When I think of my body and brain functioning together in the miraculous way it does, I have been known to compare it to a carbon based operating system and hard drive that runs the machine that is my body. The way mind and body works together is very much like the way a computer functions, software, hardware, the ‘Blue Screen of Death’ when pushed beyond its capabilities.
In Michelle Morand’s book, Food is Not the problem; Chapter 4 introduces the Matrix, which is a chart developed by former professors of Michelle’s, Elisabeth Bennett and Paul Hastings, designed to help ground our carbon based hard drives, to provide that rebooting to default mode, by outlining where we find ourselves in this moment.
This is where my latest evolution goes through its paces. Chapter 4 identifies where my thinking goes back to default when faced with challenges, from within or externally. It brought back that old familiar mental image of the brain as my organic hard drive rebooting and going through this process of assessment and taking action.
The lesson that I take away from reading about where I am on the Matrix is priceless, how to recognize and acknowledge where I find myself, plus how to modify behaviours to re-balance from old patterns that knock me off my axis. It is a natural that the Matrix follows the chapter on Fragmentation. In that chapter, I was introduced to my psyche in components that are metaphors for the different things that motivate me. The Drill Sergeant, the Nurturing Parent, the Authentic Self were introduced as factors that we can consciously resort to when we are feeling out of synch. When self criticism gets out of hand, I found it really helps to have a way to restructure my response. With practice, it is helping me to follow thoughts that reflect the Nurturing Parent when I’ve let myself have it with a bout of criticism.
I also found out it helps that I have a nurturing internal parent with a sense of humour who knows how to find the light and the comedy in the situation so that more often than not, I wind up laughing at myself. Which brings me to the wise words of an old friend who always tells me to ‘take the gift and go’ when faced with hurdles.
The Matrix is another tool that Michelle shares from her wealth of experience. Using such a model to place myself in the moment is an exercise that gets stronger the more I put it to work. The diagram of the model is on Page 58 and I invite you to refer to it with me. I am interested in being a witness to how much my thinking is changing as I develop the CEDRIC principles in my life and by making these frequent check-ins with my Matrix, over time, I will see where I am heading in my process.
I would also be interested in your thoughts around where you find yourself on the Matrix. I find that it is always heartening to share our experiences and build courage in one another with affectionate reinforcement that contributes to our individual grounding processes. Role modeling in our culture has always been so much a message of confusing ethics, it is a relief when one finds role models that are in balance, healthy and coming from a place of love. Click here to share your thoughts and insights.
For instance, I’ll look at the Matrix diagram now and share with you how I fit on it. Today, my thoughts, feelings and behaviors relating to the past are around the ridiculous student loan that I acquired over the past five years as I attained my BA degree. The thoughts of a huge loan over my head can be pretty oppressive, which leads me to feel kind of hopeless and the behaviour that evolves from this is usually a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can translate that as hunger pangs, or cravings, or in this evolving mindset, see through the distortion of my personal self assessments, and instead of dwelling on negativity that could very well be enough to drive a person to go running for their next fix, give myself a kind moment to step back, reassess, adjust my view and move on. Thankfully, I’m beginning to see the benefit of developing skills that get me around that tendency to let things that are out of our control ruin my whole day, or any part of it. I just have stopped giving it that power.
I can finally identify that my descent into negative thinking is either out of self protection (as in wash my hands and stay away from people who recently returned from Mexican vacations) or else, it must be just another desperate attempt of my subconscious to get my attention because I am out of sync. As Michelle says, some unmet need, because I haven’t learned how to make that part of me that brings in negativity all the time (the sky is falling!) feel safe enough to feel entitled to proper treatment. This brings me back to my hurt inner child, reacting with outmoded patterns of fear of scarcity instead of using the intentional methods my mature psyche is capable of.
My thoughts, feelings and behaviours around the present are not overly stressful as I am one of the lucky ones with a lot of blessings to count. That contributes to my feeling optimistic, which helps me feel less out of control of my life in spite of the debt load imposed upon students. The behaviour that this creates in me is self nurturance. A cup of tea, a treat in the form of a half hour set aside to garden, a short walk to a local park and back, these are the ways that I take care of my self.
When I think about the future, I’m excited that I have a passle of daughters who will eventually bring me their mates and I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one, grandbabies. My thoughts are about keeping my brood happy, by being the bouyant family matriarch, and my feelings are that I will be in the right place for upcoming developments. Overall, the only thing I can do is make peace with the past, life is too short for regrets and we can’t live in fear. I must admit that there isn’t a lot I can do to change the way things turned out. By making amends where I let my responsibility falter back then, I can get beyond the things that would try to haunt me here in the present and as a result, this leaves me open for much more positivity entering my life, in the future.
I no longer use food to cope or reward. I find that there are many things I can use to recoup, reground, recharge my spent psyche. Rebooting my organic harddrive by always following an insecure patch of thinking with something that restores my self confidence is a wonderful way of rattling my Matrix and bringing my head around to where it is in the moment, clearly focused on creating a positive future and surrendering the past that no longer serves me.
The ‘peaceful place’ that Michelle speaks of is accessible to me more easily all the time. Its a good thing that I’ve acquired this skill as now I must attend to student loan paperwork and filing late taxes. THEN I’ll be ready to live in the present for a while.
Michelle’s Matrix Mantra
“You are currently engaged in a process of learning and self discovery which will provide you with all the tools ansd support you need to identify what your needs are and how to meet them in a safe, respectful and dignified way. It’s not imperative that you know how to do this now or tomorrow, just trust that you will learn, and you will come to a place of being able to identify what you need as each need arises and how to attend to it in a life-enhancing way. And trust me, you don’t have as many unmet needs as you think you do!” – M. Morand
Tina Budeweit-Weeks is a member of the CEDRIC Success Team in the role of staff writer and executive assistant for Michelle Morand. Her philosophy has always been one of self-nurturance and dignity. In support of the complex difficulties clients may experience around regaining a healthy balance, Tina’s writing is designed to sympathize, support, encourage and inform. Although there are many similarities in Tina’s process, she is not a client, but a hard working, behind-the-scenes member of the team, dedicated to helping the CEDRIC Centre stay current and effective.