The Magic Plaster

19 Aug 2018

I had precious moments with three of my five grandchildren, yesterday. Each one being a 'work in progress', they are learning about balance and awareness... and, in the process, getting a fair few bumps and blisters.

This reminded me of when their Dad and his two brothers were little. They, too, went through the bumps and blisters, cuts and bruises. One of the most effective ways to help them through those moments of pain was to apply not just any old plaster, but a 'magic plaster'!

Magic plasters have far more power than ordinary plasters. They can take away the pain far more rapidly, and bring speedy comfort and healing.

I wanted to let you into a little secret: the magic was in their minds, and it's called neuro-plasticity. Let's imagine there is something called a 'neuro-plaster' – a comfort and cure which, when applied, works like magic.

Neuro-plasticity is the power of the brain to heal itself – or to self-harm. It is morally neutral, merely amplifying and making more permanent those patterns of thought, belief, and action that we rehearse.

I know I speak for many of us when I assert that we are masters and mistresses of rehearsing the worst-case scenario. That's the most effective way to stay depressed! Like an obedient servant, and brain makes it easier and easier to think that way when we give it attention.

So how can we have a 'magic plaster' instead – one that makes us feel better and takes away the pain? The Magic Plaster is the present – focusing on sensory information in the here and now. Our pain is often associated with reliving the past, or rehearsing a fear-filled future. Giving these thoughts – our cuts and bruises – attention just makes them stronger. Trying not to think about them makes them stronger too – so the Magic Plaster is applied by thinking about something else - something right here, right now.

When the children could see and feel the magic plaster, and hear the soothing magic words that went with the application of it, they were momentarily distracted from the very real pain. Their minds, just like ours, could not hold those two points of attention. It is one or the other. It's a choice.

So what will your Magic Plaster be? What will bring your attention pleasantly back to the present so that you can get through the next few moments? Is it a magic cup of tea? Is it the attention of a pet? Is it the flowers or the birds in the garden? Feel free to share your Magic Plaster so we might apply one just like it.


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