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Integrating Your Life Story

Left and Right Brain - The Weavers of Our Life Story

          One of the “jobs” of our upstairs brain is to help us make sense of our lives.  The left and right hemispheres each do this in a different way, both essential to creating our life story.  The right brain, with its greater connection to our body and emotions, concerns itself with remembering  the feeling tone and sensory aspects of our experience – our moods, and the various sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and touches associated with different times in our life.   The left brain, which is more detached from our body and emotions, is more concerned with facts and the sequence of events.  It uses words to weave together the stories of our life.    

Remembering Yesterday

The left hemisphere remembers the facts and the sequence of the day's events. 

The right hemisphere remembers images, feelings, and sensations - the sound of the waves, the feel of the sand underfoot, the happy feelings...

           We have stories about who we are, how we relate to other people, where we came from, and what we want our lives to be.   Based on these stories, our brain generates a set of beliefs, assumptions, and expectations, that help us to evaluate and make sense of what happens to us.          

          However, when our brains are not well-integrated, our stories may not be totally coherent.  They may be incomplete – that is, missing some important pieces.  We might have included information in them that’s inaccurate. Or, they may incorporate self-images, expectations and beliefs that are in conflict with each other.   And these conflicting, inaccurate or incomplete stories can make it difficult for us to get a coherent sense of who we are or what we’re about.  

   When the MPFC is not func-   tioning well, the brain is not well-integrated.  Our stories will be incomplete and inaccurate.

   They may contain beliefs, expectations, or self-images that conflict with each other, making it hard to make sense of our lives.

        As our brain becomes more integrated – which happens as we develop our MPFC – we’re able to view the elements of our inner and outer experience from an inner core of calm and contentment, seeing them in perspective and putting them in their right relationship to each other.  As a result, our stories become more accurate and more consistent with each other.  We have less need to leave out significant parts of our story in order to feel safe and secure, to feel better about ourselves, or look better to others.   And as our stories become more coherent, our life makes more sense to us.  We’re able to develop a clearer sense of direction and purpose.

   When the MPFC is functioning as captain of the ship, it helps to integrate the brain, making our stories more accurate and complete.  Our beliefs, expectations, and self-images are more in harmony with each other, and our lives make more sense to us.