I was very enlightened by this blog post over at Magpie Speak. Seems like a Monkey Mind is what I’ve been suffering from all these years. I know it is….the Buddhist definition of Monkey Mind intrigues me and definately fits. I used to blame my flittery flowery thoughts on creativity-funny to think it’s a pseudo monkey up there who’s responsible for it. This concept definately explains my fanciful thoughts, my inability to settle on what it is I want to do in my life, my ‘flightiness'(my mother’s favorite term for me), and my multitudes of creative distractions. It might seem like adult ADD, but I love the idea of calling it having a monkey mind because it’s cuter.
The Author of Magpie Speaks, Rachelle Mee-Chapman says:
“Now, I’m about as far from Buddhist as they come. I could use some more Buddhism in my life – seeing as I rarely live in the Now and spend most of my time dreaming into the Future, or picking apart my Past. But every time I read a book about Buddhism I want to throw it at someone’s head. It’s so damn Zen and I am so damn not.”
I absolutely agree with her. I’ve also dipped my toe in books written about the Zen life, striving for enlightenment, meditating and all that Buddhist stuff. I find myself rolling my eyes, and sighing with exasperation because I just can’t buy it. It is like me trying to fit my size 11w feet in a shoe I desperately want that only comes in a size 8. I really want that dang shoe-(it’s gonna make me look so sexy,) and yes, I can crunch and shove my poor feet in them and hobble around getting nowhere fast; but we all know the shoes really don’t fit, and just trying to be someone I’m not can be downright painful. Maybe Rachelle’s right, the monkey mind doesn’t want to be ‘Zen’ because that would inevitably bring a stillness to the monkey and who really can successfully cage a wild beast? It’s very liberating to me when someone like Rachelle can say something like this that makes so much sense and is so practical-it causes a light to go on in the darkness, and I can stop fooling myself into thinking I can become something I’m not. Some things just aren’t for everyone. I’m not a Zen chick. That’s it. I’m taking my books back to the library and giving away the ones I purchased. That will make the monkey very happy.
I got to thinking in the shower today about why I can’t figure out the path to take for the second half of my life. Then I realized-maybe that path isn’t determined yet. Maybe all this ‘monkey mindness’ is equivalent to that funny blipping you hear when you talk to a computerized phone and it’s trying to identify you. My mind is in the process of blipping, taking in all the info I’m gathering from life, new experiences, all the dreams I have tucked away and is processing them. The answer just hasn’t come yet. Maybe it would help to just sit back and let the bleeping continue and then one day, just like it did in the shower the answer will come-and suddenly the path to the future will be visible and easy to navigate. Until then, it’s as if a great fog has settled and I can’t see a direction to take because it’s murkey and unsure. I felt great relief when this thought popped in my head…almost like a prayer was suddenly answered.
Here is something very powerful I read on another artist’s blog-a relatively successful artist. I felt I was being spoon fed wisdom after I read it and digested it.
Fight Your Way Through…
NOBODY tells this to people who are beginners.
I wish someone had told me.
All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have
But there is a gap. For the first couple years you make stuff,
it’s just not that good.
It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But
your taste, the thing that got
you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your
work disappoints you.
A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. Most
poeple I know who do
interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know
our work doesn’t
have the SPECIAL THING that we want it to have. We all go
through this. And
if you are just starting our or you are still in this phase,
you gotta know that it’s
normal and the most important thing you can do is DO A LOT OF
yourself on a deadline so that every week you finish one
piece. It’s only by going
through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and
your work will be as good
as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do
this than anyone I’ve ever met.
It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take awhile. You just
gotta fight your way
through. by Ira Glass
I hope some of this helps you. Let me know your thoughts on any of what I’ve written.