SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 139: The Science Guy on “Rewiring The Brain”

Patrick, The Mad Science Guy, we grab a minute to chat just after his park presentation.

My mind is fried as I write this entry. Hey, I’m human, and the experience of life is not always lily-lined. Overall, this human existence is a grand thing. Over the last 139 days we’ve had the pleasure of meeting people in very diverse phases of life, all brining us a unique spin to a variety of new and constant themes.

In doing so, I’m trying my best to be honest in striving to find the good in everyone; and in the process strive to keep myself in the same space: Optimistic, nonjudgmental, patient and approachable. But in the spirit of integrity, I must tell you, that as I write today’s story, I am a bit in the doldrums.

The morning started quite well, but when the slipped disk pain, married to the arguments between my wife and daughter, “Do we have to fight about school all the time?” I admittedly snapped, “You want to go on a bike ride instead of school… fine!”

I loose control, take my daughter’s hand and impatiently escort her to the garage. I indelicately grab the bikes, slamming them onto the driveway, “Put on your helmet, shoes, and we are going for a fast ride to the end of the street and back… Get your stuff on… NOW!”

Off she goes and five minutes later she returns wearing the sweet face of “I won.” My blood boils more. There is no way I am being manipulated, “OK, to the end of the block and back, as fast as we can!”

“Mommy said we could go on a long ride.”

They really need to vote more nine-year olds into politics, and hire them into big business, they are master negotiators.

“That’s what mommy said would happen if you finish all your school work, and at the end of the day. So right now you have two choices, to the end of the block and back with me, RIGHT NOW! or a full ride later today with mom, as she promised, IT’S YOUR CHOICE!”

“OK, I’ll go later with mom.”

“Holy Hades!” That was thirty minutes of valuable time, now I am behind and stressed to the core, let alone off to a very delayed start of my working day.

My eyes and brain are as blurry as a bat’s vision, and now not only do I have to catch up, I’ve got to go through the mind clear and physical heal of the elevated blood pressure. The situation has even estranged me from my wife… oh yeah; she was sucked into the whole mess too.

Readers and psychologists of the world, thank you for allowing me the indulgence of, as defined clinically, a spot of narrative therapy.

That behind us, it’s move on up time.

I’m usually done with my writing by around 8:00am, that way I can keep my business in order.  It’s 11:00am now. We homeschool and as I am writing this entry, across from me is my child, working on her math assignment like nothing ever happened. Like I said, “We need more kids in politics.”

Perhaps this day’s start-up is meant to be, and with this take, let’s reframe my rant to more positive energy, using it as a suitable introduction to a man who has dedicated a great portion of his patience towards educating my daughter, and others.

To avoid confusing you with a wacked timeline, I need to let you know about my 365 workflow. You already know I interview a stranger every day. Here is how I manage my time.

By 12:00am on any given day, I have met a stranger and an interview is complete, I then grab whatever sleep I can, and write the entry every following morning between 5:00am and 9:00am. I’ve found this way I can keep my business in operation.

Patrick shows the kids how magnetism works.

So when you see the portraits of Patrick, The Mad Science Guy… today’s stranger turned friend, do not be confused by his midday portrait.

This is amazing. It’s 11:15am; the whole bike thing is not over; my daughter flairs up again and my wife is an unmovable rock, and rightfully so, I can tell it is going to be a roller coaster day, one of those hang on and enjoy the ride days. Glad I’ve stayed away from the concession stand (I hope you get the amusement park reference).

I’ve been here before, and I’m sure any of you with children have ridden the same thrill ride from time to time.

I’m thinking back to Patrick’s words of council and as I do, they are ringing relevant to my day, he quotes, “Always think back to prayers or wishes that have already been answered. In other words, before wishing and praying for something new, remember to look back and be grateful for answered prayers and wishes.”

My daughter is nine, still developing her communication skills. She is a great kid and very smart. So smart… she is always pushing the limits in exploring the depths of her control, and place, in our family dynamic. And as Patrick councils, I must look back at the prayers and results of my past experience with her.

Bottom line, today is not a unique day in the Radstone household, pretty much I tell myself to deal with it, the results will be OK.

I use my own situation to model a precept, a concept that Patrick so basically formats. It’s soft of similar to the hindsight is 20/20 rule.

11:25am, temper tantrum two has stopped and after a self-inflicted time out, no radical change has occurred in my kid’s life, other than her now being behind in her day. “All for one and one for all!”

She wanders in and out of my office. Look’s like the spirit of cooperation is slowly beginning to take hold. Fingers crossed!

That 20/20 rule I was interrupted from expressing, I’ll apply it in this moment, and I ask us all to think about it. As Patrick stated, “Before wishing and praying for something new, remember to look back and be grateful for answered prayers and wishes.”

My kid will be fine, my wife will chill and I’ll get all my tasks done. It’s a given, proven by the past. The take away for us all: hindsight proves the results of any situation.

We are here reading this entry, blood is flowing through our veins and our brain is ticking. So in looking back, were there really any situations that destroyed us?

I realize that my family story is mild compared to many of the darkest, and even brightest experiences of our individual pasts. Just consider it a thumbnail to a mindset, a mindset that with practice, can change our very outlook on the future and even how we deal with in-the-moment stress.

Patrick bridges this premise to his wishes for the future. “I’d like to see a mending in the tensions of being human.”

“We all start in the same place. We all possess a natural weakness, a fragility to love other people and a tendency to isolate ourselves. And for change to occur, a rewiring of the brain has to happen for that to switch.”

A natural trait to isolate rather than to love?  When Patrick first introduced this concept to me I was alarmed by it. But at this exact moment, as I finish this story, his words are hitting home hard.

The morning has been less than desirable. My family and I claim we are building a house of love. And being hard on myself, I must self-examine in asking this question, “Where are we all, now at 11:41am?”

I’m at my desk, head phones on, My wife, across from me at her desk, diligently working on one of her design assignments, and my daughter, upstairs, doing… ?

I must go.

Patrick’s parting hope for the future, “That we leave the earth in a better condition for our own children than we have it.”

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