Courage Is The Power To Let Go Of The Familiar {Notes On Change}

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Change is an interesting thing. When we are stuck in a place that we don’t want to be- physically, mentally, or emotionally- it’s the thing that we crave. We can’t do this anymore, we might tell ourselves. We are bored of feeling this way, we are tired of it, sick of this, that and the other.

The thing about change of any sort is that it’s inherently messy. It’s messy for a few different reasons (and this is by no means an exhaustive list):

  1. It’s taking you away from what you know. And what we know often provides us with a sense of certainty, and in many instances, a sense of identity (even if what we know isn’t what we want). We have to be willing to let go of what we know to make the shift
  2. From a nervous system perspective, shifting out of the more active stages of fight-flight or collapse (especially if we’ve been living here for a long time) involves bringing the sensory nervous system back online. That means you are going to be feeling more, not less. For those of us who have cut ourselves off at the neck feeling wise, this is an important thing to understand and educate ourselves around.

    Many of us have a complicated relationship with feeling and sensation in the body, and as a result, interpret physical changes and experiences negatively. Moving your nervous system in a more adaptive direction involves reconciling this. We need to understand how our subjective interpretations and perception of what’s happening are often creating what we are looking to avoid.

  3. Shifting in a direction that indicates more adaptability and responsiveness doesn’t always feel good- at least not in the beginning. In fact, the search for “feeling good” can be precisely what gets in our way. It causes us to measure anything BUT “feeling good” as a bad place to be, prompting us to flee from discomfort and interpret movements of the body in a more healthful direction as negative.


From the position of a coach, this transition point where things start to shift is the biggest quit point. We think we want change until the change begins… and then the old patterns and ways of being are particularly seductive.

Making yourself feel better in the moment is a relatively easy thing to achieve. And there’s nothing wrong with this. But creating true foundational change takes work and it’s not necessarily a smooth ride. It’s a vulnerable place to rest in, but an infinitely worthwhile one.

And what’s more, doing the work yourself will make infinitely more compassionate for your horse should they be in the position of navigating their own stuck points. It takes time, and it can’t be forced.

“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar”


❤️ Jane

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