The Mindful Monkey Mind
Being a mindful person is difficult, especially if you are a chatterer like me. The past few weeks have been intense filled with emotional talkative hours that has been pushing my brain into a million new directions. That kind of intense. Deep stuff. Work is busy, as usual. Life is stressful, who doesn't feel this way? The new intensity and changes happening around the 'gog and in my life have to do with emotional development and improvements on a personal, spiritual and career level. I have a new co-worker, who is an absolute delight. We are becoming friends both in and out of the office, making my days at work much more enjoyable. I love all of my co-workers, especially the women in my immediate office. I am a lucky person to work with thoughtful smart women who encourage and support one another. Our new addition's presence in the workplace is a gracious addition, and I am learning a lot about myself as she and I learn about each other and navigate our jobs and the changes happening in the workplace.
One of the biggest things about which I've become aware of is learning how to be mindful; listening carefully to people and hearing what someone is saying; allowing another person to speak without interrupting them. New friend is from the West Coast, and has been telling me that what she notices about the East Coast is how many times people interrupt you when you are talking. Ever since she's pointed this out, I too notice it. Maybe it's not just an East/West Coast difference, but it has made me want to allow people to have their say and to allow me mine. Something else I also find myself doing is telling every little story there is about someone - it's judgemental and biased. I would like to unlearn this critical, negative behavior. It's difficult. Positive changes, as my boss wisely told me recently, are still changes, and change can be difficult to accept. Sister, you said a mouth full and you don't know the half of it!
Growing my mind in new directions has had an interesting affect on me, I find that I've become reflective and at the same time, willing to be open and revealing with friends in ways that I haven't been before. I'm not a Roseann Barr type, wanting to air out every weird dark secret both real and imagined. Nor am I so closed off that I'm afraid to discuss my life history for fear that it defines me as who I am now rather than giving the details as to how I came to be. It can be energizing to share your history and stories with someone new, just as it can be bonding and reaffirming to share previously unexplored information with a loved one or friend in your life who's been there for years. Maybe it's seeing one's self in a new light that can be so illuminating. I've been calling my new co-worker/friend, my key-light person. She's helping me to become a better person and to see my behavior and social situations in ways I've never before noticed. This in turn is making my brain go on rapid fire over-load in good ways.
My monkey mind is chattering away, swinging from branch to branch, demanding bananas, attention and checking out each thing along the way with a new curiosity. Now Curious George might have gotten away with this kind of behavior, after all, he had The Man in the Yellow Hat to fix his messes, but I do not have that luxury. Perhaps it's because I did not have a parental figure to protect and over-see my messes when I was growing up. Being a parent to myself was a difficult task. My friend Colleen reminded me of a funny thing I once said (once?! well, there were a few that truly stand out!) I was remarking on how I'm often depressed - that it's been endemic in my life. In my usual sarcastic but funny way I said "I've been depressed since the birth of myself". Which is sad but true. I did not have the guidance and authority in my formative years to reign in the mischief monkey. My big yap has gotten me into heaps of trouble over the years, mouthing off each thought as it happens into my mind instead of carefully considering what I could, should and ought to say.
Quieting the monkey mind and becoming mindful is a long-haul task. As I take steps in a new direction I'm also using tools and changes I currently have, such as what I'm learning in yoga classes and via meditation. There is also the meditative and right/left brain activity of shared biking and exercise, which I've missed with the Sue's/Susan's and other Hearty Girls during this past cold winter. Working out alone has kept me physically fit and ready for the next set of challenges and the Spring and Summer season, but I miss the emotional connectivity with my partners. Since I'm in training mode now, setting forth for this season's Danskin SheRox Triathlon, assorted bike tours and centuries, Mother's Day Breast Cancer 5K and various and sundry other physical pursuits, I also want to work out the old grey matter. I'd like to be more direct without being abrupt or argumentative. I want to be a mindful person. I'll let you know how I'm doing as the journey progresses.