Can living in the moment be devastating?

The amygdalae sometimes called the animal brain.

The amygdalae is the part of the brain that primarily controls our decision-making and emotions.

Our cats, Nina and Siris, cry every time that we leave them. It’s a deep, mournful, gut-retching cry. They clearly hate the feeling of abandonment that they face whenever we are away from them.

When we are all together in the lounge in the evening, they often fall asleep next to us; they are so happy in these moments.

In the night they wake up and notice that we have completely disappeared. They cannot see us, and they begin to cry. 

It is a soul-tortured cry.  They feel that they have been abandoned forever. They do not look in the other rooms for us. They just assume that they have lost us or been left behind.

This is an example of the destructive side of living in the moment. These moments of loss and pain are devastating for them.

Nina and Siris cannot step outside of this momentary experience to try to find us. They cannot understand that we have simply gone to bed, just as we do every night.

They fear that they will die.

No more food.  No more protection. No more love.

I behave in a very similar way when I am afraid that I will be abandoned or discarded, or when I worry that I will not be loved. In these moments I am functioning from my amygdalae.

It also kicks in when I run out of money and big bills come in, or when the car breaks down and I still have to pick up my daughter from school.

The amygdalae is the part of the brain that primarily controls our decision-making and emotions. It’s sometimes called the “animal brain”.

In all of these moments my logic is overridden by the amygdalae. I do not rationalise that I will get over this. I forget that I have always managed to recover, survive, and be okay in the end. I do not realise that I will also be alright this time, or that I will make better decisions in the future as a direct result of having experienced this fear and panic.

In those moments everything changes. I forget that these problems are not permanent.

As soon as I remember, I’m functioning from my neocortex, the part of the brain that controls logic.

This allows me to trust.

Trust is a combination of neocortex function and intuition for me.

My life has always involved one leap of trust after another. I vault onto bright, smooth stepping-stones in a dark ocean of sharks.

I would like to remember that it is as simple as Nina and Siris choosing to look beyond their current viewpoint, walk upstairs and find us. When they are able to do that, they jump up on the bed and are cuddled throughout the night.


by Elissa Freeman

Creative Life Coach

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