No, not literally! What do you take me for? Some kind of simian-obsessed stylist? But seriously, if you do decide to remove a little extra fur from a particularly hirsute monkey, I recommend you use a razor as opposed to a depilatory cream. Monkeys tend to fling things and Nair in the eye would probably sting.
In my case, “shaving the monkey” is alluding to the fact that meditation has helped me to clear away all of the excess “noise” from my mind. It is clearing away the fuzz, allowing me to really see what is underneath. It’s a bit like the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid); I don’t get as distracted by all of the fluff.
Today was a great test of this newly shaved monkey. Today was a Major Monday (caps and alliteration required). I walked back into the classroom after spring break to find info-packed emails from administration, new schedules that required last minute lesson shuffling, panicked and angry emails from parents, and kids who have apparently forgotten everything just two days before state testing begins. Normally, all of this would have sent me into panic mode trying to meet everyone’s needs at once (while neglecting my own, of course). Instead, I was able to take a few deep breaths and recognize how much of the stuff was just excess monkey fur. I picked up my imaginary razor, shaved the extraneous pelt, and was left with a manageable amount to tackle.
I don’t always remember to shave the monkey at the beginning. In fact, just yesterday, I allowed myself to get overwhelmed. I was doing the laundry from the camping trip and cooking my lunches for the week (which meant I was managing 1 dish in the oven and 2 on the stovetop), the cat threw up, and my boyfriend wanted me to come in to look at the curtains he had just put up. It all became too much. Frazzled, I tore around the kitchen like a dervish, sprinkling pumpkin seeds on the roasting cauliflower, stirring the greens, and prepping the Tupperware. Suddenly, I stopped. What was I doing? This wasn’t an ER; the sweet potatoes would not suffer a cardiac arrest if they sat in their boiling bath a minute too long. I took a few deep breaths, relaxed, and realized how doable my tasks really were.
I am frequently guilty of making things harder than they really are. When I was finishing up my workout today (the ultimate in shaved-monkey simplicity: squats, deadlifts, straight legged deadlifts), I saw a lady doing assisted pull-ups. While wearing a weighted vest. I chuckled to myself, thinking, “How silly!” But then, I realized, I often do the same in other areas; I make something harder than it needs to be and then I require assistance of some sort. Why not just strip it down to the basics to begin with?
I am going to try to keep up with shaving my monkey mind, keeping it clear of all the clutter. I might even get a bit fancy and style it with a mohawk:)
- Taming the Monkey Mind: a 28 Day Meditation Challenge (lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com)
- Taming the Monkey Mind: Halfway Point (lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com)
- Taming the Monkey Mind: Natural Habitat (lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com)
- Taming the Monkey Mind: Total Immersion (lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com)
- Taming the Monkey Mind: Accepting the Way of the Monkey (lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com)