Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Few Choice Vines

One advantage of being forced to slow down and rest is that the monkeys in your mind quit swinging around for a while. However, every once in a while, one of them will take off on a vine that is worth hanging onto, something your mind and soul needed you to know ..... something so important, it was willing to wait on the chatter to settle down.....

So here are some of the ramblings from the last couple of weeks that I call "choice vines" -- the ones that the wiser simians waited on:

* Never allow another's definition of success to define you. Oh my gosh, I could write a book(let) on this one as a "what not to do," how I allowed others' visions of success to supplant my own for far too long, how I sometimes still look to false measuring sticks of what it means to be "successful" .... forgetting that success is not my mission in life. If it happens as a by-product, that's great, but it's not my life's mission or goal. I must never lose sight of that.

* Even in the dark, there is always light. Far too often in the last few weeks, even my sense of humor had gotten a little darker than I would like. But in the last few days, the kindness of others has really helped me to see that people can be kind and understanding. I have seen just how amazing people can be: team members at my regular work, my part-time work, my fellow choir members, all the medical professionals who have treated me over the last few weeks (and YES, I will follow your advice to rest!).

* It's okay to say "no." It's perfectly okay to say no -- to things which do not work at all for you, your schedule, your hopes, dreams, goals, desires. It's perfectly okay to say goodbye to things which no longer serve you, remembering that they were once important but realizing that the time has come and passed. It's learning what your limits are, knowing when you need to push yourself a little farther, and knowing when it's more than the price tag. "No" is a powerful word.

I hope the chatter stays a little more silent and the choicest vines continue to make themselves known.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Confessions of a Monkey Mind

Monkey Mind. It's a term I first heard in yoga class to describe all the thoughts that run around in our brains just willy-nilly and unguarded, from front to back and vine to vine. Here, no there, no wait here I am again, whoo hoo!!! Part of the benefits, goals, what-have-you of yoga is to cage the monkeys for a while, to sedate them if we can, so that when we return to the real world off the mat, the swinging is a little more orderly.

Good luck.

I've had an experience in the last few weeks that no matter what, the monkeys overtook the zoo. They didn't just swing to and fro and from vine to vine, but the monkeys decided to fling poo whenever, wherever, and however often they could. To say I've had a rough time has been an understatement. And now it has caught up with me. I have been told by no less than 3 medical professionals to rest more.

My body is paying the price - literally. As I type, I am recuperating from shingles. Over the last three weeks of stress, a long-dormant virus from a childhood case of chicken pox reared its ugly head and said, "OH! So you don't know how to rest? So you think this stress puppy business has no consequences? Think that little meltdown in the shower that left you crying at Mass was nothing? Fine. I'll show you....." And I developed a case of shingles. It's like an adult version of chicken pox only worse. There's pain involved that I don't recall at age 6. Pain that doesn't let me sit at my desk and do actual work. I can work from home right now, but I can go a short time (2-3 hours) before I have to stop for pain meds. The pain meds allow me to work about another hour or so, but then OUT. I still have to sit on an ice pack at my back and one on my side where the nerves tingle and jangle.

The monkey mind has slowed down. Right now, I have two things on which I focus: my work when I can do it, and simply resting and vegging the rest of the time. Everything else, just doesn't matter. At least the worst of the stressors at the time has resolved itself, but all the other minor annoyances just aren't nearly as important as they seem to be.

An important lesson there -- are the minor annoyances really all that important anyway? Are they worth pain pills, missed time at work (albeit with sick time), and knowing I've done this to myself with worry? I have literally made myself sick with worry. How sad...... how very, very sad.

Take a lesson from me. It doesn't matter if you ever had chicken pox and may or may not develop shingles. The bigger lesson is don't make yourself sick with worry and stress. Stop letting monkey mind rule your head and your life.

Stop letting your life be overrun by damn dirty apes..... cage the monkey mind!