In a transformative journey from corporate success to homelessness, Jeff Jones discovered the power of asking ‘Why?’ — a question that led him to explore philosophy, neuroscience, faith, and more. Now, co-founder of Reclaim Your Joy, Jeff delves into the concept of ‘Life Harmony,’ unraveling internal conflicts and offering insights into achieving balance through hypnotherapy and breathwork. MysticMag has the pleasure.
Can you please share a few details about your professional journey?
I remember the first time I asked myself. ‘Why?’ Not ‘Why me?’ with a belief that I had been victimized or ‘Why me?!’ like I won the lottery, just ‘Why?’, with no judgement.
The day was September 22, 2009, and I was being interviewed to be admitted into a homeless shelter at the age of 57. This after two very successful careers with large corporations. Stellar careers, actually. Rewarding in every public recognition and financial way that would be recognizable to others. Yet here I was, alone, broken and homeless.
I asked ‘Why’. Maybe, more accurately, I should have asked ‘What’ did I miss?
My lack of judgement of the ‘Why?’ wasn’t a conscious decision, it was disbelief, perhaps denial, and yet there was a sad curiosity. Like when you are dreaming and know that you are dreaming and are curious about what is happening. Living in separate dimensions, simultaneously.
That one “Why” began my journey into philosophy, neuroscience, faith, spirituality, nutrition, psychology, meditation, breathwork, and several other ‘isms’ and ‘ologies’. And the journey continues with wonderment.
That is why I do what I do at the company my wife, Kerry Ito and I founded. Reclaim Your Joy! I want to help people be curious about themselves, without judgement, find the spark that ignites growth, rejoice in the growth, and then share that growth with others. The growth shows up as confidence, peacefulness, compassion, and a connection with what is happening in front of them, right now.
What does ‘Life Harmony’ mean to me?
‘Life Harmony’ is a term I use to describe the place we are successfully holding as we sit in the middle of the sphere of life. Sphere is an important word. We would love for things to be either/or, or linear, but they seldom, or more realistically, never are. That is why I use the word Harmony instead of Balance. Close your eyes and think of things in Balance. The vision of a teeter-totter or the Scales of Justice come to mind. Two things, either/or, right/ wrong, up/down. But is this what life is like? There are jobs, relationships, kids and everything else, it is much more like being at the center of something. Our job is to live in a kind alignment with ourselves and the situation we created for ourselves.
Let’s stop right here for a moment. What do I mean about the situation we created for ourselves? How’d all this happen?!
There are at least three internal conflicts that exist in each of us that operate in every moment. Taken separately, these are either/ or situations, combined, recognized, and celebrated, they are a harmonious sphere that lives in gratitude and abundance. It is our choice to live life coming from a place of fear or a place of love. The conflicts?
1. Our brain – and I’d love to talk to you about our brain as an ally! There are the primitive pieces/parts and the evolved pieces/parts. The primitive part keeps us safe from perceived threats, the evolved looks for connection, which can be really scary. Better to be wary. It isn’t bad. We are all here because of it. Our ancestors ran faster than others. It allows us to jump out of the way of an on-coming bus, without debating the situation.
2. The Head/Heart conflict. One of my oversimplifications is that the head’s only job is to protect the heart. Simplistic? Absolutely, but let’s slow down and be right here, right now.
Why doesn’t one person ask the other to dance at the junior high dance? Carried into an adult situation, why can’t a person ask for what they want? Why is it hard for the salesperson to ask for the order? So hard in fact that there are a lot of people who would never be salespeople, no matter what. What is the fear? At its most fundamental, it’s a fear of a broken heart which becomes translated into a thought and then a belief of ‘I’m not good enough’. I’m not pretty enough?’ Some form of ‘I’m not………’ The head protects us from that happening and perpetuates that lie.
3. Me versus you is the third conflict. ‘What will you think of me if I ……………..?’ ‘What will others think?’ ‘Am I where others think I should be at this stage in my life?’ I refer to this as the genesis for all fear-based marketing. It is the belief that if I buy a new car I will be happy. A belief that my identity lies outside of my physical body.
These three conflicts can all be summarized as Self and Other, they are all interwoven, they all operate simultaneously and to top it off, they operate instantly, all of the time. It’s pretty cool that we operate as well as we do in the Sphere of Life.
Victo Frankl has an amazing quote of “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response is our growth and freedom.” The space he is referring to can be measured. It is approximately 1/20th of a second. That is how long it takes for the three conflicts to arrive at our response. Unfortunately for us, our response is usually a reaction. We do what we’ve always done.
So, what do we do to achieve Life Harmony? We slow down time and expand that 1/20th of a second so that you give yourself the opportunity to choose differently and have the knowing that even if the new choice doesn’t work perfectly, you can choose again. AND know that you’ve learned, not done something perceived as wrong. There is no saber-toothed tiger. You may be uncomfortable, maybe embarrassed, but you’re OK. In fact, you are fine just as you are.
As a side note, this isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. Your choice needs to come from a place of kindness towards all involved knowing there isn’t self and other, but only one.
This is where hypnotherapy and breathwork enter. Both are modalities that allow the participant to integrate mind/body, release old traumas and beliefs, and create the space needed to incorporate new beliefs.
How does hypnotherapy assist Life Harmony?
Hypnotherapy is NOT stage hypnosis, it is increased focus on specific life-shaping events in a safe, supportive environment. It allows you to examine situations where you may not have felt safe, or in reality were not safe. From that, you can identify how that event, that feeling, and the subsequent belief still continue to drive your reactions today. The body doesn’t forget. We are an accumulation of all of our events. When we feel a specific way, we react as we always have.
Hypnotherapy allows us to release those feelings, beliefs, and behaviors and install new conclusions and behaviors. The past is past, we are safe now and we can choose differently.
How does Integrative Breath Therapy work?
Breathwork is a personal favorite of mine. Through a process of circular breathing, you have the opportunity to clear out physical, mental, and emotional baggage. It is unscripted and personal. For many people, it is a way to release negative, cellular energy and explore inner emotions and connection. The connection can be a reconciliation of mind and body. It can be a recognition of our spiritual self and all that being connected to something Universal can bring to our lives.
These changes show themselves as gratitude. Our false beliefs show up now as our values and greatest strengths. When we lay down the baggage, we can be grateful. That is Life Harmony, being grateful, even for the stress. We have created this, keep what is useful, recognize the learning, lay some things aside, and continue to be grateful for this moment.
A couple of months after September 22nd, 2009 I was looking out the window of the room that I shared with four others. The sunrise was magnificent and for some reason, it resonated. I let the sunrise in. For the first time in my life, I was totally present and grateful.
To learn more about Jeff and his work, you can visit reclaimyourjoy.guru