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Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears
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Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  6,622 ratings  ·  444 reviews
Best-seller Pema Chödrön draws on the Buddhist concept of shenpa to help us see how certain habits of mind tend to “hook” us and get us stuck in states of anger, blame, self-hatred, and addiction. The good news is that once we start to recognize these patterns, they instantly begin to lose their hold on us and we can begin to change our lives for the better.

“This path enta
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by Shambhala (first published 2009)
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 ·  6,622 ratings  ·  444 reviews

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Michele Harrod
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now this little book took me a while to get into, I started it, got busy, tried again, got distracted - until finally I did take the leap, and put all else aside and read it last week. Why the delay, I wonder? I suspect I was a little reluctant to actually let go of a few old habits.

It's funny how you do make the time for books, right when you are ready to recieve their message.

I loved this one for the introduction to the concept of 'Shenpa'. The emotions that rise up in us (rage, frustration,
Feb 13, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed "Taking the Leap." It is a quick read, and one that I thought might be helpful in this time in my life.

A few excerpts I found powerul:

"The source of our unease is the unfulfillable longing for a lasting certainty and security, for something solid to hold on to. Unconsciously we expect that if we could just get the right job, the right partner, the right something, our lives would run smoothly...We are never encouraged to experience the ebb and flow of our moods, of our health, of the
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
What’s so lovely about this slim book is that it’s light as a feather—Buddhist concepts are relieved of their cumbersome weight for the average Western idiot—but it doesn’t feel silly or condescending. Chodron personalizes every discussion with earthy vignettes from her own life, and her simplicity and directness keep us interested. The large print doesn’t hurt, either. I’d recommend this to people interested in Buddhism, but also to those who might be just a little squeamish.

“Taking the Leap” i
Experience Life
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Faced with the scope of the planet’s present challenges, not to mention our own day-to-day difficulties, it’s not surprising that we sometimes feel the need to numb ourselves to the world around us. The obvious drawback to this survival tactic, notes Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön, is that we can wind up missing the whole show. The here and now is where life happens, after all. That’s why Chödrön’s latest book teaches the simple art of remaining present with what is and overcoming the attraction ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it liked it
I didn't really find much difference between chapters, they seem to re-iterate the teaching of not getting hooked, which is good, but personally, I found I would like to have read a bit *more* life-experience examples, as that helps me to better take in and understand what I'm reading. That said, Pema Chödrön is good at teaching, and I like her humility and her frankness, about her own pitfalls and experiences (as I said, though, I just wish there were more examples, or something, as I find I le ...more
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I seriously considered buying this book so I could read it again and again during difficult times! I have considered reading this author before, when I saw this on the NFNR table and it was only 100 pages I jumped on it. I am so glad I did!

It seems to be a culmination of many things I have learned in the past 18 months! It is about being present in the moment and allowing yourself to feel your feelings as a way to get to know yourself and move forward in life. One of the biggest things I learned
TJ Shelby
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. Maybe it was a combination of timing: me ready to move on from certain things in my past and my current fascination with eastern philosophy. Here are a few of my favorite gems:

* "A Native American grandfather was speaking to his grandson about violence and cruelty in the world and how it comes about. He said it was as if two wolves were fighting in his heart. One wolf was vengeful and angry, and the other wolf was understanding and kind. The young man asked his gran
Alison Kulik
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A very uplifing an useful book. The major points can seem lost in the content, but one could say the content itself is the most important. This is a book I will always have on my coffee table, a reference so to speak, for when I'm feeling out of sorts or like I'm a fish on a hook. It gives great insight into many Buddhist beliefs, the main focus of which is that we must first learn to be compassionate and accepting of ourselves without deception, before we can be compassionate towards others. Pe ...more
Another one I'll have to buy. Shenpa was the big idea in this one for me, the attachment to being stuck in a pattern/reaction. Trying to be more open. ...more
Ali Hussein
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
The second Pama Chödrön book I’ve read now. I enjoyed it however not as much as the first. Fairly short book with good insights and messages. Essentially teaches compassion and unity etc.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pema Chödrön has one of the best approaches to self-development I have come across as well as a great way of articulating and formulating ideas.
Meghan Burke
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pema Chodron could write a car manual and I'd eagerly read it. This was as lovely and helpful as every other. ...more
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I would say my only complaint about Pema's book is that it's too short, but at 100 pages, it's not. There are pearls of wisdom on every page, and this slim volume of Buddhist thought - focused on staying with your emotions, leaning into pain, sitting with the hard stuff - is just right. It begs to be reread, to be handed off to a friend in need.

