The Reinvention Equation is a practical guide for baby boomers who have lost their rhythm that they were taught growing up as to how the world works. Howard Parsons had his first taste of life transition at age fourteen when his mother, his best friend, died. His anchor to his world, as he knew it, was gone. Not knowing how nor having tools to navigate his life, Howard turned to isolation, hard work, and alcohol to make the journey as best as he could. In the years to follow, Howard learned new skills and techniques to reinvent his life, providing deep satisfaction and gratitude for all that is available. Here is a blueprint that will show you the process to reinvent your life, get past old ways of doing things, and find once again your essential self as the guiding source in your life. In the new world order, which is not what baby boomers expected, thinking, feeling, and physical actions must be aligned with your essential self.
As we grow up we know screaming won't work with our boss at work but we think about the strategies we need to use to make us feel a part of the team and be seen as a team player. We were one or two or three years of age when we learned how to look like a team player at home. Now we are fifty plus and we employ strategies that try to accomplish the same result. The difficulty is that to look like a team player is not what it feels like on the inside. So many of my generation have gone to work and continue to do so with their outside image not matching how they feel on the inside. It is a formula for illness inside and out. That is why change is called for in the new world we find ourselves. The child learns all of these strategies, some psychologists, say by the age of seven or earlier. The adaptations become locked in at an unconscious level and are activated as needed in order to live in the family and later to get along in the world as an adult. The child adapts first on a physical level which provides the means for them to be taken care of as they grow up. Childhood adaptation occurs at the physical, feeling and the thinking levels. We are pretty smart as kids and we soon learn what feelings are ok and not ok to express in the family. As in my case I decided it was not ok to express sadness so that emotion went underground. I call this Emotional Sensory Amnesia (ESA). We forget that to express a wide range of feelings is normal. However, our adaptive habitual training leads us to only express those feelings we have learned are on the approved list. The feedback loop between the brain and the feelings is stuck in a particular neural pattern. That means the default is always what we know, not what we have forgotten. In order to make a change in the neural pattern and therefore a change in our life we need to recognize what is taking place and consciously choose to have a different experience. A friend of mine has been separated from his wife for some nine years. He learned as a child always be nice to people and never get into a fight. So, he has gone along for these years paying support to his former spouse while at the same time feeling the pain of the historical chain to the past. His learned adapted behavior was always to feel like he was being polite and avoiding conflict. The divorce decree would in his mind allow him to be free. Why, he wonders, will she not agree to go along with his plan? His Emotional Sensory Amnesia (ESA) has been fully operational for these years of separation from her because he sees himself as the "nice guy." Along comes his life coach who starts asking questions and wondering about the situation. He sees how difficult it is for my friend to make any demands on his wife because of his past programming. However, after some coaching, a choice is made to have a new outcome. As soon as my friend made that choice, he has already started to change the neural patterns in his brain which will provide a new experience not previously known in his adult life. In fact, I would say the outcome is guaranteed because my friend has made a conscious choice for a new result. Our brains are a fluid web of electrical connections waiting for instructions as to how to operate in any moment. When we operate unconsciously from past experience we get the same old result. Once we make a conscious new choice we are guaranteed to have a new outcome. Then the practice is to strengthen the new pattern. My friend is now on his way to completing the divorce decree he has so long wanted and he has dropped the story about being a nice guy without any judgement. It had nothing to do with being a nice guy. It had everything to do with adapted programming as a child. We have created an adapted self that we identify as who we are. I adapted to the way my family worked. This included keeping to myself, not revealing what I saw and acting as though everything was fine when in reality it wasn't. The reality is that the adapted way of living is the way we behave, like my friend, it is not who we are as our essential self. Thomas Hanna described three primary reactions to events that have a direct impact on the body. We can extrapolate these responses and apply them to our emotional and thinking self. Since our brain is connected to these aspects of us we are triggered to respond in ways that are habitual and learned a long time ago. The "green Light" response is one that tenses the body and prepares it for action. The back muscles get tight and the posture is upright. At the emotional level we may feel excited and have a smile on our face. We react like we did as a kid at what we perceive will be positive experience. The "Red Light" reaction is one in which the body collapses inward for protection. We may be feeling fear, anxiety or stress. Again, just like when we were five or six years old, the message retrieved from the memory bank will create an impulse from the brain to act in the same way as we did back then. We may feel nausea, a tight stomach or tears rising to the surface. The "Trauma" reaction is the one that has us stop abruptly. Our breath is taken away, the body becomes very tense and we stop in our tracks. This is a reaction which tightens all the muscles. Then we release and feel the stress of the moment. We start to think about what to do next. The brain provides input based on what is in the memory bank. So, the reaction is one of a child because that is what the child knows what to do in the face of trauma.
Howard Parsons is an author, inspirational speaker, practical teacher, and mentor to those going through life transitions. A fresh voice in the arena of reinventing your life from the inside out, Howard is passionate about helping people mobilize their essential self in order to reinvent their lives in ways they may not have previously experienced. Drawing on his personal experience as a seasoned executive working with a global organization as well as his personal experiences with a life-threatening illness, Howard guides his clients in a practical and heart-centered manner to once again find and express their essential self. When not writing, teaching, or walking his dog Toby, Howard can be found in the yoga studio. He mindfully cofacilitates programs and life with Kerry, his life partner of over thirty years.