McHargue does a great job of connecting that overwhelmingly-complex network that makes up that 3-pound organ that sits in our skull to how we become who we are. We are all miracles and pains at the same time because as our brains develop – and continually change – over time, the tuning and pruning process gets some things very right and some things very wrong.
Our brains’ networks are shaped by our experiences (nurture and nature) and how we perceive we are supposed to respond to those experiences. Our perceptions are sometimes correct and sometimes flawed, but in either case, our brains set up patterns of response based on them that become, if repeated over and over, automatic over time.
McHargue details his journey through getting his mind off of autopilot and consciously working to change the automatic responses in his brain that were unhealthy, not working, or causing trouble (this is a work in progress that each of us does until the final signal stops in our brains after we draw our last breath).
He welcomes us into his painful journey (including his adult diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum, because it’s rare that adults who seem to functioning okay – so what if you absolutely fall apart if a routine is disrupted, every single time? – are diagnosed), and in the process dispenses some of the wisdom he has/is acquiring.
It’s a very good read.