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Change Theory
(Hakomi Professional Training, 2009)

We are creatures of habit, born with survival instincts, & billions of neural brain routes that can become ruts, & make change difficult. For better or worse, we are drawn to the familiar. Knowing our neural routes, & how to change our ruts, is easier with the use of metaphor.

Imagine you are hiking on a fire road. It is broad & well traveled, yet not where you wish to be. It’s there, so you use it, even though you long for new scenery (a neural rut).

Now imagine a small experiment. Nothing big & threatening: Nothing you can’t back out of.

You veer from the fire road & meander along a small deer trail. The deer trail is interesting, but hard to follow for lack of use. You stumble along, enjoying the new sounds, smells & scenery, yet miss the familiar feel of the fire road.

Change is new & scary. You can see the fire road & feel conflicted between the old, known, safe road & the new, unknown, but fascinating, path. The choice is a bit disconcerting, yet you stay on the deer trail for a while, before returning to the fire road.

The next time you hike, you notice the deer trail entrance. Remembering the rough footing & low branches makes you hesitate, until you recall the new & interesting sounds, smells & scenery. So you take it again, and again, until it’s easier to follow, as your steps form it into a safer & more familiar route.

The more you choose the deer trail, & the less you use the fire road, the more even & easier the new path becomes. One day you notice weeds growing on the fire road & it doesn’t seem as wide or well maintained. You have changed the way you travel, & your sensorial experience, by taking a detour. The routes have changed with you, as your longing (neural rut) subsides.

This is how our minds work. The more often we take a detour when our sensations, feelings, thoughts & behaviors no longer suit us, the more familiar & comfortable our new ways of being become. Our old, less than nourishing, ways tend to fade out (neurologically) from lack of use, along with our initial discomfort and normal fears regarding change.

Life is full of decisions, detours, & new paths, which are not always easy to see & access. Yet, opening to new experiences, & taking small risks by way of experiments, allows them to be noticed, become newly familiar, & unfold into nourishing choices. Awareness, exploration, experimentation, insight, choice, & tolerating the unknown enrich our journeys. Knowing how we’ve learned to see, and adapt to our past experiences, is vital to change. Accepting ourselves unconditionally, as we are right now, allows us to focus on what wants to happen, & experiment with new ways of being more alive and authentic.