The Monkey mind is a real and often frustrating phenomenon. These 5 steps will help you tame the monkey – forever!
The Monkey mind is a real and often frustrating phenomenon. These 5 steps will help you tame the monkey – forever!
It doesn’t work for everyone (GASP!).
Of course, this isn’t what we’re told about this powerful, ancient practice. The list of amazing meditation benefits for mind, body, and spirit are practically endless (and easy to Google). Need to get more grounded and focused? Stressed out? Experiencing pain? Want to connect to your inner guidance? Meditation is the cure for all your ills.
But if you ask the average person, they’ll tell you (likely in great detail) the TRUTH about meditation; how they can’t sit still or quiet their mind, they can’t fit it into their day, or they tried it and didn’t like it or didn’t get any effect.
The true dirty secret of meditation involves the pressure we feel to always be doing something, and to do it as a means to an end, which creates for us a meditation practice that is more like a checklist than personal development. In turn, this can lead to some pretty undesirable outcomes.
I always have the urge to write. It’s almost the same as breathing for me. I don’t always have the follow through to do it, however, even when I feel the desire burning.
Aren’t we all like this in many ways?
We all have these passions that drive us at a deep level, and yet we so often don’t follow through on the call. We feel the desire toward something new and different – maybe it’s still unspecified and unintelligible but it still burns deep inside with an urgency that reminds us that there is indeed something tangible behind the longing.
Yet we and sit and stare at the blank page.
Not all of us are writers, of course. Life-breath comes in all forms of unique and varied activities, most often of a creative nature. And by creative, I mean activities that are soul-fulfilling and result in something new (physically or energetically) where nothing previously existed.
For example, a painting or a poem that just has to come out. Or perhaps a newly sculpted body from healthy and active choices. Possibly a newfound joy brought forth by helping to make someone else’s day a little brighter. Maybe even the simple act of choosing to be happy in the face of great challenges. The opportunities for creating something new are endless, and not relegated to conventional “art.”
But we tell ourselves, “I’m not creative.” Or, “I don’t have the stamina.” Or, “I’ll text her later.” Or, “I’m not worthy of being happy.” And we put ourselves off another day, another week, another year.
Truth is, I’ve never liked starting anything from scratch. I need a recipe, a guide, an established starting point. I don’t like to reinvent the wheel.
However, our creative nature isn’t very forgiving of us when we don’t flex our “ambiguity” muscles; that is, our ability to work and be at least moderately successful in a place of ambiguity and uncertainty. Yes, we can chug along through life starting only with the help of someone else’s previously-forged cues. But our creative spark suffers in this mindset, one driven mostly by fear and a sense of unworthiness.
“I’m not good enough.” “What if I fail?” “What if someone doesn’t like what I produce?” These thoughts keep us avoiding that blank page.
However, this inability to start from a blank slate, to restart after a habit has been broken, to reach out to someone who might not understand our true intentions, or to step out in service for fear of failure or rejection doesn’t only hurt us. What we’re not doing now hurts those who would be helped by us. Uplifted by us. Inspired by us. Healed by us.
As I sat here this week, feeling the urge to write and also feeling the familiar panic upon staring at my blank page, I ran through a list of possible topics in my head, mentally discarding each one. I sidetracked myself with other legitimate work tasks. I decided writing could wait a day, or a week. I ate lunch.
And then, I remembered my book writing path. I truly had no plan for writing a book. I avoided it for nearly two years until I finally decided I’d just start each day with a blank page and write what comes to mind – no matter how unintelligible, ridiculous, silly, or embarrassing it might be. And so The Angel Inside was birthed.
And I remembered the many times I’ve started writing a poem and I penned the first words that came to me until I got into a flow. And later when I went to edit, I realized the first line or two didn’t make any sense, so I simply cut it out. And the rest was a nice poem. Or at least decent.
And that’s all we’re really being asked for anyway. Nice. Decent. Our best efforts consistently applied.
Today, I opened an empty document for the second or third time with no thoughts at the ready. And within a few deep breaths, I heard “blank page.” And I remembered that for me, the action of writing is the catalyst that opens the floodgate of more words.
In other words, taking even small action action in a forward direction – simply doing SOMETHING – is often the catalyst for the more in-depth work that follows.
And so I started typing. One word led to the next and to the next. Eventually, through a hazy, forward and back approach, and with lots of editing, the words on the page started to take shape on their own, without much conscious thought to structure, form, or outline, a process not unlike the quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
In my early adulthood, I never saw the value of a blank page. I was so fearful of not knowing where I was going that I rarely allowed myself to know or grow in any way that didn’t follow a prescriptive path or that seemed absolutely prudent.
But no more. I’m still fearful of course. I don’t know an honest person who isn’t. However, now that I’ve experienced the mysteries and miracles that a hazy, faith-filled path can bring, I can’t go back. I won’t go back.
And my wish for you is that you will take out that blank page that’s calling you, breathe into your heart, and create what needs to come from within.
Because that is the power of a blank page.
P.S. If you can relate to this, let me know! Leave a comment below or on my Facebook page. And please share with your friends!
