Have you ever wondered why you endured something emotionally uncomfortable—even painful—for so long? Especially in hindsight?   All of us can unwittingly become comfortable with what we don’t want, failing to see better opportunities right in front of us, but for a lack of perspective. Comfort zones can serve to protect us, but they can also blind us. So, what is the driving force for change?   When the pain of remaining the same becomes unbearable, we find ourselves ready for change.   We learn to live with degrees of discomfort every day. Unsatisfying relationships with ourselves and others. Tough family dynamics. Stressful work situations. Unhealthy habits of every variety. We can become so familiar with pain that feelings of joy can seem foreign and unfamiliar… even scary. So, we retreat further into our protective comfort zones. And they are addictive.   When we are familiar and habituated to pressure, anxiety, and chaos, our bodies become addicted to a daily dose of stress hormones and neurotransmitters, as researched by Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Bruce Lipton, and countless others. How we habitually live our lives—the biological, chemical, emotional templates we play out subconsciously—stem from and reinforce patterns in our wiring. In turn, these determine our programmed behaviors and experiences on a physical level. It shows up in our heads, hearts, words, and actions, and in all our relationships, especially our relationship with ourselves. Put differently, we get comfortable with discomfort. And we remain where we don’t want to be.    Healthy relationships allow each person to give and receive in a bi-directional, mutually beneficial flow. But as much as we may crave this, our minds and bodies become accustomed to how it feels not to have someone be emotionally available. It can feel foreign to have someone want to get to know us. Subconsciously, we may avoid or move away from the very thing we want—better relationships with others and ourselves. And although we may be inadvertently reinforcing the cycle, it’s what we know. It’s our comfort zone.   Admittedly, change can be tough. Our brains are proven to gravitate to the known—even when it isn’t positive—sacrificing the possibility of better unknowns. We resist change, thereby reliving what’s painful again and again. Yet change we must, though we need not wait for it to become unbearable. By embracing a change-mindset, we learn about ourselves. We grow. And when we practice standing in the unknown, we have opportunities to acknowledge the patterns that help or hinder us.   Neal Donald Walsh says, “life begins at the end of our comfort zones”. What he’s really saying is that when we are willing to step out of our comfort zones, valuable new insights and perspectives are available to us. We are available to us. With lots of love,  Joanie 

April Love Step

Look at your life. Examine your life patterns. Which specifically bring pleasure and joy? Which ones are simply preventing you from feeling pain? For those that are about avoiding pain, this is an invitation to stop, see it, breathe with it. Allow your mind and body to speak to what the fear is, why this unhealthy pattern is engrained in you? What pain is it keeping you from feeling? Why are you afraid of feeling it or changing it? Your awareness will lead you to answers. Self-love is always worth the investment.
Additional Ways to Step into Love This Year While this email series serves as an educational stepping-stone into deepening the love you have for yourself, I offer other services to support you in your own unique journey to self-love and what it means for you. For continued guidance, you can purchase a course of customized mediations I’ll be leading with a dear friend that will help you dig deeper into the subconsciousness belief systems. Email me at jmankus@authenticstrides.com to sign up or get more information. As you move through this process, I can also support you on a more personalized and one-on-one basis through the power of Equine Gestalt Coaching. Gestalt sessions with or without the horses are both available to you. To explore if this is the right step for you, please visit my website or get in touch at the email I provided above.