UPBEAT’s SUMMER Guide #3 In A Word: Living the Upbeat Life...

Q: A:

How you take an expe- rience or behavior, even an addiction, and turn it around? Windsor

Spinning in

Answering that ques- tion is a tall order for a short column (and columnist!) But maybe sharing my DMV tale can help us both, preparing, studying the past two weeks to ace/pass a written test to renew my driver’s license, which means a trip to the DMV...

I brought along a satchel of doc- uments to get the new “Real ID.” I’d wondered whether to take the terribly worn “official copy” of my birth certificate, or a photocopy I’d made. And had to hunt for where I’d stashed my original social secu- rity card for safe keeping. The DMV’s renewal warning

notice came in April, four months before the August expiration date. In June, I phoned the 800 number for an appointment: the earliest was mid-September. A sympathetic hot- line rep advised me to go on a Sat- urday, early afternoon, figuring few know the Santa Rosa office is open. Saturday, July 20, I packed up

and set out, my hair washed and fluffed for my new mug shot, pa- pers, study booklet in my bag. Af- ter missing the turn onto Corby, I arrive, park. It’s 12:45. Inside the DMV are maybe 100 people, but whew, only three in the arrival wait line to get a number. But when the guy behind the counter rejects my birth certificate, I’m incredulous: it’s the only one I’ve ever had in my nearly 74 years! He’s clear, “The law changed this year, I apologize for the inconvenience, contact the county where you were born.” I leave, thrown off course, fuming, insecure about getting my license renewed in time. Enter shenpa: This Tibetan Pali word describes what happens when we get ‘hooked’ into reacting to something that knocks us off our game, interferes with plans we’re attached to, toys with our sense of

self-importance, or values. Shenpa refers to knee-jerk reactivity, urge to feel secure again, take some action to relieve that uncomfort- able tightening, closing off: grab a self-sooth- ing sweet?


Distraction a la screen time? Run a mile? Yell at myself? But any ha- bitual way of trying to hide from sticky feel- ings can become addic- tive, compulsive and/or obsessive.

Driving back home, my mind was racing,

my internal story line building. How unfair, being detoured, all psyched to get the deed done today. And dang, I am me –loaded with identification docs! Reaching my house, I get online, and continue harrumphing my tale of woe to the sympathetic customer service rep, as she orders an expensive new copy of my birth certificate for me... From inflation, I drop into de-

flation. Big Sigh. All this conster- nation is tiring, this proliferation of mishegas. Pali lingo calls it “papan- cha,” biting the hook then making it worse by wriggling, tangling myself in the fishing nets. Time to turn it around, let go of struggling against what I had already experi- enced.

by Marcia Singer of Santa Rosa, CA. ~ ~ As I paused, a thought came: had

I actually shown the official copy of my birth certificate, or the pho- tocopy of it I’d made?! Migosh,

it was not the discolored origi- nal… Should I head right back to the DMV then? Maybe apologize to the guy who rejected my other document? Or just wait for the new certificate…? Feeling accepting, either way I

OK, response-able, to the DMV.

drive back Inside, there’s now

a long line just to get a number. I stay cooly present. There’s no one at the ‘disabled’ counter, and the hotline fellow had counseled me to use that option, due to my spinal issues. I approach hopefully. I’m immediately helped! All my docs accepted (yay!) And would you be- lieve, my number was immediately called! Amazing! Thirty-five min- utes later, I’ve aced my test, gotten

SHENPA [shen-pah] Little Susie, a six-year- old, complained, "Mother, I've got a stomach ache." "That's because your stomach is empty," the mother replied. "You would feel better if you had something in it." That afternoon, her father came complaining that he had a severe headache all day. Susie perked up, "That's because it's empty," she said. "Mamma says you'll feel better if you put something in it."

JOKES & Humor #4

my pic taken, I’m all done. Fait ac- compli. I’d turned the whole thing on its head. The Tibetans call that reversal of shenpa –shenlok [shen- lock.] It means renun- ciating mindless habits of avoiding insecurities. Instead of resistance, embrace the moment instead, what’s happen- ing now. Be willing to breathe into my discom- fort, own it, dissolve it, change course. The answer to your question?

brave Learn

mental aikido. Side-step the re- active hooks, turn anxiety inside out. In a word or three, master our shenpa. Shining deLight,


I always say, 'Eat clean to stay fit; have a burger to stay sane.' ~ Gigi Hadid


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