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Change Your Genes

If you believe you can, you are right. If you believe you can’t, you are also right.

- Melissa Corona

This summer I visited one of my favorite places for peace and introspection, Kripalu, a meditation and yoga retreat in the Berkshires, MA. Not only is the food there Vegan friendly, but the grounds are beautiful to stroll through, and the lake provides a refreshing swim. I have been before, and usually just enjoyed the grounds, the yoga classes and the delicious food. This time however, I enrolled in a program. A workshop led by Joan Borysenko a spiritual scientist and Karen Drucker a spiritual musician. They were ladies with such wonderful energy and warmth, and took us on a spiritual journey into our souls through song and stories. This is where I was first introduced to the subject of epi-genetics.

As I understand it, our genes can be directly affected by our environment. Stress, diet, behavior, toxins and other factors activate chemicals in your body and brain that can literally change the expression and make up of your genes. In addition this change can be passed down in your genes through up to four generations (that they have discovered thus far). This was a very interesting theory to me.

Understanding that my automatic negative reactions could be a result of prior stress in my earlier life, or even in the lives of my ancestors, certainly allowed me to be more forgiving of my behavior and actions. I have often noticed, and through years of spiritual and emotional exploration, become aware that my first reaction to many situations is a negative one. I can become anxious and panicked very quickly when a stressful situation over which I have little control presents itself. I have often fallen into self-blame over not being able to have a different, more useful reaction.

At this retreat, Joan spoke of this same type of thinking, we all do it, a small crisis presents itself, and next thing you know in your head you beat yourself up over all the thing you should have/ would have/ could have done to have avoided the situation in the first place. Fact is, accidents happen, stressful situations occur daily, the challenge is in how you handle them. Do you immediately start complaining about how the world is against you and listing off all your failures leading up to this moment. (Many times, this was exactly my reaction- and is the reaction I have often observed in others). The other choice is to recognize the situation for what it is, do what you can to remedy it, reflect on whatever lesson there may be, and move on.

Now, the latter is much more easily said than done. Especially if you are used to being the victim, and to be honest the victim role is what feels safe and comfortable to a certain extent. A victim may be a survivor, but there is more to life than surviving. There are other roles one could assume, the healer, the activist, the mystic, the leader, the list goes on. The choice to worry and complain, or get up and change the situation is ultimately a choice. And in every situation we do have choices, it may not seem that way, but there is always a choice. Choosing to be grateful and positive is a choice. By making that choice every day, one can change their genomes. Not only for themselves but even for their grandchildren.

Looking back 3 to 4 generations ago, our ancestors went through some very stressful times, war, famine, adversity, possibly abuse. It makes sense that some of that feeling of helplessness and despair may be passed down through our genes. It is empowering to think that we can change them as well. Not overnight, but through a daily practice of thankfulness, and gratitude. Not just being thankful in the month of November and on holidays, but all year round. Sending kindness and positive thoughts out into the world has a ripple effect as well as a boomerang effect. What you give you receive, the universal law of Karma.

Sometimes we may have concerned loved ones that worry about us. Unknowingly, they are also sending out a worry prayer to the universe. Maybe ask them to send you positive affirmations rather than worry about you. Worry not only sends out a negative signal and can actually be energetically harmful to you. It does not benefit them either, wishing good things for you is much more beneficial and much more fun too.

Our every thought is sent out to the universe and the universe will deliver. This includes thoughts of worry as well as of hope. All thoughts are subtle creative energy. Some thoughts we may repeat often, like a mantra, gathering strength and momentum. Some are written down or spoken, giving them even greater power. In every thought we continue this process and create our experiences and our reality with the universe. When we use our creative energy unconsciously, we create what is commonly known as self-fulfilling prophecy. So when we worry and perpetuate negative thoughst, we are lending our energy to the creation of something we don’t want, and we may not even realize it.

In understanding epi-genetics and the power of training my positive thoughts, I feel more in control than I ever have before. I am the creator of my own destiny, and if I imagine it, so it will be. If I keep imagining the worst case scenarios, that is what I will get, but what power to know that if I commit to positive thinking, synchronicity occurs. I have experienced it first hand, mentioning to someone a need, and the next day the universe delivers it. You have to pay attention to catch the hints, but they are there. Whatever you ask for will be provided, maybe not in the way you expected or in the timely manner you may wish it, but always when and how you may need it.

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