Mary was not quite sure when the monkey had appeared on her shoulder, but she did know it had been there for several years. The monkey went everywhere with her, chattering and chuntering in her ear. Some days it was louder than others but it was always there. Mary had become used to its constant chatter.
It would incessantly tell her what to, put her down and have an opinion about everything. Monkey loved to make up stories and gossip, about friends, family and people Mary knew, to the point where Mary struggled to get a grip on what was true and what monkey had told her.
Mary had become so used to his constant chatter, she no longer knew what silence looked like. Even as she laid her head on the pillow, exhausted, the monkey whispered in her ear, “ you never got all of your list done Mary, you know that you are going to be in trouble tomorrow with the kids, you’re a bad mother”. Her sleep was tortured by dreams, conjured up by the monkey’s stories.
Mary felt like ‘Joy’ had left the building. Life was one ‘big drag’ and fun was something everybody else had. Occasionally Mary would get sick and tired of the monkey and in a fit of rage, knock him from her shoulder, monkey would sulk for a bit, and then take his place back on her shoulder.
One day Mary bumped into her friend Grace. Grace looked amazing and started to tell Mary all about this new course she had gone to and how it had helped her to start to love life again. Mary decided to confide in Grace about her monkey and how she was feeling about life. Grace totally understood what it was like to be hounded by a monkey and explained how the course had helped her to train her monkey.
Mary signed up to the Mindfulness course the very next week. At first monkey was not happy at all and started to chatter and play up even more, but as the course went on he became quieter and started to join in the exercises. Mary learnt how to meditate and just observe monkey’s chatter, rather than join in and she learnt how to distract monkey by getting him to be there ‘ in the moment’.
Mary found it hard to make time every day for herself to meditate as she had a busy life and had been so used to putting others first. So it was a bit of a ‘ life changer’ to put herself first, but as she did she began to see what was important in her life and prioritise. Of course there was a bit of resistance from family and friends who were used to Mary putting them first, but Mary held her ground and within weeks they could see how much calmer and happy she was, so of course they were too!
So now Mary sleeps more peacefully, eats healthily and takes care of herself, well most of the time, lets be honest she is not ‘Saint Mary”. Monkey has become less interested in Mary and has taken to staying at home, doing the things he likes, eating fruit and having a good scratch.
Occasionally monkey jumps on her shoulder, when events happen in life unexpectedly like they do and old habits return, but Mary knows what to do and how to handle him! Mary has now tamed the monkey.
So the moral of the story is “ monkeys belong in the wild not on your shoulder”.
Or in the words of Allan Lokos, “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.”