As a writer, I understand the power of words. Words often flow through me, inspired by something both outside me, and innately found within. At the same time, I still have conscious choice over the words I ultimately select. I often spend a great deal of working on flow and rhythm in an effort to create a style that doesn’t change the message.
And yet, even I struggle at times to remember the power that comes with certain word choices, or specific phrases. We become numb to the meaning of words that are used frequently. Writing is often about trying to use familiar words in a different way, to bring new meaning to phrases that we’ve heard what seems like a million times. It’s a unique and elusive challenge.
I woke up during the night recently thinking of a phrase that is used constantly. It’s one of the simplest phrases imaginable, yet it packs so much power that I doubt any of us even realize what we can do or have or be with just these two words. And to be awakened from sleep? Something deep within realizes this message is needed to be shared now. The two words?
How many times do you think you use these words in a single day? I can think of 10 right now. I’m sure I said all of these before noon today.
• I am hungry.
• I am tired.
• I am aggravated.
• I am here.
• I am stuck in traffic.
• I am late for work.
• I am headed to a meeting.
• I am on the phone.
• I am sore.
• I am meeting with her today.
On the surface, “I am” may not seem so powerful. Yet, underneath it’s simple structure is a complex world of meaning.
The phrase “I am” (and specifically “am”) is a form of being. When we say “I am,” we generally follow it up with some description. So in essence we are saying that we embody whatever follows the phrase. We are tired, sick, sad, etc.
It seems simple enough, however, it creates a spiritual problem for us when we consider whether we want to describe our being with words like sick, sad, tired, and so on. These words may, in fact, describe our current state of FEELING. But are they truly indicative of our current state of BEING?
Taking this thought process one step further, there is evidence that we become what we think and say. This is why athletes visualize themselves winning competitions and great actors visualize themselves giving acceptance speeches; they know the power of our thoughts to create reality.
When we think or say to ourselves, “I am tired,” we are creating a reality in which the person that we are is tired. That one isn’t too difficult to swallow. But what about when we say, “I am depressed.” Or “I am broke.” What kind of reality does that create for us? A state of being where we become something that we most likely don’t want.
Perhaps this seems like semantics. Yet, I invite you to say the following phrases out loud. As you read them, sense how you feel. Experience their energy in your body.
• I am broke.
• I am depressed.
• I am mad.
• I am stupid.
• I am not worthy.
• I am hopeless.
• I am fat.
If we’re being honest and in touch with our senses, we’ll likely agree that it feels bad to read these words. Nevertheless, this is how so many of us talk to ourselves on a regular basis. What if we changed the wording to create a different effect? Read aloud the phrases below once again.
• I feel broke.
• I feel depressed.
• I feel mad.
• I feel stupid.
• I feel not worthy.
• I feel hopeless.
• I feel fat.
We know feelings are fleeting. They come and go almost as quickly as our thoughts. And they change rapidly, depending on internal and external experiences. Feelings are fluid, while beingness is more solid. Feelings are somewhat untrustworthy, since they change so much, while beingness is, at its core, who we are.
We don’t want to BE broke, depressed, stupid, unworthy. It’s okay to FEEL that way sometimes. But we want to let that feeling float on through as it needs to, not let it come to rest in our souls and occupy our beingness.
I urge each of us (myself included) to evaluate how we speak to ourselves, not only our self-talk in general but the specific words and phrases that we use. Where can we be gentler, kinder, more uplifting in our language? Where can we shift our reality by shifting our choice of words?
If this resonated with you, I invite you to comment below and share with your friends.
Local Louisville women, join me for the Awakening Angels Circle, a sacred spiritual group for women who are waking up to the inner truth of who they are and why they’re here and need support, guidance, and inspiration along the way. Starting May 27.
Ever heard this joke?
One day the different parts of the body were having an argument to see which should be in charge.
The brain said, “I do all the thinking so I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”
The eyes said, “I see everything and let the rest of you know where we are, so I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”
The hands said, “Without me we wouldn’t be able to pick anything up or move anything. So I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”
The stomach said, “I turn the food we eat into energy for the rest of you. Without me, we’d starve. So I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”
The legs said, “Without me we wouldn’t be able to move anywhere. So I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”
Then the rectum said, “I think I should be in charge.”
All the rest of the parts said, “You?!? You don’t do anything! You’re not important! You can’t be in charge.”
So the rectum closed up.
After a few days, the legs were all wobbly, the stomach was all queasy, the hands were all shaky, the eyes were all watery, and the brain was all cloudy. They all agreed that they couldn’t take any more of this and agreed to put the rectum in charge.
The moral of the story?
You don’t have to be the most important to be in charge, any a**hole can do it!
We all know our gut is an integral part of our body. Our guts, not just the rectum but also the large and small intestines, are invaluable to helping us feel GOOD. And when they don’t feel good, when they aren’t working well, NONE of our parts feel good.
I know this firsthand because I’ve had IBS my whole adult life. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is one of those catch-all diagnoses which means they’ve ruled out everything else and you still have issues. It often results in great abdominal discomfort: gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramps and spasms, pain, and misery. Poorly treated, it is no fun.
