I have an affinity for the female human form. I experience it as appreciation, awe, desires, and urges. I also experience it as complaints, sadness, and separation. It’s not the female form that does all this to me. It’s my dopamine levels and how I conduct my life that throws me into swings. Realizing that it’s not sex, but it is dopamine, is a process of disassociation that I have to come back to again, and again. Read this article for a primer on how neurochemistry is the music of this dance.
This is an example of attachment to something outside myself. I attach feelings of self worth and happiness to things, people, and circumstances external to myself. Do you do this too? If my wife is upset with me, I feel sad, detached, and worthless. My!, that’s extreme and rather silly! (Even though it is common.) Detaching my feelings from my circumstances, I see that it is MY dopamine, MY neurochemistry, and with a little effort, I can manage it with what I do, eat, think, and say. Suddenly I have a say in how I feel. I have a responsibility for creating my happiness, my joy, and my bliss! Are you taking that on for yourself?
When I detach my feelings from the external element which I had attached them to a heaviness is lifted. It is an experience of enlightenment. I am free to choose to give importance, value, and effort to the external situation. In the case of my wife, I choose to care, offer compassion, and make it a priority to understand the relationship of my words and actions to her feelings. Her upset becomes an invitation to engage in the loving discourse of our relationship. However it looks from the outside, I can make the effort to choose to recognize my experience of our relationship as the love that permeates it. Such engagement gives a dopamine fix at a responsible level; one that won’t crash me down.
Engaging in life with the conscious recognition of how we are connected by choice gives us one access to a healthy neurochemistry and a sense of inner peace, belonging, and permeating love.
David Lazaroff is author of Live It Up! 10 Ways to Share Joy When Your Friend Has Alzheimer’s. David coaches family and friends of people with Alzheimer’s Disease in creating a fun and joyful life. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
David is the founder of Holistic Community Living, a Colorado nonprofit founded to operate and teach others to operate neighborhood-based assisted living homes where people can complete their lives with those they love.