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My Three Friends. Thursday August 28, 2014

"Your Brain is not your friend" is a cartoon by the amazingly talented Hugh MacLeod ( I love his art because it is art on purpose. All art has meaning, but Hugh's directs that meaning to an end – art as a means to an end!

This phrase resonated with me but I also rebelled against it. After all, if I couldn't have my own brain as my best friend, whose could I have? So I set about befriending my brain...

...and that's where I hit a hurdle. You see I have three brains (at least!) They don't want the same things – so I have to cultivate three friendships and spend time with each one!!! I wanted to begin with the one that gets dismissed too often – my emotional brain. I realise now that my emotional brain often misreads other people and their intentions. My rather arrogant logical brain would look down on my emotional brain and declare, "Don't be so stupid!" But my emotional brain just is – neither 'stupid' nor 'wise'... What it feels, feels true.

I call my logical brain 'the fanatic in the attic'. Not all fanatics are bad – after all, that's where we get the word 'Fan' from. All fanatics are a bit short-sighted though! I love my fanatic in the attic as well as my emotional brain and I have to feed them both on different things. My emotional brain needs to be listened to and acknowledged and cuddled and accepted. My logical brain needs stimulation (and seems to require regular doses of telling it, "you are amazingly clever!")

My third brain, and my third friend, is my secret brain. This is my wise brain that lives in the basement, below the threshold of consciousness. For my girly friends, I call this brain 'the babe in the basement' and for my boyish friends, 'the fellah in the cellar'.
This brain needs one thing: space. It needs me to press pause so that I can literally 'pause for thought' and get a word in edge-wise.

If my other two brains need their own kind of attention to become best friends, the wise brain just needs quiet time and space and the respect this shows. I'm not a big meditator, but I 'meditate' happily when my body is busy about ritualised tasks like a regular journey it knows, or in the bathroom, or at the threshold of waking or sleeping. In these places, my wise brain connects with my consciousness. And it brings gifts: insight, imagination and innovation.

Giving my three brains just what they want leads to peace in my household! Ignore or dismiss any one of the three and all hell breaks loose! Each will have its say one way or another!

My brain is my best friend.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 9:34am

Oh my goodness ! This is my head described much better that I have ever been able to put into words. Thank you, for the first time in a very long while I think I may be able to start sorting my head out.
I am studying NLP and this description sits very nicely with the technique of perceptual positions. I am going to be my own homework, and let all of the warring factions in my head have a say.
Lex, I dont think I can thank you enough for my 'lightbulb moment'

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 10:08am

Well, you've made my day!!! With your NLP discoveries, you'll also appreciate the power of being dissociated from the process. I love to mind map out the perceptual positions on a large piece of paper. Then my emotions can really have the space they need to have their say. The interesting one is giving enough space to your inner wise voice!

Anonymous Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 12:15pm

Thank you Lex! Befriending these there brains and keeping them all happy is another method to achieve balance in my life it seems to me. I really like this way of thinking about it.

Acknowledging and accepting feelings, doing stimulating things and having quiet meditation-time. What a lovely recepy for charging of the batteries and for self-fullfilment.

I want to feel my feelings, go with my intuition, move on my own wisdom and authority and have peace and harmony as constants in my life.
Lots of love,

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 4:22pm

Hi Karin
It's powerful (nay even 'fun') to use colours too - for example, de Bono has the Red Hat for emotion - 'passion' I suppose. I use four-colour pens to track thinking styles. A typical four colour pen will give you black, blue, red and green. For me, this is bBack for my Logical Brain (black and white thinking), Blue for my "Blue Sky" dreamer of the higher consciousness mind, Green for my Emotional Brain, and then Red for Action... "OK? So what am I going to do?" It doesn't matter what colours you choose or use, as long as you know what they mean for you. Thanks for commenting today!

Dawn C Ritchie Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 4:43pm

Dissociated from your feelings? I'd love to know how to. I think I will try the mind map to see things without feeling them.
I love the 3 brain analogy. I think I have many more than 3 :O
Thank you Lex :D

Julia Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 4:50pm

I knew this was you Lex from the first sentence. It's good to see you back. Great blog.Funny and clever.

Anonymous Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 5:25pm

This really resonated with me as well... Thank you for your insight and sharing. I truly feel less like a crazy person after reading this!

Anonymous Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 5:58pm

Me too Lex. CGJung would tell us its all us and the process of pulling those all together into one (individualism) is human development in a nutshell. Once they are all together there is no psychic need for psychosis or neurosis.
Well, its a plan. Check out the nearest Jungian. Analytical psychologists. You are so on your way!!

Anonymous Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 6:14pm

Lex, Your brain is not only your best friend; your brain is a very good friend to many other brains. Your brain is more popular than you imagine. Thank you for this post.

heather Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 7:01pm

Don't think I've got even one brain working currently, but very clever Lex and, in agreement with Julia - good to see you back. Love Heather xx PS: what happened to your photo, have I got the wrong Lex ? I liked it better when more people had photos and/or names

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 7:20pm

Hi Heather, yes, good to be back with my friends (including my brain)... I think I've just logged on with a different Google profile. It's me, I promise! xxx

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 7:29pm

:Thanks Joharry... I hope you're familiar with Johari's window with a wonderful name like yours??? It's pretty relevant too - the four windows we can be seen through or look through. Let me know if it's not familiar and I'll elaborate!

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 7:30pm

Oooo, I'd love to do that... Jungians in Dorset??? Searching....

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 7:32pm

The only really crazy people are those that think they are 100% sane... I love my three different brains... and as Dawn suggests, there may be more than three. ... The key is to find harmony between them. I imagine three circles overlapping - maintaining their unique independence outside the overlap, but finding the power of interdependence in the centre. It's a bit Celtic!

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 7:34pm

Do the Pizza Test, Dawn. If you have an argument in your head about what toppings you want, you can usually work out how many brains you've got:
1) Anchovy Brain
2) Pepperoni Brain
3) Olive Brain - likes to be called, "Olive"
4) Jalapeno Brain (fiery temper that one)
5) Spicy Beef Brain
6) Extra Cheese Brain (a bit of a Comedian, that one...)

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 7:35pm

...Oh, and 7) Fish-Finger Brain... but you usually have to add that topping yourself!

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 7:36pm

Yo... I'm spinning around... oh no, wait, that Kylie... xx

Lex McKee Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 7:37pm

Found one!!!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 10:18pm

Hi Lex. Just adore this post! It makes sense of why I seem to have at least three people living in my head all at the same time: even when I'm not on the bipolar rollercoaster! It makes so much sense to treat them all differently - and I like the idea of different coloured pens. When it comes to pizza however I always think you can't go wrong with the simple phrase "everything, please! Oh, and extra olives too!" Admittedly it gets you a few funny looks, but what's wrong with anchovy, hot pepperoni, spinach and pineapple anyway?

Lex McKee Fri, Aug 29th 2014 @ 6:36am

Works for me... and the family of friends in my head!!! Mary - the PeaceMaker

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