Silencing my ‘Monkey Mind’

Mother Nature’s bipolar disorder has put a damper on my plans as of late. Cleveland’s weather went from temperatures in the low 80s to a balmy 99 degrees and climbing.  Add a little precipitation and what you have is the perfect climate for poufy, frizzy hair.  The 1980s called, they want their look back—and they can have it!

With power outages all over the greater Cleveland area, I’ve had to find other ways other than shopping outings, beach days and tropical drinks to amuse myself and let me tell you, it hasn’t been an easy task.  I’ve realized I can’t sit still.  Meditation was thrown out the window once I came to the conclusion that I do not have the ability to sit in the stillness of silence and clear my mind of its millions of thoughts.  My mind is a beast, a machine, producing a million cognitions per second, barely allowing me to ingest one thought before the next pops up.

Oh, and the thoughts I’m having, they’re not productive, to say the least.  I’ve jumped on Emotional Rollercoaster’s fun ride, plunging heart first back into the seven stages of grief.  When does this ride end?  Will it ever?  I just don’t know.

As Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, “I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the monkey mind. The thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. My mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

I’ve realized that my own monkey mind is the direct result of my fierce unwillingness to ever sit still.  I keep thousands of projects going at a time.  I try to ensure I have plans daily and if I do not I begin to panic the way a child panics when they lose their favorite security blanky.  Unconsciously, my mind knows if I were to sit and be still with my thoughts, I would have to deal with and face such cognitions. 

Too often I forget I am a survivor.  I survived abuse and made it out the other side.  But I have not found the courage to face the feelings and torment of the past in an effort to let it all go.  I also forget I was in a relationship of six years since I was 16.  I missed out on so many things, one of which was the ability to socialize and date around.  I never got my feet wet in the dating department; I plunged head and heart first into the murky waters of an abusive long-term relationship. 

I have never given myself the time I deserve to jump above the surface of those waters and truly be free.  Since the break-up, I have been running.  It’s easy to throw on those Nikes and take off into the night.  It’s more difficult to sit and face the pain and understand that I need to be patient now.  Patient with myself and the recovery process.  Like a puppy chasing her tail, I try with all my courage to just keep going with life, to chase my dreams and forget about the past.  But I’ve realized, the longer I chase a diversion, the harder my past will try to find me—and it always finds me.  I’m always left frustrated, drained and exhausted.

 So now I’m learning that to not have plans each and everyday is OK.  To be alone and sit with yourself is normal.  I’ve been hanging out with myself and I realized, I’m a pretty fun girl.  And this girl isn’t running from a few Cleveland rain drops—she’s going to go play in the puddles and finally get her feet wet.

5 Responses to “Silencing my ‘Monkey Mind’”
  1. Rainb0w says:

    I admire your courage. Being patient is difficult. Especially if you are trying to deal with something. i understand this all too well. You want everything to be OK right now, but its easy to forget that it takes time. So hang in there… And i think you are doing great.

  2. Jen says:

    I dealt with the same thing. I thought that the only way to keep my mind off of things was to CONSTANTLY stay occupied and have tons of things going on. I think A lot of it had to do with the fact that silence scared the crap out of me. If I was still, alone and quiet, that meant I had time to think. And I didn’t want to think, because thinking lead to feeling angry, hurt and sad all over again. But then I realized that sometimes, dropping your hands to your side, letting things go and breathing were very healing. I also learned to be my own best friend. And it’s OK to lay on the couch on a Friday night with a glass of wine, a book, magazine and some fav movies, and NO plans. Learning how to be your own best friend is the best feeling in the world.

  3. jordanleah says:

    Thanks Jen, I’m so glad you reached out! It’s nice to have someone else there who has been through something similar… as weird as it feels, I am trying to get used to being on my own, and enjoying SOME Fri nights solo 🙂

  4. I really liked your article. You should write more about that topic.

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