The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and enjoy the dance. – Alan Watts
You may have noticed its been quiet on my end for the past few months. The end of last year brought with it some unexpected changes to my life. Due to unforeseen circumstances, my husband and I suddenly had a choice to make: Stay in New York and chase what felt like someone else’s dream, or cut the chord and move west like we have talked about since the day we met.
3 months later I no longer wake up to the sound of the M train rumbling by or cram myself into the subway like a sardine on my way to teach yoga. I don’t watch the light show on top of the Empire State building through my kitchen window or spend my Saturday nights at the theater. My dogs have no more rats to chase and we don’t watch the sunset over the Brooklyn bridge.
Instead I wake up and breathe in the scent of Evergreen trees. I walk outside and see snow capped mountains in the distance, ocean and lakes in every direction, and yes…rain. Lots and lots of rain. We traded in the best slice of pizza in the country for arguably the best coffee. I am learning to navigate driving in traffic while watching ferry boats cross the Puget Sound and the lights on the Space Needle have replaced the glittering Manhattan skyline. People discuss the latest apps and football instead of stock trends and art. I’m trying to keep up. I still get caught off guard when people smile and wave hello in the street. I keep doing double takes to see if maybe I know them. Nope. They are just being friendly. Huh…that’s different.
I write to you now from my new home in the great Pacific Northwest. Hello from Seattle!
This change was sudden but not rash. I went to college here many years ago and have lots of family in the area. We always knew we wouldn’t stay in Sao Paulo or New York forever and agreed that the “west coast is the best coast”…at least it is for us. But all that being said, packing up and moving cross-country to begin all over again – on the brink of my 40th birthday – has not been easy.
I resisted this change with every fiber in my being. I basically came kicking and screaming. Not all that unlike my big move from LA to Brazil almost 10 years ago. I look back and recognize that move was one of the best decisions I ever made. I trust that in the future I will look back at this decision with the same contentment and peace.
So why do we resist change so much? Even when it is actually taking us closer to what we say we want?
Change takes us out of our comfort zone and we humans are wired to choose comfort over just about everything else…even when the comfortable place is not happy, or healthy, and sometimes not even safe. We would rather stay in an unhappy relationship than go through the pain of the break up and having to seek love all over again. We would rather be a little overweight than go through the discomfort of giving up certain foods – even if only for a little while. We would rather stay unhappy in a job we know well than go through the challenge of finding and learning an entirely new skill or career.
We all possess a “critter brain.” That part of our reptilian self that wants us to stay the same. It confuses sameness with safety. To this critter brain, change equals potential danger. Rather than take the risk that may prove to be very rewarding, this part of our brain does everything it can to keep us in our comfort zone where things are familiar and “safe”…even if not optimal.
The good news is we also have a highly developed, aware part of the brain, our cortex brain; that is interested in our growth and evolution. This is that part of us that seeks change when we know deep down it will be good for us. This is the part of ourselves that insists we dump the loser boyfriend, lose the 10 pounds, and quit the energy draining job if that means we will be in closer alignment with our heart’s true desire. This is the part of the brain that told me it was time… It was finally time for us to leave our comfort zone and move cross-country to create the lifestyle we’ve been dreaming of. It has been hard. Challenging. Painful. Sad. Beyond scary… But I am here now and I feel I have finally arrived…. Home.
I have many new offerings coming up in Seattle, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, and online…But for now I just wanted to say hello and tell you where I’ve been. I am trying to dance with the flow of life, to open to what is being offered to me…even when it is way beyond my comfort zone. I want to encourage you to do the same…Because just beyond our comfort is where the real living begins!
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