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Brain Power

big brain

I was scanning through educational articles this evening (because I’m a complete nerd) and found these interesting brain facts. Use them as you wish. But remember, with great knowledge comes great responsibility.

  • Billions of bits of information pass through your brain every second of your life.
  • Messages in your brain travel through trillions of neural connections at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour.
  • Your brain generates 25 watts of power while you’re awake–enough to power a light bulb.
  • Your brain uses 20% of your body’s energy, but makes up only 2% of your body’s weight.
  • The brain of a 6-month old is already 1/2 its adult weight.
  • The brain of a 5 year old is already 9/10 its adult weight.
  • Human brains are getting bigger–on average about 1/2 a pound heavier than they were just 100 years ago.

Lost Your Childlike Brain? Find It Again Here.

Wondra Jedi art

Often lately I’ve been reflecting upon my childhood.

Not so much in the psychoanalytical sense of searching for traumatic events or emotional scars or anything like that. But because, as I remember it, I used to have a lot more fun.

Today, as an adult, I worry too damn much. And I think too damn much. And I brood and I plan and I figure and I stew and tense and clam up. I clench my jaw and quint my eyes and forget to breath for days at a time.

And it’s starting to suck

me

dry.

Now all this might actually be fine and dandy, except I know I wasn’t always like this.

There was a time, I am certain, when I was filled with fearless wonder and excitement, and the world crackled with electric potential.

I’m certain because there’s this long lost tape my aunt found a couple of years ago. I’m not sure how old I was–maybe seven or eight. I don’t remember any of it, but one evening somebody had a tape recorder, and I had a story to tell, and a song to sing, and I just went on

and on

and on.

I was so excited about . . .nothing. It was nothing. Somebody got stuck in the snow and a dog got lost in the dark. A hunt ensued. Flashlights were involved. I was happy to sing songs from the spring music program–with GUSTO.

I wasn’t doing it for the tape recorder. I don’t think I was hamming it up. It didn’t sound like I even knew I was being recorded. It was just . . .

me

. . . being me.

People hearing it today, who didn’t know me then, don’t believe it. I don’t blame them. I don’t believe it. Adults who do remember me as a child are shocked to confront the change that crept in so imperceptibly over the years–and have to ask, almost in hushed tones,

“Where did that kid go?”

Quite frankly, I have no idea. It is, as my 9-year-old daughter would say, “Totally Freaky!”

But I do know one thing.

I want to find him again.

I could use a little of that kid’s fearless passion and boundless excitement. I could use some of that fun.

So anyway, like I said, I’ve been thinking about my childhood lately and badaboom–I run across this great hypnosis podcast by Michael White (hypnotist extraordinaire) at Know More Trances about finding your childlike brain again.

Master Jedi WondraPerfect.

Now, by no means am I qualified to review hypnotic techniques or imagery. So I can’t really vouch for its effectiveness (I don’t think it hypnotized me), but it was a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. So if you’ve got eight and a half minutes, dim the lights, close your eyes and listen in. If nothing else, it should produce a grin, if not a chuckle.

Oh, the Jedi artwork? Somehow, a couple of years ago a rumor got started with the students that I am secretly a Jedi Master.

I do absolutely nothing to discourage that rumor.

And this being a post about mystical multiple personality energy forces and Jedi mind tricks, I thought, what the heck–where else am I going to post them?

The Salvation Army’s Secret Weapon.

salvation-army-girls.jpg

Normally, when confronting salvation army bell ringers, I try to look very busy and avoid eye contact. They make me feel guilty. If I can go out of my way to avoid them by sneaking in a side or back entrance I will.

I’m a jerk, make no excuses for it, and have no defense. I’m a selfish, crabby, cynical, skeptical kind of a person.

So I wouldn’t be caught dead standing around, freezing my butt off, ringing a bell outside the doors of a busy shopping center–under normal circumstances. I mean, what if someone I knew saw me? I have a reputation to think about.

So what does Lisa do? During one of my Masters weekends, while the clipboard is going around at church, she signs us all up to man a shift of bell ringing outside of Walmart.

I hem. I haw. But eventually I come around. After all, it’ll be a great character builder for the kids, and a good family memory. Plus it’s not like I have much of a choice.

But then Lisa comes down with pneumonia which leaves me holding the bag (or the bell) on a blustery single-digit December Sunday morning.

Sheesh.

So I muster all of my courage, bundle up the kids and decide to make the best of it. It’s only for an hour, and we can always duck inside the store to warm up if we need to.

The ringers just before us got cold during the last half of their shift, so they bought hand-warmers and stuffed them in their gloves to help keep warm. Having no use for them, they gave them to us–which was very cool . . .I mean warm . . .I mean nice.

Next, we strapped on the aprons and started ringing–and saying thank you . . .a lot. The money poured in. I was shocked at how many people dropped spare change, and bills into that red pot. I actually saw a crumpled twenty spot stuffed into the slot–with a smile! Little children pleaded for coins then struggled with their mittens to drop them in the slot. You could see people digging out their wallets and into their purses while they walked toward us in the parking lot.

Not only that, but people actually started thanking us (you know, for standing out in the cold ringing the bell).

What did I learn from all this?

  1. Most Salvation Army Bell Ringers probably aren’t all that different than myself.
  2. Probably most of them couldn’t care less if you don’t drop anything into their pot.
  3. Either a lot of people have really good hearts, or
  4. Bell ringers under the age of ten can really bring it in.