How Does Your ‘Brain Garden’ Grow?

by Endorsed Coach, Meryl Feldman

I know – strange title, right? What’s a ‘Brain Garden’ anyway?

Well, in an article called ‘Your Brain has a Delete Button‘ authors Judah Pollack and Fox Cabane use the metaphor of a garden to explain how the brain works. They invite the reader to imagine that our brain is like a garden, except instead of growing flowers and veggies, we grow synaptic connections between neurons. These connections allow for neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and others to travel across.

Turns out that just like we have some control over what happens in our backyard garden, we also have some control over what happens in our ‘brain gardens’. We can choose what we ‘grow’ in our brain, as well as what we ‘prune’.

Each time we think a thought or review an image/memory, we strengthen the neuro – circuit of it. This is referred to as ‘neurons that fire together, wire together.’  The more we practice certain things – like a musical instrument, a language and even new concepts, the stronger these circuits get. This is the process of choosing what we ‘grow’.

Our brain also has a ‘pruning’ mechanism.  It marks the synaptic connections that get used less with special proteins and these get ‘pruned’ – destroyed – from the brain. This pruning allows the brain to make space to create new and stronger connections in order for you to learn more. So, things that we choose to think LESS about, get ‘pruned’.

When I read this I said to myself  “Wow! I better get a grip on my ‘brain garden’!” I can be quite lazy with my thinking and now I realized how harmful that can be.  My brain may be pruning some really good stuff because I’m not using it and may be strengthening negative thoughts, memories and beliefs that have become habitual.

So, in order to get a better grip on my ‘brain garden’, I decided that I would do my best to be more conscious of what I’m thinking.

But how could I control my thinking? Thoughts are like clouds that are constantly drifting in and out of my brain all the time. As a woman, I don’t have a ‘nothing box’ (ha-ha).

Yet, I did notice that I do have the ability to choose which thought clouds to follow.  Each one has a particular destination. Some thought clouds have negative pathways and create feelings of anxiety, sadness, annoyance, shame etc. Others are uplifting and kind and lead to feelings of hope, joy and peace.  Which way did I want to go?

Now, this is not to suggest that I advocate ignoring feelings. Nope – that’s a big ‘no, no.’ When feeling emotionally triggered by a person or situation, those feelings need to be acknowledged.  If you find yourself in the midst of a tornado of thoughts, this is called ruminating.  Ruminating happens when you’re overthinking a situation rather than dropping into body awareness and experiencing the physical sensation of the emotion.

(Please read “Let it Flow” for a simple technique to do this).

The thought clouds that I’m referring to here are the ones that drift in and out of our minds when we’re by ourselves – walking, cooking, cleaning etc.  In choosing which thought clouds to ‘jump on’, I’m basically choosing what gets ‘grown’ and ‘pruned’ in my brain.

Here’s five tools that I found to keep my ‘brain garden’ as happy and healthy as it can be. I invite you to try some of these:

1)  Have kind people in your life:

Interacting with kind people means more feel-good ‘brain food’ – pleasant memories, gratitude, laughter, intimacy and joy.

2)  Anchor Gratitude:

Place your hand on your heart, take a conscious breath and think of things/people that you feel grateful for. For example, a butterfly just flitted around my garden. I put my hand on my heart, took a conscious breath and thanked G-d for giving me the vision to witness this beauty with my eyes. I find that by combining a physical action with the gratitude thought, I’m anchoring that moment of joy deeper into my being.

 3) Discipline:

When you find that you’ve jumped on a thought cloud that is negative, jump off. Tell yourself ‘nope, not going down that path now – the less I think that thought, the greater chance that it will get ‘pruned’ from my mind.’ Give yourself the freedom NOT to think certain thoughts. It then becomes a habit to discern and discipline.

4)   Surround yourself with uplifting images and phrases:

Words and images are powerful.  It’s great to ‘seed’ the positive ones in your mind and grow these kind of synaptic connections. Speak the phrases out loud as well – pretend that you’re talking to your imaginary friend, but the friend is you!

5) Sprinkle people with compassion and compliments.

Spreading kindness to others strengthens your neuro – circuits of dopamine and serotonin and theirs as well.

With these tools, next thing you know, we’ll have a world full of people with happy, healthy ‘brain gardens.’


Miriam Racquel (Meryl) Feldman is a Somatic Healer and Certified Mind-body and Martha Beck Coach. She is a published writer and speaker based in Chicago. Integrating her knowledge of Kabbalistic Judaism, Somatic Healing, and Coaching, Miriam Racquel empowers women with clarity and peace-of-mind in their relationships, career and health.For more information, visit or email her at

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The Connection Between Emotions and Pelvic Pain

by Endorsed Coach, Lorraine Faehndrich

In my experience, both personally and with the women I work with, emotions are almost always at the root of pelvic pain.

