I am for you

learning to love your lizard brain

many dancers, one skirt - during Figment in Cambridge, Massachusetts

I’ve regularly mentioned the practical fact that when you want something to change, it’s nearly always easier to change yourself than to change others. Demanding other people do things is not only exhausting, but it also rarely works, at least not for very long. People are the way they are because that’s the way the universe made them – through nature and nurture. And fighting against nature and nurture is, as you can imagine, a guaranteed losing battle, unless you happen to be some kind of supernatural force (which I won’t entirely rule out, just to be on the safe side here. :-)

So, instead, when you want change, you might want to try changing your own beliefs about things. Strategies such as Buddhism and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) use this strategy. I use it a whole lot as well. I look for underlying roots to people’s behaviors. I twist words around to see if there is another possible understanding of what people say. And I test out reflections of ideas to see if their opposite is also true or truer.

But even easier than all those approaches, even easier than flipping ideas around to test out all the permutations of a theory, and way easier than fighting against nature and nurture, is simply allowing my body to move in whatever way it wants – working directly with my own nature and nurture.

The physical self is governed by the most ancient area of the brain, sometimes called the lizard brain, and thus it’s design has many millions of years of experience making change happen. The prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, is just a tiny baby in the grand history of “doing stuff”, and it’s still quite wobbly when it comes to doing things without falling over a hell of a lot.

Next time you are frustrated with the world, and find yourself inclined to demand that someone else “do something!” because you don’t like the status quo, consider letting the power of just moving your body, and letting your instincts take over (as long as you are in a reasonably safe environment where you’re not going to do much damage to anyone, unless, of course, they are looking to get some aggression out as well and volunteer to play with you!). And you can trust your body to do what it needs to do, because your body was born knowing how to problem solve and heal.

(Now, moving your body only works well to make positive change when you have an abundance of energy, not when you are deficient. In the case of being deficient, just lay low for a while and maybe let people know what you need, so that they can have a chance to get it for you, if they are able to. To know which situation you’re in, listen closely to your body’s messages.)

So yeah, if you really want change, right now, try it the easy way, allow yourself to move forward, backward, or spin around, and see what changes.


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