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  • Writer's pictureAnnelisa MacBean

Wired for Love

In the first 18 - 24 months of life our relational experiences are encoded in our neural circuitry. Stored as implicit memory, these foundational elements of experience are inaccessible to ordinary awareness and yet they form the primary templates through which we engage the world for the rest of our lives. In moments of activation, the templates come surging online. Before we realize it, previously segregated and isolated material floods, colors and shapes our perception of the present moment. Our expectations in our relationships – whether we can count on others, are worthy of love, will allow another to matter or whether we can take the risk to expose our vulnerability – all these decisions are organized in a fragile, undeveloped nervous system that yearns for connection. The neural pathways of an infant and toddler are tender and responsive, seeking attuned, right-brain to right-brain resonance with those in their holding environment. As young ones, we want to feel felt, have our experience met and mirrored. We want and need open, protected space in which we can explore unstructured states of being. Even though this early neural patterning is deeply embedded, it can be rewired. While it may feel entrenched, it is not as solid as it appears. Even if one’s early environment failed to provide empathy, led to developmental trauma and insecure attachment, still, it is never too late. The reality is that the combination of our innate neuroplasticity and the courage of the human heart form an unstoppable creative force. Through new relational experiences – with partners, friends, therapists, infants; nature in the form of a mountain, the sun, a star, a flower or guides from our dreams – LOVE lies in the channels of our neural circuitry. It is literally the substance from which the neurons and their synapses are formed. LOVE ignites heart-cells in a moment of connection, creating the light in our smiles and eyes. Each time you attune to another – or to the unmet inner “other” within you – an entire new world becomes possible. As long as breath is present, the narrative can be updated, your perception can be expanded, and the story of your future can be other than your past. New meaning can be made of life and experiences, purpose for being can be re-imagined. Circuitry can be rewired so that neural pathways can hold awareness, channel empathy and attunement, presence, and warmth. No matter what is happening in your life, you can start right now, in this moment. The opportunity for reorganization is always here and wired deep within you. Don’t give up. LOVE will never give up on you.

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