Cut It Out

When my brother and I were young, my parents were always telling us to ‘cut it out’.
Tsk. Cut it out. Sigh.
Just cut it out, would ya?
Cut it out, I said! 

When we heard this, we were supposed to stop the bad behavior. Immediately. Maybe we were making too much noise, too much mess, too much drama, too much stress. Whatever it was that we were doing was somehow proving toxic to the parental environment. I completely understand the sentiment now, because I tell my kids to cut stuff out. All the time.

Do you know the origin of the phrase? The etymology? Maybe it has something to do with a bad stretch of fabric? Or mold growing on cheese? Eyes on potatoes? The live wire in a bomb? Where did it come from?  If you know, please tell me. I’ve been thinking about it since Tuesday when I met with my breast surgeon. She is literally going to cut it out for me.

My boobs are currently like ticking time bombs, moldy cheese, poorly dyed wool, misbehaving children… The only logical thing to do, is to cut out the toxic offenders.

It’s an easy decision when cancer is involved. Just cut it out!  If your appendix is poisoning you? Just cut it out. If your gall bladder is full of stones. If delivering your breech baby is going to kill you…You get the picture. Life and death. You make a decision. No hemming and hawing. Just cut that shit out.

What about the things that are killing us ever so slowly? We all have toxic habits, behaviors, relationships, thought patterns.  Even if we are self aware enough to know these things are doing damage, we can’t just have them surgically removed. (Lobotomies are frowned upon). These things have to be released slowly, carefully, mindfully, and willfully.

When I started practicing yoga it was the first time in my life that I really focused on my breath.  I learned to make my exhales longer than my inhales. As I did this, I trained my body to let go of more than I was taking on. This allowed me to make more space in my life. I started letting go of things that weren’t necessary. I even quit smoking without realizing that I was quitting.

Then I started meditating. And I faced my monkey head on. Whenever thoughts popped into my head that were unnecessary I let them go. I practiced releasing toxic ideas with every exhale. On the days when the monkey was particularly obnoxious I told him to cut it out.

Tsk. Come on now, monkey. Cut it out. Back to the breath.

I started treating the monkey in my head like I treat my children. If my kid was saying some of the ridiculous crap that the monkey was saying I’d certainly tell them to cut it out.

If your child were saying things like ‘I’m not good enough’, you would tell them to cut it out. If they were saying that everything was awful and their life was shit, and they didn’t deserve success, you would tell them to cut it out. If they were slowly killing their self with drugs, alcohol, and risky behavior, you would tell them to cut it out. Wouldn’t you? I’d like to think we all would.

So, I adopted the monkey and trained him to cut out the toxic thoughts. Almost effortlessly, one by one, I have been releasing toxic behaviors from my life. I’m just cutting it all out.

It’s been much the same as cutting out a cancer. And I’m hoping that there is no recurrence.

I’m hoping I cut it out once and for all.


  1. Shanti my friend. My heart is yours forever. If you need anything else…just ask. I am with you always. And I am smiling at your loveliness and depth. You are a guru to all who you touch. Blessings and most of all Peace be with you and your breath….

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