REWIRE YOUR BRAIN FOR LOVE: Creating Vibrant Relationships Using the Science of Mindfulness
©2012 Marsha Lucas, PhD
If you’ve ever wondered how to get your brain on your side once and for all when it comes to relationships, this could be the fix-it manual you’ve been waiting for. The paperback edition is now out, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Disclaimer: I’m a neuroscience geek. Which means that when Dr. Lucas says, “I get excited by neuroscience,” I’m already cheering. And when she points out in the introduction that we “can rebuild [our neural wiring],” I’m on my feet, shouting Yessssssss! I love tinkering with that complicated circuit board upstairs.
And it’s hard not to cheer for her intention for this book: “I provide insight into the brain in service of creating a greater capacity for healthy, vibrant relationships.”
Sign me up: I want that greater capacity, and the confidence that I can make healthy, vibrant relationships last. Who wouldn’t want that? We grow and change our brains every moment of every day, and the idea of doing it for love captivates me.
Rewire Your Brain for Love is about three things: love, fear, and mindfulness. Lucas integrates these three threads by presenting the material as a do-it-yourself guide to rewiring our own brains.
If you’ve been living your life on a 110 volt system and you’re trying to plug into a 220 volt love affair, you’re going to pop some circuit breakers along the way, casting the relationship into darkness. Lucas offers us an opportunity to apprentice with a master electrician (and skilled psychotherapist) as she shows us, step by step, how to undertake our own wiring upgrade and permanently change outdated relationship patterns that sabotage our heart’s desire. This framework is a stroke of imaginative genius, given what we know today about our brains.
I love her straightforward explanation of the brain’s wiring, and the ways brain science can shed light on how we navigate relationships. I also like that she clearly identifies the culprit in most tangled up relationship wiring: Fear. “When you get right down to it, that’s what we’re all dealing with, in one way or another. Fear. Fear of fear, fear of conflict, fear of being alone, fear of getting too close, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of dying, fear of really living….” I don’t know about you, but I can relate.
The essential tool for rewiring our brains is the practice of mindfulness, and Lucas explains in comprehensible detail just how it works. She offers several meditations, beginning with basic instructions. I have three favorites: 1) Circuit Breaker Meditation, a sure-fire way to lower the voltage meter on fear, stress and jangled nerves, 2) Catch A Wave Meditation, inviting us to surf our emotions without getting hijacked by them, and 3) Abiding Changes Meditation, designed to ground us as we “experience the shifts of challenge and change.”
Lucas makes a compelling case in lively prose, leavened by humor, and illuminated by brief case studies. Her approach appears to be working. I feel like I’ve developed an intimate and satisfying relationship with this book and its author. Even though I’ve never met Marsha Lucas, I can’t help feeling connected and cared for as I keep company with her through her book.