Hacking Your Path through the Jungle of Change

transformation Nov 06, 2023
Illustration of Charis Santillie hacking a path through the jungle
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🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #082 here.

There's a metaphor I've been using lately in some of the groups I've been speaking with that I want to share with you here today. But before I dive into that, if you've been following me for any length of time, you've probably heard me talk about how we've got these neural pathways in our brain and the pathways for our well-engrained, patterned beliefs and ways of being are almost like superhighways in our brain because they've been tended to and traveled upon so frequently.

When you want to blaze a new trail and get off that superhighway, it can be very challenging because your brain is like, "No, no, let's get back on this well-formed road."

I had a new image come to mind recently to describe what it feels like to get off that superhighway; it's a scene from the movie Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.

At one point, Michael Douglas' character, Jack, is taking his machete and hacking a path through the jungle with his machete.

So, how does this relate to your brain and wanting to create a change in your life?

Well, when we want to carve a new way of being or thinking, a new belief, or a new habit, we don't have that yet as a neural pathway. It can sometimes feel like we are in a similar situation as Jack, suddenly surrounded by thick jungle vegetation in a heavy rainstorm.

You've got a couple of options here: either stay where you are feeling stuck or tap into your gut/intuition and start carving a new path.

When you need to make your way through the jungle of change, you have to hack your new path, chop through that dense forest, and find a new way.

There's no clear path for your brain to know what to do here. You have to pick a place to start.

I like this visual not only because it helps us understand why sometimes it feels so hard to bring about change in our lives, but it also can support us in the way we look at other people. If you ever look at someone and wonder why they are struggling so much to get into this new habit that they said was important to them or pursue the thing they say they wanted to do, yet they don't seem to be making any headway, picture them standing in the jungle in a rainstorm, just like you may be in some area of your life.

You've got to change how your brain is operating around that topic. And that is not always an easy thing to do.

I invite you to think of this scene whenever you're struggling with a change you want to make in your life, and then have compassion for yourself, follow your gut, and just start hacking. Oh, and don't be afraid to ask for help. You don't always need to be the one swinging the machete.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #082 here.

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