feel, happier, more relaxed, joyful, appreciative, confident, any choice that you would like.  Simultaneously, he says that we can un-do programming that leads to anxiety, frustration, depression, anger, and all the stress responses that lead to major health challenges over time.  I heard enough in that month to know that I needed to know more.  My journey from trying to find solutions for my son, lead to listening to Dr. Joe’s guided meditations to fall asleep at night.  I had always tried to meditate on my own, and with rigid rules, such as not being able to move at all.  The guided meditations were so much easier for me, because I could listen to the music and the voice, and that kept my attention long enough to stick with it.   There are walking meditations as well. After a few weeks, I noticed that my resistance to sitting for 20 minutes stopped.  I could sit for 30 minutes, even, and not be squirming like a two year in a car seat!   That in itself felt very free!

It has been nearly a year since I started regular meditations, breathing exercises and daily practice of reflecting on my truest intentions, making sure that my actions for the day are aligned with what I really believe. I am happier, calmer and more peaceful!! Our destination in life is awesome to look forward to, but making the everyday journey more whole and complete has been an awesome experience!!  I wish the same for you!!

January: Contemplating the New Year

January 3, 2019

 A friend sent me this video on New Year’s Eve.  I have studied Yoga and read  about meditation and being in charge of your mind and emotions over the years, but this amazing man was new to me.  His ideas are intriguing me enough to start my own investigation, to delve deeper into the science of ancient yogic traditions, he mentions.  I have watched it three times now.  And it is all the more fascinating as I watch again and find deeper layers of meaning in his words and his laughter.  Join me in the investigation, the seeking.  Happy New Year to all! Join me on the road to Peace and Joy.

Peace and Blessings, J.

September is Building a Dream Month

September 24, 2018

Jaye Barends

I found a program that caught my attention.  Mary Morrisey popped up on my screen and talked about building a dream for yourself, and that she would teach people the methods they would need to make that dream come true.  I, being the incredible optimist that I am, took her up on it.  I am watching her 12 week program and following all of it that I can.  I have never been particularly good at visualizing things.  I just don’t seem to have been born with that gift.  So the first step of visualizing exactly what you are dreaming of is not my strong suit.  But I am putting is a concerted effort.  The instructions say to give attention to every detail that you can think of… the setting you want your house in, the colors surrounding you, the vision of who you want to live there, will there be room for guests, space for them to stay?  The amount of luxury you want, whatever is important to you.

That is the real key!!  Look into your own heart and think about the life you want to live, the memories you want to create, with whom, the things you want to do and be and accomplish and enjoy!  Many of us working Moms, were never trained to thing about what we actually want for ourselves!  I know I certainly wasn’t oriented that way.  I was taught to think about what my future husband would want, and then about everything that would make him happy, and what the kids needed and wanted.  It wasn’t until the last few years that I even figured out the concept that I could want something myself!!  It was such a foreign concept.  But also so freeing!  But the question remained.  What do I actually want?

So that is what I have been contemplating these last few weeks.  Stay tunes… I will let you in on what I am coming up with!

August is Enjoying the Summer Month

September 24, 2018

Jaye Barends

August is moving along so quickly.  Literally take time to smell the roses!  Take time to stop and watch the sunset!!  I live on a small lake and the sunsets are stunning.  I made time for getting out on the paddle-board a few nights this month, as the sun sinks, the peacefulness of the water is overwhelmingly joyous.!  Yet, it is so easy to become too busy to remember to take those few minutes.   I am so busy with work that I forget sometimes to drink in some enjoyment each day.  I look for it, and find it in absorbing the incredible natural beauty surrounding me. How do you find enjoyment?  In a good conversation?  A fabulous meal, leisurely enjoyed?  My Italian roots are showing!  There are myriad ways to drink in the abundance of joy around us, a good book, an uplifting movie, reflecting on a purpose-filled day.

Remember to take time to notice the good.  Feel it!!  Let is sink into your consciousness.  On those days that give you waves of something other than joy, you have a full tank of memories to stop and reflect on. and divert your attention from the waves, as they smooth out again.

Do you have the MTHFR Gene?

July 27, 2018


In my layman’s attempt at helping my son with the anxiety and depression that he was thrown into in his early high school days, I’ve come across numerous helpful things, certainly not all of them will help everyone, but they have helped him and they are worth considering.  These two forms of Vitamin B, Methylcobolamine and Methyfolate can combat the effects of gene mutations on the Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase genes (you can see where it gets the nickname that looks like it needs to be bleeped), according to Dr Stephen Gundry in his book The Plant Paradox.  According to Dr. Gundry about half the world’s population has one or more mutations on the MTHFR genes that cause a host of health issues, and contribute to anxiety and depression.  These two forms of Vitamin B specifically bind to an amino acid called homocysteine in your bloodstream converting it into a harmless substance.  Whereas, left unchecked, it can damage blood vessels.  Dr. Gundry recommends 1000 to 5000 of  methylcobalamine sublingually (under your tongue) per day and 1000 mcg of methyfolate per day.  More information can be found on his site ( and in his book, The Plant Paradox. He does mention that for individuals with a double mutation of the gene that the B vitamins can cause adverse reactions.  Get more information before you decide if this is right for you.  There is genetic testing available that can help you decide if this is a good choice for your circumstances.