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Believe Write Share - I Believe by Anne S.

i believe in the plasticity of body, mind, and spirit.

each time i go to the gym i am surrounded by people---younger and older, fatter and leaner, fitter and frailer---who share this belief in the plasticity of their bodies. whenever i add five pounds to the stack of weights i lift, i affirm that my body is malleable. does that mean i'll eventually have the extreme muscle definition of the body-builder who exercised next to me this week? no way! but it does mean that my body is growing stronger for everyday things like doing yard work, carrying heavy bags of groceries and lifting my own carry-on luggage up into that overhead bin on an airplane. another example of how my gym time has made me aware of my own plasticity is that i've come to appreciate tattoos in a whole new way. my knee-jerk negative reaction to tattoos has moderated as i've exercised next to people with some gorgeous art inked into their bodies. i had not expected this benefit, but welcome my new-found appreciation.

each time i go to one of my book groups i am surrounded by people who also believe in their own plasticity. when we read about sonia sotomayor (my beloved world) or the young americans who rowed crew in the 1936 olympics (the boys in the boat), we see people who have been formed and re-formed over time, so our belief in plasticity is affirmed. when we find ways to respectfully discuss books---especially those on which we disagree---with trusted book group friends, we learn to see things from more than one perspective.

each time i click on the lumosity web site to play five scientifically-developed games to improve my speed, memory, attention, flexibility, or problem solving, i affirm my belief in the plasticity of my brain. for months i've wondered when my overall scores will finally hit their absolute upper limit. it hasn't happened yet. (although it has been a couple of weeks since i've had a new high score on speed, so maybe i have plateaued in this one area, but even that plateau is many hundreds of points higher than when i started playing lumosity.) it's wonderful to see how malleable my brain is!

each time i observe the folks who gather every two years to set policy for the faith group that i belong to, i see how change has occurred---step by careful step---in my church's position on controversial matters. the Bible hasn't changed, but our collective understanding of the Bible has changed dramatically---our spiritual understanding has evolved over time. indeed we are reformed and always reforming.