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Introduction to Back in Charge!

"It's never too late to be who you might have been."
George Eliot, British author

Back in Charge!In the 1960's, a rare and beautiful white tiger, Mohini, was given to President Eisenhower as a gift.  This magnificent young tiger was sent to live in the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. where, as was typical of zoos at that time, she was put into a 12-foot by 12-foot cage with a hard concrete floor and heavy steel bars spaced apart just far enough so that visitors could see in -- but Mohini could not get out. For many years, Mohini spent her days pacing back and forth in an endless figure eight, brushing against the bars of her cage. In time, a wealthy benefactor took pity on this wonderful creature and gave the zoo enough money to build her a more natural habitat: several acres of trees, hills and caves, a pond, grassy areas. The media was called in and stood poised to film Mohini's first moments in her lovely new surroundings. And do you know Mohini did? As soon as she entered her beautiful, spacious habitat, she dashed to a far corner by the wall and marked off a 12 by 12 square for herself. She stayed in that square, pacing until the area was worn bare, for the rest of her days.

This is a poignant example of classic conditioning. Mohini was a magnificent, beautiful, powerful creature who was convinced that she must live within the boundaries of her invisible 12 by 12 cage. Despite the abundant space all around her, she confined herself to much less. Staying within that small space wasn't just a fleeting idea to her but surely felt as if her very survival depended on it.  I'm certain that whenever Mohini even thought of leaving her small area, her heartbeat raced, her breathing became labored and her entire physiology told her that it was unsafe.

Classic conditioning doesn't just occur in tigers or hamsters or Pavlov's dogs. We humans run our lives by it also. Conditioning itself is benign, neutral. It is the way in which the brain organizes its power to move us toward what we desire or to affirm what we believe to be true. Conditioning can support mental/emotional cages that limit life experience (as in Mohini's case) or unleash unlimited potential. Conscious empowering conditioning can often overcome cages that all of us would consider quite real and unconquerable, as exemplified by Helen Keller.
Helen Keller was deaf and blind from infancy, yet this brilliant woman graduated magna cum laude from Radcliffe in 1904 and could read in 5 languages. During her long active lifetime, she wrote 12 books and many articles, became an international speaker and an influential political activist, helping to found the ACLU. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and lived a rich and full life.  Helen Keller, against all odds, freed her Mohini from the barriers that many would consider insurmountable.

How did she do it? With the help of a dedicated teacher, Helen Keller used conscious conditioning, beliefs deeply embedded in her brain, to determine the course of her life.  To get a glimpse of what those critical beliefs were, here's what Helen Keller had to say about life:
Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow.

You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.
We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough.
It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.

In this book, I want to convince you of 3 things: First, that we are all Mohinis: magnificent, powerful, beautiful -- whether we acknowledge it or not. Second, that the 12 by 12 mental/emotional cages that hold us back are not real limitations but unconscious, non-productive conditioning that has been hard-wired into our brains. And third, that you can use the recent discoveries of neuropsychology to re-train your brain so that its incredible power can support whatever you desire to be, do, and have out of life.

Cages come in different sizes. A world-class athlete may feel caged because she can't seem to break her own record. A salesperson may feel caged because no matter how much energy he puts into his job, he just can’t seem to close his quota of sales. You may feel caged because of feelings of complacency that seem to block you from doing the things you know you should be doing to achieve your dreams.  We all have cages. But the good news is that once we understand our cages for what they are – merely the conditioning of our brains –we can dismantle them.
To truly experience the transformation waiting for you, I suggest that you approach this book as an experiential workshop rather than a theoretical lecture. Read the chapters and examples with the sense that they are about you. Resist the temptation to apply this knowledge to how you perceive your neighbor or cousin or significant other.  Take the time to experience the exercises for yourself and ruminate over the questions. Rather than inhaling the facts of the science, absorb the feeling of the practices.

This isn't magic, it's neuroscience.  And the goal of this book is to make this science accessible to you on a practical level so you can create magical results and free your own Mohini.

"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low, and we reach it."
Michelangelo, Italian artist