A meditation on the word “Synesthesia,” a wordblog suggested by Rich Ejire.
Synesthesia is the condition where a sensation in one area of your body produces a perception in another. In other words, if you smell roses every time you see the color pink (even if there are no roses to be found), you have synesthesia.
It’s a neurological condition that is said to be present in every infant at birth. All brain matter is connected, but the synesthesia is suppressed as correlations are made in the brain, and neural pathways become more developed.
It’s not simply a neurological condition, though.
It’s a spiritual fact.
Strong, emotional experiences in one part of your life will stimulate and catalyze other areas.
I want you to think about the last, great failure that you had. Think of something that you put your heart and your resources into– and things fell apart. If you’re honest, that failure walks with you. That broken relationship, the faulty business plan, a risky move across the country– for an opportunity that wasn’t.
You might wear it as a badge of honor: “It failed, but I’m still here.”
You might not want it brought up in public.
Either way, it has shaped the way you walk forward. That thing isn’t in the present moment, but its powerful, emotional memory colors the situations you see now. All things are joined together.
What is helpful in moving forward is knowing that you have bound the past to your present. Synesthetes, as they are called, can be overwhelmed because they are experiencing more than one sensation at a time. So it is with us when we are given new, fresh opportunities, and we are connecting them and perceiving them with the failures of the past.
Don’t confuse the two.
It’s not that you ignore the mistakes you’ve made. You ignore the meaning you made from them.
Strip every mistake of its emotional baggage. Look at it, and mine it for its wisdom. Find every scrap of personal revelation. Without guilt or shame or resentment, find the truth about why it happened. And be prepared for the fact that you may not understand the fullness of it until much later.
Some years ago, I was out of work. I had taken a chance on pursuing my dream, and I was getting by on freeelance grantwriting and consulting.
Then it all dried up.
I was devastated.
Especially because I couldn’t, in good conscience, coach and encourage people to follow their dreams if my own dream was fruitless.
I stopped following up with potential clients.
What did I have to offer them? Stories of failure and dead leads?
I isolated myself from friends, and didn’t talk about my work anymore with my family.
(Newly defined synesthesia: A sensation of failure in one area produces a perception of inadequacy in another.)
The coach’s words: “Get your eyes out of the past, and see what’s in front of you.”
Within 2 weeks, I had an interview, and a new career trajectory– one I had been avoiding for years and one in which I am uniquely talented.
And now, when I do grantwriting and consult social entrepreneurs, I stand on the experience of a business boom and bust (and subsequent re-boom). Every step I make forward now comes from the strength and resolve built from my previous loss– but not on the emotional fallout of the loss.
I have to leave that in the past.
Seriously, the emotional fallout is more constrictive than the failure itself, because you carry it into future moments. How can you let something long gone hold you back?
In truth, we all have synesthesia: our present moment is connected to something amazing. It is bound to a vast array of possibilities only limited by your mind’s position.
Are you seeing your NOW but sensing your THEN?
Or do you know that your past is gone, and both your present and your future are magnificent?
Was this blog helpful to you? Let me know in the comments section– and subscribe if you want it delivered to you.
Want to see if you’ve got Synesthesia? Visit this research site for a test.
Like this content? Sign up for free updates!
Get Nerissa's free guide: "Be Irresistible to the Media"