Tuesday, July 23, 2013

You Broke Me A Little Bit

We repeat patterns. We get those old neural pathways ingrained in our grey matter and the synapses just keep firing over and over again, sending us down the same roads, inflicting us with the same feelings and habits until they're all we know.

That's why change frightens us. It resets those neural pathways, creates more of them, restructures how we think and feel. Change can often be a good thing, but Fear that change won't be good, well, that's why we hold on to the bad things, repeat bad habits. Plus treading those old neural pathways feels good, is pleasurable, even. The familiar just feels 'right'.

Even when it's not.

Sometimes we're no different from those poor carriage horses who have blinders on––they just move forward without thought or context, someone/something else guiding their path. That's what happens to us when we get set in our ways and take the easy road that feels familiar––when we should take the hard road, the one that will make us grow.

Robert Frost had it right in The Road Not Taken.

Today I had one of those neural pathway moments. It was not good. My expectations were such that I went right to that bad place in my mind––a place created by years of one, particular kind of experience. When I realized where I had gone, and how my brain had craved the bad, suspicious feelings...it made me cry.

I don't want to be the person who has those thoughts anymore––and besides, no one deserves to wear a yoke placed in your hands by the actions of someone else.


  1. Dear Amber,
    Just the fact that you realized, by yourself, that you headed there, is proof enough that you grew.
    Just the fact that you reacted, is proof enough that you learned something.
    Just the fact that you are telling us, is proof enough that you are a better person than you were yesterday.

    We put in place systems so that we avoid to fall into the same traps that we used too, just like the immune systems, something on your end reacted and started a whole new proces to get you out of the bad place as quickly as possible.


  2. It really is quite something, when you realise that this different way of thinking is part of you. It shows maturity. One of the things i've admired about Amber Benson is that, grown-up demeanour and determination and application. I really enjoyed reading this post, no doubt it will give heart and guidance.

  3. This is where I am right now. Thank you for sharing and making me feel a little less alone.

  4. I really relate to this. I'm in the midst of conscious change now. It is challenging. I feel alone in it, though I know that I'm not. I'm not an island. My change will affect others. The key for me right now is letting go of the expectation that a few closest to me change themselves and their (to me) static thoughts and behavior. I am telling myself their ways are their business. All I can do us change myself and support myself as much as I can while doing so. I'm determined. Thank you Amber for sharing your thoughts and feelings. It was right on time for me.

  5. Amber,
    I wrote this in Feb. of 2012 and you reminded me of it. I hope it helps you a little bit.

    Through the branches and brambles in my path, I see the bright sun. I see where I'm supposed to go. I must remember that to take the path less traveled, means that I will have to fight my way through. For the most part, the road not taken is the one that has brought me the most. The most love, the most joy, the most pain, and the most strength. Truly it has made all the difference. Some days, I remember the first path. It's ease, pounded by the feet of the masses, looks so inviting. Let's be honest though, I wouldn't be happy on that path. I thrive on the challenge and sometimes, on the very pain that has come so close to defeating me. It's moments like these when I have to remember that I chose this path. Although I may, in ages and ages hence, tell my story with a sigh; it will also be told with victory.

    I know that your story will also be told with victory!!!

  6. Thanks for post Amber.. it really did move me and I felt your sadness. I am on a journey of consciousness myself and know how exciting ,yet profoundly sad it can be to realise when you are stuck in a way. good news is.. now that you noticed it it will be easier to change it :-).

  7. I know the feeling. I keep replaying "what i shpould ahve said" arguments with my parents form 4th Grade. My theory as to why I cna't plot a story or finish it is thta the plotting and stick-to-it spaces of my mind are atrophied from crowding by over-filled hate space. Which spills into my discoruse.
    No wonder you and your former co-workers have stopped responding to me on Facebook and Twitter. waht i've said....

