When we are small, we have few filters that help us to interpret what is happening in our lives in a healthy, secure way. When mom comes home and finds dad actually has the fishing rod that he promised he wouldn’t buy because it wasn’t in the budget, she yells loudly at him and he yells back. The child only hears the “Gods” in her life making loud, scary noises, and sounds that create fear of death and destruction. Eventually, he tells her that someone gave him the exact rod he had wanted because they weren’t going to use it. Between them, equilibrium is restored, but to the child, a rut is created that might be found to cause thoughts such as: “I am not safe," "Mom and dad are dangerous," "Life is not safe," "Fishing rods are not safe," or "Marriages include lots of yelling before resolution.” These thoughts are often called nuero-pathways. The child’s brain is like a flat sandy field. Without logical filters, eventually, as in nature, when it begins to rain, a pathway is created and a rut or grove emerges. From then on, the water or in our case, the thoughts or images of our experiences, often find those early formed pathways.
In coaching, I listen for those ruts and help my clients to understand what triggers them. Because the brain has been found to be “neuroplastic,” it can adapt more easily than we previously thought. New ruts – ruts that give you new solutions, new thoughts and eventually newer healthier pathways that allow you to have a calm conversation with your spouse over fishing rods.