Monkey Business

Happy Wednesday Travellers,

My deepest condolences for missing our prior engagement know as Imagination Monday. I arrived here right on time, ready to go, but something happened to my blog and I was unable to get a post up. Actually my entire Monday was a one huge technical fiasco. All the devices built to make my life easier, faster, better instead  made most of my day wildly harder, slower and un-fabulous.

I’ll be back next week for “L”…we leave no letter behind here…

Then Tuesday vanished. Just POOF. Sort of like an Etch a Sketch drawing…sometimes I think it would behoove us to view each day like an Etch a Sketch. Every morning, you just have to give it a vigorous shaking to clear the screen for your new day. But don’t shake it too hard, no need to injure yourself…

I’m rolling around an idea in my mind. Something I’d like try out. I think I said this once before, the thing about a blog is it’s really a lawless land. There are no rules here. You can be an outlaw of the wild wild internet if you so choose. Who doesn’t want to be an outlaw?

Are you familiar with the phrase “monkey mind”? It’s that part of our brain that is able to produce thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought thought, (you get the picture)  in a rapid fire succession that is truly stupefying. Not awesome. And generally completely f*cking unhelpful.

Do you know what I mean?

According to the Buddhists, the way a monkey swings from limb to limb, is similar to the way our mind moves from thought to thought. Only it’s not a graceful act of dexterity, it’s more of a surging vortex that can drown even the most mindful of humans. It’s unsettling, disturbs our happiness, prevents from being in the moment or focusing and causes unnecessary distress. Pretty sure it’s where anxiety is born.

Lately, I’ve realized or decided to acknowledge that I am experiencing a lot of anxiety in this new chapter of my life. Some of it’s real, but mostly it’s imagined. And I need to really get a grip on it. When I re-read my blog posts, I see myself struggling, finding little ideas that give me moments of reprieve and hope, but still struggling. I feel like I’m stuck in the Prologue of this journey and it’s time to get to the action…

Over the years, my relationship with movement has always been my active meditation. And yes, I own a pillow and do some seated meditation sometimes, but when your mind is swinging away, that can be very difficult. Movement for me has been the thing that has saved me over and over. The last week with a sprained ankle has been hell on Earth for me, but yesterday I got to walk the ladies and by next week, should be back to my almost full strength. And an idea started to grow…

I also think it’s safe to say that anxiety is a widespread epidemic in our world. Just listen to TED talks, or interviews or the myriad of books/blogs/articles on the topic. I actually think the construct of our modern world seems to be mortared with anxiety.

And I’m not the first person to say any of these things. Or draw a line from anxiety to meditation. The internet and global retail market are flooded with books, articles, DVDs, apps, pillows, clothing, candles etc. to help you create a way to essentially tame the monkey. It’s called meditation.

The statistics for people who practiced mediation are around 14% of the population in the U.S. Which if you consider the number of people who are prescribed anxiety medication or just seek therapy for anxiety, or the number of anxious people you encounter each day, that number is silly low. I would hazard to say that if we were all more peaceful inside, if we could quiet ourselves  inside, the world would be more peaceful outside. The world would be a completely different place. Think about it.

I think our anxieties cause us to lash out at others, prevent us from being fulfilled or productive in our lives. Anxiety gets in the way of your ability to meaningfully contribute because you are too distracted in your thoughts. It brings your decision making paradigm to it’s knees. Or at least it does all of that to me. Ok, maybe not the lashing out part…

So tomorrow, it’s gonna be something new…and like all ideas, where we begin will more than likely be different than where it ends…

I would love to hear from any and all of you about what your experiences are with meditation or anxiety. Tell me why you don’t do it or why you would. Have you ever considered the option before? What other things have you tried to ease your anxiety?

And let me leave a little something behind today. I really liked this interview and think “Shhhh”ing may be one of the most insightful things I’ve heard in awhile…

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Monkey Business

  1. lbryantharris

    Question: Did anxiety create distraction or did distraction create anxiety?
    I used to stress out about not meditating. I was inconsistent… or thought I was. The truth is there are so many ways to meditate and shifting from one to another to meet your needs seems reasonable. I have my asphalt therapy… getting on a motorcycle and riding. Nothing keeps you focused like riding a really slow bike very fast. Inattention to the task at hand will get you killed. Then there’s sitting in my favorite chair and doing self-guided meditation till the vertigo kicks in and I feel like I’m “there.” Also walking the dogs, or walking a labyrinth, laying in a field letting my thoughts float with the clouds or staring in to the camp fire. I think the one commonality for me is that none of this is helpful if I don’t at some point realize I am doing it for a mental health purpose. If I don’t recognize before or during the “meditation” that I’m being purposeful, then it just feels like I wasted time spacing out.

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    1. I tend think that anxiety has been with our species since the beginning of time, it’s part of our multitasking nature. BUT I think modern life has increased expectations that exasperate the anxious tendencies. I think the internet is both a portal of helpful information and a whole lot of stuff that causes anxiety/dissatisfaction/depression etc. I’m not sure we’re teaching mental health care to our youth or ourselves in a really accessible way. Meditation rode in on the coat tales of yoga to popularity but it’s the usefulness of it, wielding like a tool that makes it work. And knowing when you need it, acknowledging your needs without shame, there’s also too much shame still around mental health in this country. There is zero shame in self care. Everyone is struggling, or struggles with something…a less “spaced out” type of meditation, something grounded & practical, less mystical offers a pretty good amount of peace and focus I find…nothing wrong with unconventional in my book

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