I spent most of my adult life being a driven workaholic until I was forced into early retirement at age 62. Because I was blessed with a “brain opportunity” in my 62nd year of living I was granted the opportunity to see how I owned and claimed a series of distracting activities. Before this opportunity that brought my mind and body to a screeching halt my ego even congratulated itself for all the amazing activities I could accomplish in a day..not just spread out in a day but things I could accomplish simultaneously. I could listen to podcasts, read, write, and talk all at the same time while thinking numerous innovative plans to participate as an environmental and social activist. My ego proudly embraced my mental talents. Then a brain opportunity showed up. This opportunity was in the form of a major brain bleed over three lobes of my brain with no symptoms resulting in a hematoma. I did have amazing, miraculous healing and did not have to go to rehab. I did have to limit my time reading, on the computer, going to my daily gym workout, and even had to stop my bi-weekly yoga practice. Included in my recovery was the end of working full time in a career I had enjoyed for 37 years. All my adult and many of my teen years were spent relishing mental feats and studying to learn an array of new knowledge based skills.
When I was forced to go from 150 rpm way down to 5 rpm daily I began seeing how all this time I had been distracting myself. Some of my distractions were good. I meditated. I did yoga and qi gong. I journaled. I volunteered . I believed with all my heart and soul I was participating with like hearted kindred spirits making the world a better place to exist. It was not until I could do less than the minimum that I awakened to see my workaholism overlapped into daily hours of keeping myself busy.
My tribal community of monkey minds that had probably always lived inside my head , in my now quiet and still life , gathered in circles of inner meetings often. Without my distractions of the greatest kind those monkeys gathered in their tribal circle several times a day and night. The noise they generated was out of control.
I decided with nothing else to occupy my great mental abilities I would inventory my monkey tribe. Initially it was not a simple task for as soon as one monkey thought entered my headspace that one would grab a nearby vine swinging into a tree as two more appeared inside my rapid firing thoughts!
Here are some of the monkeys: What if even though I have not been diagnosed with a language disorder due to my brain opportunity..one shows up later? What if I run out of money since I have no idea when or if I will return to work? I wonder if my long distance lover will disappear because he may not be getting his needs met. How will my muscles change since I am not working out daily? What if our country continues going into the downward spiral because of the division in opinions and beliefs? Will I be able to resolve issues with my siblings and accept them totally as they are before we all die? Did my co-workers really think I was a team player last month? When do I need to get new brakes on my car? Am I learning fast enough how to speak and understand Spanish?
Oh these monkeys and their constant chatter were wearing me out! No wonder I could not go to sleep easily or was it because my brain was working out solutions and what had happened to my calm spiritual demeanor?
I had to find a way to stop the tribe. Then I realized I could not force them to stop. I would have to find a way to co-exist with these chatty beasts!
Breathing slowly and mindfully helped much! I had meditated off and on for years. Perhaps daily or twice daily mindfulness techniques would help. After all it seemed to help those Zen monks sitting in caves and on mountain tops.So I began thirty minutes of attention to my slow breathing. Then discovered if I listened to solfeggio tones of various hz levels along with my mindfulness practices the monkey tribe seemed to relax. OOOOH it occurred to me that before I was so greatly aware of all those monkeys and busy all the time it was different. Another element of solution appeared: awareness comes before acceptance! I forgot I knew that!! Now that I was aware of the monkey tribe I might be able to deal with them!
As my brain began returning to its state of equilibrium following its trauma, and I returned to reading, writing, researching , and the gym, I was grateful I had learned to never again ignore my monkey tribe who still lives in my mind. I now had ways to cope and my little monkeys had morphed into slower moving turtles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s