If they are not entirely responsible for the symptoms, they are contributing to them, or making it impossible to relieve them! And just to be clear, that does not mean pelvic pain is in any way your fault. It’s not, and you’re not doing anything wrong.

Here’s the deal.

We live in a culture that encourages us to suppress our emotions from day one. Our families, schools, religions…you name it. They are all set up to punish our expression of emotion and reward suppression.

And this is particularly true for women.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

  • Don’t be so difficult.
  • You’re too emotional.
  • She’s such a bitch.
  • Why can’t you just be happy?

We’ve all experienced this in one way or another, as children or adults. If we aren’t directly shamed or punished for expressing emotions, we’ve certainly been rewarded for not showing them.

After all, little girls are supposed to be “sugar and spice and everything nice,” right?

Umm. Wrong.

The truth is that we have emotions and we have them for good reasons, but our brains learn early on that it’s a lot safer for us if we don’t feel them.

As a result, we learn unhealthy strategies of dealing with our emotions. For instance, we unconsciously tense and contract the deeper muscles in our body, and we hold our breath so we can’t feel emotional energy. Or we keep ourselves distracted with activities like spending hours on the internet, binge watching our favorite shows, overeating, and massive To Do lists – all to help us avoid being present with emotional sensations in our body.

There are lots of problems with this, but the main one is that it’s impossible to relax muscles that are contracting 24/7 to protect you from feeling your emotions.

Depending on where the muscles that you’re contracting are, you can end up with….migraines and headaches, back or neck pain, hip or knee pain, or pelvic pain, including vulvar pain and burning.

If you’re suffering with pelvic pain, or you’ve been diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction, it’s very likely that one of the ways you’re unconsciously suppressing emotions is with chronic contraction of the muscles in your pelvic floor.

Chronically contracted pelvic floor muscles cut off circulation of blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the skin and nerves in the pelvis. This can not only lead to pain, burning, or inflammation, but also issues with sexual desire, arousal and orgasm. It can also contribute to chronic yeast or bladder infections, issues with elimination and urination, and difficulty during birth.

When your pelvic floor muscles are chronically contracted to suppress emotional energy, no amount of stretching, massage, visualization, physical therapy, medication, or other treatments will permanently relax them. To do that you’ve got to learn how to welcome emotions in your body…so the muscles don’t tense up in the first place.

Are your emotions impacting your symptoms?

One way to determine if there is a connection between the way you’re processing emotions and your pelvic pain symptoms, is to start noticing what happens to your pelvic floor muscles when you feel stressed, anxious, angry or afraid.

If your pelvic floor muscles tense when you’re in a stressful situation – or when you feel overwhelmed, angry, sad, or fearful – it’s a good indication that the way you’re unconsciously processing emotion is impacting your pelvic floor and contributing to your symptoms.

Or, if you can’t tell if your pelvic floor muscles are contracting or not, because you can’t feel them, that’s also an indication that there may be an emotional root to your pain.

If your emotions are impacting your pelvic floor, lasting relief will only come when you learn new ways of welcoming and processing your emotions.

You need to re-train your brain that your emotions are safe to feel.

The good news is that that is very doable.

Start by paying closer attention to your body.

Which of your muscles regularly feel tense? Which ones feel relaxed? What happens in your body, and your pelvic floor when you are under stress – emotional or otherwise?

I invite you to begin becoming more aware of yourself and your emotions.  It’s completely non-invasive and the side-effects are all positive!

Reclaiming your emotions will not only allow you to relieve pelvic pain, it will impact your life in many other wonderful ways!

If you’d like guidance and support welcoming your emotions and re-training your brain, to relieve pelvic pain, I go in depth into those topics in the Healing Female Pain program. The next session begins soon!



Lorraine Faehndrich is a Women’s Mind Body Mentor and Pelvic Pain Relief Coach specializing in the relief of female pelvic and sexual pain.  Through her company Radiant Life Design, she empowers women with the skills, information, and support they need to understand the connection between their mind and body, allow their emotions, access their inner wisdom, and go on to live radiantly healthy joy-filled lives!

If you’d like to learn more about a mind body approach to relieving female pelvic pain – visit or download her free e-book 7 Reasons You’re Still In Pain.

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When It’s “Good” to Feel “Bad”

By Endorsed Mind-Body Coach Elaine Jeffy One of the most powerful keys to healing from chronic pain, anxiety, or loss is allowing, honoring and accepting our full range of emotions.  We live in a society that relies on intellect at the expense of feelings. The dark or commonly called “negative” emotions of sadness, fear, grief, and […]

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