Getting Unhooked

I started the new year with a strong desire to undo the damage I did during the last three weeks of the holiday season.

Between getting laid off, celebrating my birthday and going home for the holidays, I ate and drank far more than I’d planned to, and I was feeling the effects of it come January 1.¬† I had a strong resolution and desire to shed the extra few pounds I’d put on and get a great body. Except, as tends to happen, real life got in the way. A movie night out with a friend turned into impromptu cocktails at a famous speakeasy. A game night prompted mindless snacking. Relaxation with the husband turned into several bites of chocolate.

All these experiences, while enjoyable, didn’t do anything for my goal of getting a great body. But then I began to wonder, was my goal of getting a great body misdirected? In reality, yes, you want to look good, but you also want to enjoy life, too. I realized that a good deal of my thoughts were being taken up with worries about eating a way I shouldn’t, or how much I’d need to exercise the next day to work the night’s indulgences off. What if there was no need to worry about that? What if there was a way to live without fear, because everything is working in tandem towards living a good life?

I’ve played the game of avoiding socialization to achieve results before, and I have no desire to live like that anymore. Relationships are key to happiness, and if you have to avoid strengthening relationships for physical results, than what’s the point? Or in other words, why have a great body when you never take that body out to¬†experience life and other people? Seems pretty pointless to me.

So how do you have your cake and eat it too? I’m trying to get at the root of why I overdo things the way I do. And how to recognize and stop the patterns. I started listening to an audio book called “Getting Unstuck” at the recommendation of a friend, and in just the first hour, the author was able to articulate many of the thoughts I’ve been having and boil them down to a few simple concepts:

  • We have a habituation towards moving away from the present
  • We all strengthen the habit of leaving, because leaving is comfortable
  • We get hooked (Shenpa). When we get hooked, we get stuck
  • To get unstuck, you have to experience the Shenpa and not act it out by turning to comfort
  • Recognize, refrain, relax into the underlying feeling. Then, resolve (do it again, and again and again)

After listening to this, I realized that my whole life may very well be Shenpa. There are so many places and ways that I’m hooked. But if the first step is recognizing it, then I’ve gotten there at least. Next up, refrain, relax and resolve. It’s easier said than done, but it’s also a more rewarding and challenging resolution than losing five pounds.

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