Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Phases and moments, shifts and's life. It's real. It's up and down for sure. But when we are not aware of, or aligned with the natural flow of our environments (internal and external), then it can seem chaotic and daunting.

Nature is chaotic. Yet, the purpose of the chaos is to organize what is happening. The same is true for us.

The same is true for this blog I dump all these ideas and happenings that I have experienced over the last few weeks. So bare with me as I organize the chaos, which is really what we are doing every day. Right? Sit with that for a moment. Especially when you proclaim, "My life is so chaotic right now." Well then...organize it. Period. And please stop wasting time trying to find ways to organize it. That's avoidance. Just get to it. Lists. Conversations. Scheduling. Saying no. Saying yes.

Last week (actually a few weeks now, as I saved this post to continue at a later date, I was organizing) on my way to Vancouver Island with my mom, aunt and cousin, I stubbed my toe OH SO BAD! No tears people. Just a lot of swearing. I quickly grabbed my baby toe, returning it to the pack and rocked back and forth cradling it until the pain subsided. Probably needed X-Rays, but people, I had a plane to catch! UPDATE: I broke my first bone. Two small fractures on either side of my little one. I am healing, yet hobbling.

Onward, me in my Sketchers, and limping to and fro. The rest of the weekend was me, icing, compromised walking and really not taking in much of the outdoors. I was adapting as best I could.

That weekend was not a pleasant one when it came to family relations. I exerted my bullishness to put a family member in place. The warrior in me took over. But I felt it was needed. It created some tension for me. It also shifted my perspective and asked me to do some digging. Most of the time, I don't call people out. Is it our job or place too? Certainly not everyone, but I was born into the role as someone who sniffs out bullshit.

This brings me back to the idea of shifting...because now I am continuing this post three weeks later. I rarely, if ever, do this. I have been reading this lovely book by Pema Chodran, Taking The Leap: Freeing Ourselves From Old Habits And Fears. In the book she talks about Shenpa, the Tibetan word for attachment. It's a simple word packed with so much meaning.

Shenpa would better be translated as something that hooks us.
— Pema Chödrön

There are two levels of Shenpa: the reaction to a pain that surfaces within us and the escaping of pain that is within us. Hmmmm. Powerful, hey. Let's chew on that a bit more. Now...I am not asking you to please go engage in your habit, but perhaps for the purpose of explaining Shenpa, think of something that grips you: smoking, drinking, excessive exercise, binging (me), sleeping (me), yelling...

NOW, whether you are aware of it or not, there is an itch, an urge that begins to appear right before you engage in your habit/addiction. We've learned over the years, to scratch that itch with a beviour or a thought(s). It proved to work, to cover-up or relieve that uneasiness. So, our brain catalogued that sequence of behaviours so that when it next arose you would have access to the tool that helped to soothe you. Eventually, your new learned behaviour became a habit and transferred to other situations that elicited a similar feeling. A new itch appeared and your habit reinforced, over and over and over again. Days, months, years, decades later this habit evolved, the itch has spread, yet nothing has been solved.

 Shenpa is what motivates our habitual patterns and our addictions.

We get hooked because as humans, we simply want to ease our pain and suffering. There is no shame in that.

Now, this post has turned into a large ball of organized chaos. We will return to this idea around Shenpa and I will have some podcast episodes dedicated to it, so stay tuned.

But I don't want to leave you high and dry. Here's the thing, coming back to the beginning of this post...LIFE IS IN CONSTANT FLUX. It's changing before our eyes no matter how hard we may try to control it. Not possible. Let that idea go and you will end so much suffering. My point though, is we are in flux too. We are forever changing, and when we  have moments of melancholy and even elation, it can throw us off. This is what happened to me a few days ago. Here's the trick, don't linger in the emotions that may overcome you. Recognize them. Allow them to pass. Once we begin to linger we create the biggest goddamn story, bigger than War and Peace. It becomes too much to bare and carry. It can paralyze us and take us a down a road of old habits.

To overcome shenpa is to have radical mindfulness, integrity and a deep connection with yourself. It requires constant communication and most of all – listening. It is a wonderfully powerful practice.
— Pema Chodran

Let's break this practice down in three steps:

  1. Acknowledge that you are hooked.
  2. Pause, take three breaths, and lean in. Lean into the energy. Abide with it. Experience it fully. Touch it. Taste it. Smell it. Get curious about it. How does it feel in your body? What thoughts does it give birth to? Do not get seduced by the momentum of shenpa.
  3. Relax and move on. Don't make it a big deal (In other words, don't pick up the pen and write your memoirs).

The biggest challenge is to embrace the restless energy, to stay awake to it rather than automatically existing. We are experts at doing that! Well, I am anyway. Shenpa. Chaos. Organizing. Shifting. Perspective. Attachment. Getting hooked. Being human.

Thoughts? Leave your comments below!

Peace out!


p.s. if you want to talk more about how you can make some changes to your current lifestyle design, we can do that. Book a FREE 60min chat with me and let's go from there. You can also connect with me through my newsletter here.