Shahatalamula

‘Shahatalamula’ is a word made by Andrea Godshalk for a category of things we found on our to-do lists – the things carried from one day’s list to another’s but never checked off, for weeks or months. In frustration I asked her “What do these things have in common? They aren’t difficult or time-consuming. Why are they always left undone?” We scowled pensively at the lists and discovered that the long-undone things are the ones which only affect us. Everything responding to or serving other people seemed more important.

“Shaha!” she cried out, striking her hand through the air like a sword. Basta! Enough of that.

And more softly, making circular gestures with both arms, “Talamula”, coming back, taking care.

Allow yourself to be drawn to the things which no one else will say is important, or which everyone knows are important, but you can keep secret the fact that you haven’t done. Allow for afternoons when these are the magnets for your energy.

And ask for help. Sewing and jewelry repair are always on my list. A Shahatalamula party is when you invite your friends to come with their mending projects and glue collections and drink porter (or champagne) and help each other.

The Personal Assistant Game is when you trade hours with a friend. Your Shahatalamula list always looks easy to someone else. Playact boss-secretary for an hour or two, then switch the roles. When you’re the boss notice how great it feels to know your undone things are in motion. What does this sensation free you to work on?