Why is it so hard to change?
I just quit my job. It’s the first time in 17 years that I haven’t had a W2 and my resignation is just 2 weeks shy of 10 years with the present company.
As I write, I technically still have a couple hours left on the clock. After I send this out I’ll head back to the office I spent 7 of the 10 years in to turn in my computer.
I have to admit that as I write this - I feel some fear in my body. Since I gave my notice I’ve felt pretty good - and it wasn’t until last night that it started to hit me.
I’m letting myself feel it. I’m letting myself feel all the emotions so that they can move through me. It would be so easy to smoke something or eat something to help me deal with the things I’m feeling in my body.
The thing is - getting to this point has taken a lot of work. I’ve been talking about quitting for almost as long as I’ve been working with plant medicine - because that was one of the first times that I realized that I wasn’t in the right place - that what I was doing wasn’t in alignment. That was the beginning of 2019.
So why did it take so long? Why is it so hard to change, to not feel frozen? Especially after I’ve had such CLEAR visions in my journeys telling me it’s time to go?
The answer is in my body, and my nervous system. Something inside of me didn’t feel safe - was sensing perceived danger. In fact, I could boil human existence down to the quest for safety and avoidance of danger. It’s why people are stuck. It’s why people have addictions. It’s why we pick shitty partners and stay in situations that are no longer serving us.
It’s all because of this nervous system, this beautiful autonomic nervous system that is so good at what it does for us - keeping us safe from perceived danger. I love my nervous system and I’m grateful to it for all the times that it has kept me safe. But it’s not perfect. It doesn't learn as quickly as my brain does. And it gets stuck in the “perceived” part. If something was dangerous in the past - the nervous system keeps seeing it as dangerous now.
It’s like seeing a rope and thinking it’s a snake. I’ll let you in on a secret if you haven’t already figured it out. Your nervous system has a ton of ropes that it thinks are snakes.
Snakes from your early childhood. From your past romantic partners. From that time you got bullied in the 3rd grade. From the car accident. From things that happened to you before you could talk, that happened during the birthing process.
These things may have been dangerous when they first happened. They may have been life or death. But chances are, most of them aren’t as dangerous now as they feel in your body.
You don’t have to be stuck with these things forever. This is where methods like somatic and trauma work come in. It’s all part of the transformation process that a lot of us are going through right now. You work with plant medicine and it shows you the rope you’ve been avoiding because you thought it was a snake. But then it’s up to you to work with your body and nervous system to re-program the feeling. You do that by demonstrating to your nervous system that it’s not in danger. Sometimes over and over.
This is why I work with expansive practices that build resilience like cold showers and breathwork. Because if it was enough to just understand what’s happening intellectually - it would be a lot easier to change. It definitely wouldn’t have taken me 4 years to leave my job.
I dive into this topic and my journey of leaving my job deeper on the latest episode of The Vital Point podcast which just dropped last night. Check it out here on Youtube and wherever you listen to podcasts.
I’d love to know what you think. My hope is that it inspires you to take that next step towards change that is long overdue.
About the Author
Jonathan's interest in the transformative power of the breath is driven by his own healing journey. After practicing meditation and mindfulness in the Zen and Tibetan Buddhist traditions for almost 20 years, he rediscovered breathwork during a dark night of the soul and was amazed at the impact the practice had on his life.
After exploring several types of breathwork and working to create his own system, he found Neurodynamic Breathwork and completed an extensive facilitator-training program that was equal parts breathwork, deep personal development, and training in how to hold space for expanded states of awareness and support others through authentic presence.
This training, combined with lessons learned integrating his own extensive experiences with plant medicine helped Jonathan launch his brand “Blue Magic Alchemy ” that provides 1:1 integration and transformation coaching, a podcast, breathwork and meditation circles, and information to support grounded exploration into altered states of consciousness.