  8. I actually interpreted the "Road Not Taken" differently. I think that, actually, Robert Frost is saying that when he came to that diverging road in the woods, the two roads were exactly the same to him and that he just chose one at random. Frost writes, "long I stood/ And looked down one as far as I could/ To where it bent in the undergrowth/Then took the other, as just as fair." Then, as he retells his story, he says, "I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference," which is most commonly interpreted to mean that people should not conform to convention and should forge their own paths, be original, etc. However, when I read it I got the sense that he was really just being pretentious, but actually meaning that people want to believe that the choices they make in life matter and make "all the difference," but, really, we just make choices and what happens, happens. I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong, but my friend and I were discussing it the other day and then it was mentioned again in a show I was watching and I thought I might bring it up.

  9. I would also like to add, regarding this post, I definitely agree with you on being uncomfortable with change. I recently, within this year, made a change in my career choice. Well, I'm only 18, but regardless, since elementary school I have wanted to become a doctor and more specifically, a surgeon. I have always loved the visual arts as well, but had never considered it as a career. My senior year of high school, I decided that I no longer felt the deep passion for biology and medicine as formerly had for my entire teenage life. I had a bit of an epiphany and realized that I was much more passionate about the fine arts, so I made the decision to enroll at an art institute and I will be beginning this fall. I am nervous and terrified and I have no clue what will happen, but I feel like I have to at least try.

  10. Hello Amber...

    Yes, we do repeat patterns and oft times end up broken a bit as experience is a harsh teacher but the lessons are rarely forgotten. The brain, in the folds and curves, rich with treasured memories, doesn't easily break patterns but this is different from the mind. The familiar neural pathways are so very like blinkered carriage horses; this is the limitation of the brain, its physicality. The mind craves stimulation and that usually ends up in a fair amount of change; forcing the gray matter to catch up and forge new paths because the mind is not physical, it's a subjective abstraction. How the two war, don't they?

    But your realization, as many before me have posted, is the first steps along a new journey; a new adventure. I could really feel the pain in your words; which is why I wanted to share something that has helped me with some very painful things, if I may.

    Think about the patterns, and ask yourself do I need to hold onto this? If yes, for how long? If no, can I let it go? When you release it, it releases you and you can begin anew. Sounds simple, I know, but humans have a habit of making things harder than they need to be. It's not time that heals wounds but surrendering the pain so healing can really take hold.

    I hope sincerely this in some way helps. I know Capricorns have a hard time with changes, but it will get better. You have new horizons and vistas ahead and I believe in you, that you will make it through. ;)

    May the road rise to greet your feet; Walk In Beauty, Peace & Blessings,


  11. This was thought provoking, deep and simply lovely.

  12. Very beautiful, and very true. We will never move forward unless we are willing to accept change.

  13. I've always loved The Road Not Taken. I don't know if you've heard of Silvio Rodriguez. He's a cuban musician. One of his songs reminds me of Frost's poem. Here it is, my gift to you, a humble, home-made translation:

    Story of the Chairs

    Over the road there is a chair
    the raptor roams the place.
    The coat of my friend lies in there
    but my friend does not sit to rest.
    His worn shoes are mirrors
    that burn his throat with the sunlight
    and an old man passes through his tiredness
    drying his sweat with his shadow.

    At the peack of love my friend travels
    at the sharpest peack must-see.
    That peack digs both on the ground
    and ruins, or after a trail of woman.
    That is why he is soldier and lover
    that is why he is wood and metal
    that is why he plants boths roses
    and flags and arsenal reasons.

    He who has a song will have storm
    he who keeps company will have solitude.
    He who follows the right path will have chairs
    Dangerous chairs will invite him to stop.
    But the song is worth good storm
    and company is worth solitude
    The agony of haste is always worth
    although the truth fills with chairs.

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  22. I totally know what it means treading old pathways, when you have social phobia, avoidance is the number one thing keeping up your illness. I know I have to face my fears to grow as a person, but it just seems too hard... So life puts me infront of these challenges and says: you either do it or give up entirelly and I have no other chance than going the hard path cause without growing there's no living. And I hate it.

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