Homeostasis: the tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus that would tend to disturb its normal condition or function.
Our bodies like to be stable. It's imperative, if fact, in order to stay alive. It's imperative to all living things on this planet. Give a plant too much or too little water, it dies. It needs balance. The same goes for creatures of the sea, animals of the arctic, and microscopic single celled organisms. Everything operates within a specified range, and disruption in that balance is threatening.
When it comes to our bodies, I would liken it to an orchestra. All the systems, organs, and cells in our body work in tandem, like an orchestra would, creating exquisite music. And the orchestra of our body doesn't necessarily like to learn to play new music. It may be playing a piece of music that's not optimal, but it has followed the sheet music you've provided (i.e. diet), learned it backwards and forwards, and can play it without error. Your gut likes this. Your brain likes this. Your brain wants things to go smoothly. It is the model of efficiency, no matter what.
But say you decide you want your body to play different music. Say you've lived off a diet of processed food and sugary or diet sodas. Say you don't exercise much. Say you take ibuprofen every day for your aches and pains. But now you want to change this, and give the orchestra new sheet music to play.
Even though your higher thinking brain, your human brain, knows this will result in better health, your animal brain that runs off efficiency, and acts as the conductor to the rest of your body, thinks it's just fine to keep playing the old music. I mean, you're alive, right? That's what matters. Your body has found homeostasis with what you have given it, even though what you have given it might eventually lead to a break down, and the orchestra will fall apart.
This can be what it is like when trying to change your life through diet and exercise. Your efficient brain might acquiesce for a while, but sooner or later it will step back up to the rostrum (I just learned that's the name of the small platform conductors stand on), tap the baton, and try to start playing the old music again. You've likely experienced this before, when you have a set back and find yourself suddenly reverting into old habits.
So how do you keep your higher brain in charge? By making it the conductor through awareness. For any type of change you're making in your life, in order for the change to stick, awareness must be your conductor. Now this doesn't mean that good old reliable efficient brain won't try and wrestle awareness off the podium, and you'll feel this uncomfortable struggle in your mind, but awareness is the stronger of the two, as long as you're willing to allow it to take the lead.
Be aware, your animal brain will try and distract you out of awareness by making excuses to go back to the old music. Perhaps you've experience these thoughts before:
- I've worked so hard, I deserve this.
- I'll start again tomorrow.
- I'm bored.
- I'm confused.
- I don't know how to be healthy.
- I can't control this.
- Well, I already screwed up once today.
- This is too hard.
Can you hear efficient brain lightly tapping the baton against the podium with each of those thoughts? Can you see efficient brain stepping up, raising the baton, getting ready to conduct the orchestra to play the old, familiar music? Now imagine awareness stepping up behind, gently tapping efficient brain on the shoulder, and gesturing for it to step down.
And then awareness steps up, raises its baton, begins the musical movement, and it's the most beautiful symphony you've ever heard. And all the while, efficient brain is observing and learning, so it too can conduct this piece of music eventually.
The music is the incredible life that resides inside of you, the miniature universe that exists within the boundaries of your skin. And you are the conductor my friend. So make the music you want to make, always.
Can you hear it? Would you like to be coached to create the most beautiful symphony of your life? If so, reach out to me at email@example.com.