In May 2019, I received an invitation to submit a writing sample to Sibella Publications, the publishing company of Luminous Wisdom: Sophia. This is an online wellness and spirituality publication with articles written by women for women. Sibella Publications boasts an International audience of subscribers numbering 70,000+.
In June 2019, I received notification that I am one of the 25 new writers for the 2019-2020 publications. As I submit each monthly article, I will also post it on this website for you to enjoy. Welcome to Luminous Wisdom: Sophia!
Luminous Wisdom: Sophia
EVOLVING INTO YOUR AGELESS BRAIN
The Incredible Power of Neuroplasticity
By Patricia Faust, MGS
Talking to people who only believe what they can see, taste, touch and feel can be very overwhelming. Because they don’t understand scientific research, they tend to deny the outcomes of this research. They want to believe what they understand even if it is completely false. So how can you get someone to understand that their brain is magnificent, and they can actually change their brain?
The fear of getting Alzheimer’s disease or losing memories ranks higher than the fear of getting cancer. No survivors, no successful treatment protocols and nothing showing promise of success in the near future has everyone panicking. Denial that this might be a possibility in someone’s life remains strong. Denial is a huge barrier to overcome. I usually start my presentations and discussions with a study rooted in science. It has come to my attention that most people don’t really ‘hear’ those outcomes. So I now start with a story – something that everyone can relate to.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of our brain to change and adapt to our environment – good or bad. Neurogenesis is the growth of new brain cells. This is how we start to replace the brain mass that we are losing as we get older. We have the capacity to create a healthy, resilient brain through neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. Our brain does not know how old we are. If our life is toxic, meaning full of chronic stress and bad lifestyle habits, our brain will age faster by losing neurons and neural pathways. We put ourselves at a high risk of developing dementia. But, if we lead a healthy lifestyle in a novel and complex environment we continue to grow new neurons and neural pathways leading to a younger, high functioning brain. We can create an ageless brain!
In order to demonstrate how our brain works, I relate my experience in going back to school. I started my journey through graduate school when I was fifty years old. Now mind you, my classmates were twenty-five years old. They were at their cognitive peak and I was at my first acceleration point of cognitive decline. At this point my brain was working a lot slower – known as speed of processing – than when I was twenty-five. The first two weeks of school left me in a daze. I felt like a ‘deer in headlights’. When the professor was asking a questions my classmates were answering far before I even figured out what the question was. I truly questioned my decision to pursue this degree. This was a novel and complex environment and even though I didn’t understand at the time, my brain was changing at a rapid pace. My brain didn’t know I was in my fifties! I excelled in school. It was one of the most challenging and highly satisfying times of my life. Later I learned that anyone is capable of changing their brain. This is what I do – I challenge others to evolve into their ageless brain.
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
By Patricia Faust
Back in 1999, I took a deep-dive into my education endeavors. It became a now or perhaps never situation. I was already in my late forties when I started this education quest. There was a vision in my head that wouldn’t let go of me. In the 1990’s residents in nursing homes who exhibited difficult behaviors due to end stages of dementia were (I believe) chemically restrained. It was not uncommon to see them receive an antipsychotic drug and be seated in front of a TV. That was so upsetting to me. There had to be a better way to address these behaviors in a compassionate way.
My first stop was to register at the Ohio Academy of Holistic Health to receive a certification in Clinical Aromatherapy. In that same week I registered at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati Ohio to get an undergraduate degree in Gerontology. I picked up a Nursing Home Administrator’s license while I was at it. Miami University in Oxford Ohio offered me the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree in Gerontological Studies. In five years, I changed my life.
What I didn’t realize is that I had changed my brain. It wasn’t until a few years later while at an Aging Conference I saw the beginnings of the brain fitness industry. Of course, I looked into it – and I was hooked. The Boomers were starting to go over the age of 65 threshold and many were caring for aging parents with dementia. Seeing their parents experience Alzheimer’s and other dementias caused fear and denial in this group.
I felt like I had a lifesaving secret – we could change our brains at any point in our lives. My excitement was soon tampered by the disbelief that either – it was too late for them or it was too good to be true. By this time, we were in the mid-2000s. It was difficult to work with people who were riddled with fear. The gift of longevity was overshadowed by the fear of getting Alzheimer’s disease. There was a gap in the reality of the Boomer’s health (having at least two chronic diseases going into their later years) and the perception that they would never grow old.
I stayed true to my message that we could have a high functioning brain throughout our entire lifetime. Science began to support my beliefs. The more drugs that failed in clinical trials the stronger the message became that a healthy brain lifestyle could reverse aging changes and build brain reserve. We could make enough new cells and connections to delay the onslaught of dementia. And then that research confirmed that our brains benefitted more from a healthy lifestyle than a pill.
This long journey has been met with frustration but now with excitement. It fills my soul to see the people I work with, move from fear to empowerment. Our brains are powerful and magnificent. We can change our brains.
Patience, Perseverance and Perspective
Written By: Patricia Faust
Quite a few years ago I received a gift of Rune cards. I was just starting to dabble in some esoteric beliefs. No matter how many times I pulled a card, it turned out to be ‘Patience and Perseverance’. Now there were many ups and downs throughout my life and this time period was no different. I was looking at other career possibilities at that time and I was quite frustrated by what I saw as a ‘hold in place’ bit of advice. That was not what I wanted to hear. I lent the cards out many times and eventually they didn’t come back. But the words ‘patience and perseverance’ have stayed with me.
My Dad died when I was seventeen years old. This event changed my life – forever. There is an old adage that when you are ready the teacher will come. And boy, did my teachers come. As it turned out, my husband and my sons all were bipolar. This proved to be another major shift in my life course. The diagnosis was a relief in some respects because I understood that there was a reason my life was so chaotic. These men in my life were my first teachers of patience and perseverance.
My energy education started to escalate as my experiences were becoming more difficult. At one particular job there was a person who came into my life to teach me about energy. She gave me the book, Living in the Light by Shatki Gawain. This book was transformative for me and catapulted me into a whole new world. My whole thought process was changing as I started looking at my life from a different perspective.
I never made my transitions easily. Universe got my attention, however, in a big way. Within a two week-span in 1997, I had two major automobile accidents. This was hitting the brick wall of life changes. Finally, I listened to my inner self. Within a five year span I became a certified clinical aromatherapist; got my nursing home administrator’s license; as well as, received an undergraduate and graduate degree in gerontological studies. Even after all of this ‘patience and perseverance’ haunted me. In my gut I knew that aromatherapy would provide relief to those with dementia who experienced behavioral problems. It turned out that no one else could see it though. Using my gerontology degrees, I looked at the eldercare issue in the workplace. Again, I was too far ahead of my time.
Then, I discovered neuroscience. Patience and perseverance paid off. We are not a victim of our circumstances. When we change our perspective and open up our thinking to other energetic realms, we can create whatever we want. Besides teaching people brain health and wellness, I show them how to improve function. By learning how our subconscious is within our reach, we can change our lives. We are all a work in progress. But now I am the teacher.