And treatment isn’t straightforward! Specialists give drugs that provide relief for some. For me, the super-gentle, non-habit-forming intestinal muscle relaxer (aka, laxative) simply stopped working. For many people, diet is a huge concern, with many otherwise healthy foods having to be eliminated (think whole grains or even whole food groups, like dairy). Coffee, the drink of the gods, is a gut irritant. And so is alcohol! All the fun can be sucked out of life with IBS.
More importantly, having all those unresolved gut problems can wreak havoc on your gut feelings too. Gut feelings as in INTUITION. How, you might ask, does having an irritated, agitated, stopped up, overactive gut affect our intuition?
Well, you see…we have energy centers throughout our body, often referred to as chakras. These areas are integral in the health of our energy body, as well as our physical body, allowing the universal energy (qi, chi, prana), which both surrounds us and is part of us, to flow smoothly. When it doesn’t flow smoothly, because of illness, stress, trauma, or other imbalances, we get blockages to our energy flow. These can be temporary or long-term, depending on the situation and what we do to resolve it.
One of these energy centers—the sacral chakra—is located directly over our gut. Whenever we have gut issues, that energy center is affected. The sacral chakra is the energy center involved in creation – both procreation and the creation of new ideas, thoughts, and behaviors. We often think of the third eye as the seat of our intuition, and it does play a primary role in being able to see clearly and with inner wisdom. However, the power of creation is also a natural connection to our intuition. Seeing clearly is only part of the puzzle; we must have enough support and strength from our creative center to bring forth our vision into the world.
This is an important point to remember, as so many people go into spiritual development thinking they need to focus on their upper chakras, especially the third eye and crown, in order to connect. In reality, it’s about BALANCE, like everything else in our lives. Not only balancing the chakras, but also balancing the body, mind, and spirit. It’s why we nurture ALL our parts!
Because I’ve suffered so much over the years with IBS, lack of balance, and their collective impact on my natural intuitive nature, I’ve cultivated a few tips that may help YOU to get your gut—and therefore, your intuition—back in order.
Eat a gut-friendly diet – There are many diets out there; the key is to find that one that works for you! Generally speaking, avoiding standard gut irritants and identifying any food sensitivities is crucial. These (sadly) most often include: coffee (and caffeine in general, so no sodas either), alcohol, greasy foods, spicy foods, acidic foods, dairy, and wheat/gluten. You may not need to completely eliminate all of these foods, however. Test each one out by eliminating for a week and then adding back in to see what causes irritation for your unique system. For me, I can handle dairy most of the time (which is great because I LOVE ice cream), but eliminating wheat has been super helpful. I also have sensitivity to eggs, so I avoid those too. It makes breakfast difficult (no bread, no eggs!) but my belly feels sooo much better when I tend to its needs and it helps keep my sacral chakra clear and flowing!
On a side note, I also recently learned that there’s such an ailment as “irritable bladder;” I know because I have it too! Apparently some bodies are just extra-sensitive. The dietary suggestions for this are pretty much the same as for irritable bowel, not surprisingly since they’re in the same area (apparently they often occur together…who knew?), which also means they’re both governed by the sacral chakra. The good part of nurturing your intuition is that you start to become much more aware of your body and can identify when something is off. I’ve known for a while I had something new going on, it just took some time figure out exactly what.
Balance all your chakras daily – You only have to know a few basics about chakras to help them stay balanced. You have 7 main chakras:
While sitting quietly, take several deep, slow breaths. Then bring your awareness to the root chakra and imagine breathing in cleansing red light into the root. Do this until the area feels clear, then move your awareness up to the sacral area and breathe in orange light. Continue through each chakra and color until you feel clear and refreshed, or until you feel like you’re finished. As an alternative, you can breathe white light into each chakra, or even simply breathe white light into your body, starting with your feet and moving up to your crown. This process should take 5-7 minutes, unless you feel the need to stay with an area longer.
It’s important to balance all your chakras, not just the ones that seem blocked. The key is balance and focusing only on one or two can cause them to become out of balance instead. You can put extra focus onto blocked chakras, but be sure to work with all of them during a session.
Flex your creative muscles – The gut is the area of creative energy – it needs to create! There are so many options to flex your creative muscles, and there’s not requirement to be a pro. If you like painting, drawing, or other visual arts, make time for that. If you like writing (ME, ME!), make that a priority. Perhaps you have some unfinished projects (or some you’ve never even started) that need to be brought to life. Don’t put it off one more day! These stagnant creative energies get stuck in the sacral area and they need to be released (and keep in mind, sex is a creative energy too…maybe you need more of that)!
As a reminder, it’s important to keep our gut happy in order to keep our intuition flowing! A happy gut grows our intuition, which in turn, helps us be more aware of what’s really going on with us. So eat some good foods, create some interesting things, and be sure to keep those chakras clear!
Not sure where to start? Reach out to me for additional tips, tools, or one-on-one chakra healing!
Until we connect again,
P.S. If any part of this article resonated with you, please leave a comment below and share on your favorite social media site!