Pema writes with clarity, wit, and sensibility. She speaks to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, focusing on working through our habitual patterns, diff
Oct 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love Pema Chödrön's books (and audio works). Like her others, I find it is best to read it in pieces so that you can process what you've read as you go. Then, when you get to the end, start over, because you will pick up new insights each time and think of new ways in which they apply to your life. Parts of this book cover the same material as her audio called "Don't Bite The Hook." It's helpful for me to hear the information again and again, so I don't mind the repetition. Taking the Leap off ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It felt like every time I picked up this book I read something extremely relevant to something I was dealing with in the moment. Shenpa and not getting hooked into a storyline in our heads is all very helpful to my certain brand of anxiety. I need a constant stream of Pema Chödrön teachings in my life.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, my favorite of all her books so far. A must read for everyone (in my opinion).
Paula Cappa
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in one day, 3 sittings. The main thrust of the book, in true Pema Chödrön style, is about opening your heart, letting go of pain and struggling, and living a more peaceful life. Pema instructs that the most effective way to do that is to acknowledge our personal destructive patterns, negative thinking, and negative habits. Pema suggests practical methods to get “unstuck” from “shenpa.” She cites 3 steps: acknowledge that you are hooked by your habitual thinking; pause and take t ...more
Mark Valentine
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
One image that connected with me that Chodron writes of involves viewing each of us as a continuous, flowing river. Named, the river appears to be the same, but every day, every moment, it is in a constant state of flux where banks change, levels rise and ebb, and flotsam has passage or dams may appear. I like this analogy because it shows how temporal, fluid and full of movement living life is.

She introduces a Tibetan word, "shenpa," in chapter 3 meaning "attachment" or those habits, feelings,
Tom Allen
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It all begins with the breath. I recently heard of a Jewish couple who were receiving harassing phone calls from a neighbor. He was the leader of a local branch of the klu klux klan. This couple were able to get i. touch with the pain they were experiencing. Through this experience they gained empathy for themselves and were able to extend that empathy to the neighbor. They began treating this neighbor with loving kindness and over time this person was able to find that peaceful place in his hea ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First I read "The Untethered Soul" and I was very inspired. I kept feeling like I understood what why I needed to "let go" but I was still fuzzy on the "how to" portion. Somehow this book got on my list and it was just what I needed. It filled in the gaps for me. I already do Transcendental Meditation but this book added an element of addressing thoughts feelings when I'm not meditating. I may need to reread this one though because it is not the kind of learning that happens from just one read! ...more
Leslie Ann
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A lovely little tome that encourages us to step back, be present, and uncover our three basic human qualities: natural intelligence, natural warmth, and natural openness. Chodron argues that such personal transformation can help change the world. Unlike Christian doctrine, one does not pray to a higher being for such transformation, but instead remembers that the power lies within oneself.
Todd Toussaint
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Has a distilled quality? Her writing is warm a little spare, like she’s boiled off extraneous thoughts. Sometimes I wanted to muck around in the weeds a little more, but there are other books for that. Each short chapter could be reread at random, like some sort of booster shot of clarity & perspective.
Ajay Sambhriya
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Crisp, concise, simple and profound.

Take a pause
Stay in the moment
Acknowledge what you see

...... E𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘯, 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘐 𝘥𝘰, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘺 𝘥𝘰 𝘐 𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘩𝘢𝘴𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘰𝘯 𝘮𝘦?
Liz (readwildly)
A good introduction to Pema Chodron's particular brand of meditation and lovingkindness. ...more
56/52 books read in 2019.

*review to come*
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A good morning to re-read this treasure.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review to come.
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is about coping mechanisms (based on meditation and Buddhist concepts) for dealing with minor and major issues. As I was reading this, so many of my friends on Facebook had recently been complaining about being fed up with comments and posts from other people, and I kept thinking how applicable these techniques are for dealing with that. This book suggests ways to deal with other things that annoy us throughout the day: traffic, an annoying co-worker, a long line at the grocery store, ...more
Aunt Edie
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found 80% of this helpful, informative, engaging, and relevant. I sent quotes to friends as I read. But the other 20% I disagree with way deep down in the core of who I am. Which is par for the course for me and Buddhism. If Buddhism is your thing, I feel like you'll have already devoured everything Pema Chodron has written. And if you haven't, you should. She writes clearly and makes complicated truths easier to grasp. If you are a seeker and haven't figured out what you believe, I'm not goin ...more
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is difficult for me to review, because while it had an okay presentation of the Buddhist concept of shenpa, it was much broader than the title and description led me to expect. I expected the book to focus on a more practical application of Buddhist techniques to address habitual behaviors; instead, the book meandered through a broader and more generalized overview of Buddhist philosophy. I'm not sure how I would have received the book if I had different expectations. It's probably not ...more
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Ani Pema Chödrön (Deirdre Blomfield-Brown) is an American Buddhist nun in the Tibetan tradition, closely associated with the Kagyu school and the Shambhala lineage.

She attended Miss Porter's School in Connecticut and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. Pema has two children and three g

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