An excerpt from The Habit Trip

Chapter 9: Emergency Plan

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So what happens when everything falls apart?

Suddenly every area of well-being gets shifted to the I Can’t Deal with This Now List. Your best intentions fall by the wayside, and all your progress slips. This is when you need your Emergency Plan, your I’m so blindsided I can’t see straight and I’m barely keeping my head above water plan.

Demons begin crawling out of the trees and bushes around your house. You make a run for the front door, but the way is blocked by a fanged creature limping menacingly in your direction with one septic, malformed leg dragging behind. You turn to cross the bridge instead and are ambushed by an army of winged beasts, with sharp talons and vacant eyes, swooping overhead. You take cover in the garage, grateful that the unwieldy mechanical door still works. It rises just in time. You dive into the relative safety of the orb and push off, in search of a remedy to rid your house of these monsters from the abyss. When all else fails, the orb is home base. Tumbling frantically, head over feet, you realize now is the time to summon all the insights you gathered on your travels.

This is your opportunity to build the platform and handrails that will keep you stable when you hit nauseatingly rough terrain. We will be brief, as there is no time to waste in emergency circumstances such as this. Each reinforcement you build in the orb is a part of your safety zone. When the world is spinning too fast, all you have to do is plant your feet or grab on. No thinking required. These supports are crucial for lasting progress. They prevent you from collapsing under the weight of unexpected crises, and they sustain you through daily indignities that feel like death by a thousand cuts. They hold you up like a frenzied crowd at a stadium show. When all is lost, you can throw your head back and surf your way to the safety of the stage.

Without them, you’d crash from one side of the orb to the other in a bid to outrun the monsters—slip, break a rib, lose your ability to breathe, and forget yourself entirely in the fight for survival. With this system in place, you’ll still go for a hell of a ride, but you will find visitations from the netherworld much less daunting—and recovery easier—so you can get back to What Matters.

 

The reinforcements consist of the following: three people, three places, three kinds of physical activity, three foods, and three works of art (music, visual, or otherwise) that ground you and remind you that being alive is strange and beautiful—even as it breaks your heart, and sometimes your body, too. Who offers you peace of mind? What places drop your shoulders and slow your breathing? What physical activities calm or focus you? Which foods give you energy or comfort? And what songs, movies, or works of art restore your spirit?

The people are the platform beneath your feet. The places are the padding that shields your head when you land upside down. The physical activities and foods are handrails to help you stay upright and aligned. And the works of art are glimmers of light that make this part of the journey bearable. This is your go-to survival guide.