Pet the Monkey

Noooooooooooooo, don’t go there you nasty pants. I’m not talking about that. If you don’t know what we’re talking about…well, don’t ask.

Today I had an apostrophe. I made friends with my monkey. If you still have your mind in the gutter, pull it out…omg this just keeps getting worse. That was like three “That’s what she said” set-ups in less than sixty words.

Now PLEASE, I’m trying to tell a cool story here.

Okay. So, I recently began referring to my incessant left-brain prattle as The Chattering Monkey. I know, I know. Here I thought I was all clever, coining a fun new phrase, until today when I found out that this is a Buddhist term referring to the untrained mind. So I was right on the money, if not altogether original. Well hell, I must have heard or read it somewhere, filed it away, and then reclaimed it as my own. So sue me—there’s nothing new under the sun.

If you experience the Chattering Monkey as I do on a daily basis, you know how exhausting it can be. Having that little critter babbling his commentary, suggestions, options, angles, fabrications, threats and other general folderol in an unending stream all day long is what keeps companies like Eli Lilly in the green. My hubby calls it having too many ‘ors’ in the water.monkey-illustration300x300

The Chattering Monkey is one of the reasons I took up yoga. If the meditation piece didn’t do the trick, at least I’d be fit and limber enough to get up in the tree and drag his pesky little ass down and tie him up with his own tail.

Well I must admit that as wonderful and beneficial as my yoga practice has proved to be, I found that that my wee companion was going to require a bigger gun.

So I signed up for a free (imagine that) 21-Day Meditation Challenge with Deepak Chopra. I enjoy his writing and like his simple approach to spirituality. Just hanging out listening to his lovely Indian accent is enough to send a person into Nirvana.

They say that it takes three weeks to change a habit, or establish a new one. This does not hold true for chocolate or crack cocaine. These take one hit to hook you and a lifetime to kick.

As for mastering my overactive left hemisphere, I knew I was going to need some support. I have tried to meditate on my own numerous times, and when I have succeeded in somehow outsmarting my amazingly strong-for-his-size little simian tormentor, it is usually short lived.

Me meditating typically looks like this:

Get comfortable in a quiet spot. Take a deep breath and release it slowly through my nose. Have no thoughts. Just observe the breath flowing in… and—did I put the trash on the curb—out…in…and—my left boob itches—out…in…and out…in…and out (hey, on a roll here! Oh wait…) And so it goes.

Sometimes though, when I somehow, miraculously enter into the space between the thoughts, it is glorious. It is utter silence and it is golden. It is like crack. Or chocolate. I want more.

So here is the fun part. I settled in for my third meditation session with Deepak. Monkey boy was in his typical bouncy mood, but I did my best to just relax and listen to the wise and inspiring opening words.

Deepak gently intoned the mantra for the day and I observed my breath. In…and out…in…and out…my pintsized companion started his regular circuit around my brain, out my ear, across my forehead, down my neck and then perched on my shoulder. I watched him for a moment, zipping around and around, and I unexpectedly found that I felt a strange affection for him. He stopped in his tracks, scampered down, curled up in my lap and started to snooze.

Denver Zoo Tamarin Monkey Twin OrphansI continued to observe my breath. In…and out. His breathing fell in sync with mine. From time to time he would suddenly peer up at me with the most adorable little look of concern. I would just gently stroke his velvety fur and he would doze right back off again. And so it went.

I finished my meditation with a very strong feeling of peace. And a new friend.

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You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bucket

The TrinityA few months ago I sat by the river and had a lovely lunch with one of my dearest, most funnest, supremely wisest and wackiest of friends Dianne. (She has a newly released book—more later.)

When we get together, we talk about everything under the sun, beyond the stars and inside the deep dark of our belly buttons. I am never the same after one of our navel gazing star-walking chatabouts. She never fails to bring some otherworldly perspective that brings out the very best in me. It is, after all, why they call her Starwalker. Everyone needs a Dianne in her life.

ANYHOO. We were talking about the nature of the universe, possibility, probability and other surface crap like that, when the subject turned to my recent struggles with believing that the universe really had my back.

Being a recovering perfectionist, I drift from time to time into frantically trying to figure out all the hows on the way to my whats. And since my whats had also been unclear, my hows were all catywampus, tangled up and flung like spaghetti all over my map. I guess you might say I had been feeling a bit confused and curbobulated. I get that way sometimes.

She said many interesting things—she always does—but one thing in particular rang the bell of my heart, and it’s still resonating today.

“Kathy, you have been dipping into the great sea of potentiality with a thimble. You gotta get yourself a bigger bucket.”

We sat quietly, gazing at the gigantic water that was flowing past us. It churned and chortled and filled the air with great guffaws as it joyfully surged past us, with nary a care for the huge boulders it so easily made its way around. Lately, I had been slamming head-on into the boulders that came across my path.

I pictured myself sitting on the edge of a well that was big enough to contain the universe, lowering my miniscule thimble, which hung at the end of a very long piece of dental floss. My bucket was tiny and so was I.

“Yep. I gotta get me a bigger bucket.” I echoed.

Sometimes a truth is spoken, and it puts an end to all other words.

Kathy on a bucket.I’ve been thinking about possibility.

I’ve been thinking about abundance.

I’ve been thinking about all the love there is, and wondering how it is that I get to questioning whether things will go well with me. I wonder why I am prone to trading in my bucket for a thimble.

I only need close my eyes for a few moments, conjure the vast blessings I’ve seen in my lifetime—even the ones that were wrapped in difficult happenings—and the questioning is assuaged. Every time I do this, I check my bucket and lo and behold… it has grown.

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