Stillness & Movement – Enhancers to Brain Neuroplasticity aka ‘Response-Agility’

by | Apr 12, 2015 | Adventures in Awareness

Adventures in Awareness  Issue #6

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.” - Wilhelm von Humboldt, Russian Philosopher (Jun 22 1767-Apr 8 1835)
“Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.” - St. Francis de Sales, Swiss Clergyman (Aug 21 1567-Dec 28 1622)

Having just completed the first of four modules on Brain Neuroscience, Consciousness and Coaching with Ann Betz I have a deeper appreciation of and commitment to the power of meditation and bodily movement as effective tools that enhance brain neuroplasticity. Ann defines neuroplasticity as “the capacity of the brain to change throughout life.” I think of it as increasing my capacity for ‘response-agility’ in the face of any situation I might encounter.

The continuing energies swirling around and through us [see ‘energy soup’ below] are ongoing invitations to more fully let go of former patterns of thinking and believing - to access broader perspectives than ever before - to open new avenues of heart connection and meaningful conversations. All of that requires brain neuroplasticity or ‘response-agility’ in spades!

Since the first of this year, I’ve been including intermittent meditation/stillness periods of five to 15 minutes each throughout my day. I’ve noticed that my creative energy has been flowing more freely, bringing to light several ideas along with the impetus to create them. I’m also allowing myself to take a meditative break whenever I feel stuck, have low energy or I’m uninspired. In order to do this, I must deliberately stop whatever I’m doing and quiet myself for those few moments. The peace I’ve experienced in this re-commitment to my spiritual side is more than a hundredfold, and my level of productivity has been not only off the charts, it’s been stress-free as well.

Over the years many of my clients have struggled with just the idea of ‘meditation’, not to mention how and why to include it as part of their well-being practices. Most often the struggle is due to a limited concept of what ‘meditation’ is, the predominant idea being that of Transcendental Meditation and its lotus position, ramrod straight posture held for long periods of time.

To open to the idea that ‘meditation’ is simply any practice that allows your mind to relax into stillness or to ‘roam free’ imaginatively, allows for a wide variety of practices from sitting listening to a guided visualization to walking in nature to crocheting or journaling or even housecleaning as potential ‘meditations’. Once I embraced this spectrum of possibilities, I have found it much easier to include meditation as part of my daily activities.

I learned another key enhancer to neuroplasticity or ‘response-agility’ is exercise. Now I don’t know about you, but over time ‘exercise’ has become a very heavily loaded word-bomb for me, inciting resistance any time I hear or think it. Ridiculous for a grown woman I know, but hey, I’m human! As I’ve been walking my back-to-fitness path over the last two years and losing 40 pounds so far, I’ve been struggling with getting enough exercise in each day.

Thanks to a coaching session I had this past weekend, my latest strategy is: [1] to remember my newest intention is “I delight in bodily movement’; [2] to set a timer to display that phrase every 90 minutes, at which time, [3] I stop what I’m doing and get up and dance for 3-5 minutes to any snappy song that I love. [4] I reset the timer and repeat throughout the day and evening. So far it’s been easy and a big bonus is that my Fitbit reports reflect my grinning face when I see that I’ve taken more steps every day! Not only that, but I’ve been having a blast doing it.

The energies of New Moon are ideal support for beginning to experiment over the next several weeks with your own forms of meditation and exercise. I hope you’re inspired to give at least one of these two practices a whirl as an experiment to see what you notice about your own levels of ‘response-agility’.


What gets in the way or supports me to meditate and exercise?

I invite you to consider this question and, as you do, notice what new awareness emerges from within you. And please remember to have FUN on that awareness adventure into the question, okay?

Happy exploring!


Since we’re inextricably interconnected to each other, our planet, and our universe, here is some of the ‘energy soup’ we’re all swimming in right now:

April 22 is Earth Day, a global event honoring our connection to Mother Nature and raising consciousness through ceremonies, community service, and educational offerings. On the first Earth Day in 1970, approximately 20 million people in US participated; now over one billion people in 192 countries plus 22,000 organizations are involved each year, making this the largest civil observance in the world.
New Moon - Apr 18th - 11:56 AM PDT –  New moons mark the beginning of a new cycle and, in Aries, an initiation into a new level of consciousness.

Madeline Gerwick, Business Astrologer, Polaris Business Guides –

What’s getting started at this New Moon is what appears to be the loss of a lot of money (Venus opposite Saturn and both square Neptune). This appears to start right before this New Moon, but continues with it. There’s likely to be something unexpected or revolutionary about this situation. Perhaps we’re seeing the start of a new monetary system? Or taxes were worse this year?  This also impacts the stock markets…This set of cycles can indicate deception or confusion related to money and/or relationships, partnerships or deals. It’s not a good time to invest, because you don’t know what you don’t know (high uncertainty). IF this is related to a new monetary system, the prevalent feeling will be fear and confusion. Even without a new system, that will be the dominant situation.

Stephanie Austin, EcoAstology –

One by one, heart by heart, humanity is awakening from the illusion of duality. Each one of us makes the journey in our own way and in our own time. We are all on a new frontier, a continually expanding horizon of creation. Aries is the sign of ‘beginner’s mind’ — open, eager, and willing to be surprised. The fewer preconceptions we have, the more possibilities we see. Like the scene in the film Avatar, where Jake steps into thin air and finds support immediately appearing beneath each footstep, we are creating a new ground of being as we go. In Aries, we have to ‘sky-walk.’ We live in the present moment. We trust our instincts. We let go of shoulds and of needing to know all the answers. Most of all, we realize we are never stuck, that we can always “Choose Once Again”…

The Power Path-

[This New Moon] is fiery, action oriented, a bit restless, and calls us to move into our next step, whatever that is, with power and energy. Make sure not to focus so much on what is leaving your life unless you are doing a real completion process. Focus instead on the new that is manifesting and anchor it in some way. There is a deciduous oak tree that grows in Northern New Mexico that holds on to its dead leaves until spring when the new leaves push the dead ones out with their growth. I always hold on to that image as it illustrates how putting energy into the new growth will automatically and without effort push out the old.

Cosmic*Intelligence*Agency –

The New Moon in Aries is a powerful time for reinventing yourself. Aries brings enthusiasm and a boost of energy to launch you forward…Fire teaches you to live a dynamic, powerful and passionate life from your radiant core. Fire is a tool of transformation. It is the element of light, your life force, your personal power, and the light of illumination of your consciousness. It is your will, your drive, the powerful force within you, Your Divine Spark. Fire allows for rapid transformation. It provides the avenue to let go of the old story and drama, to transform, to renew and to be reborn.


This is truly an eccentric month that will test us at every turn. There will be highs and lows, higher than you have experienced before and lower than you ever thought you would be able to handle. Flexibility will be key to navigating the month as your best-laid plans change and then change again and then change again and then change again…It will be very important to stay out of Martyrdom and to be in acceptance of feeling “in no man’s land” as well as embracing the unknown in a proactive way. This month supports action, and action will be key to staying out of stuck places physically, emotionally and mentally. If you do not have enough to do this month you will definitely be in trouble. This is NOT the month to sit around and wait for something to happen. That is a recipe for disaster.

Natural Time Calendar –

Apr 4-May 1 is the “Planetary Moon [Month] of Manifestation” according to the Mayan Natural Time Calendar - its energies are Perfect-Produce-Manifest: “All that you need to be, to do, and to have, you already are. Only allow your higher mind to manifest through who you are.”

Upcoming Events:

ICF Midwest Conference - Theme: “Getting to the Heart of the Matter” June 18-20, 2015 in Kansas City MO - my educational breakout session is entitled “Mentor Coaching: A Pathway to the Heart & Art of Coaching - Who Knew?!?!”

ICF Competency Brush-Up Program 18.0 ICF CCEs [in core competencies] - I designed and love leading this program - next offering begins August 26, 2015

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