I have a medical procedure scheduled for today, so for the past few days my Monkey Mind has been on overdrive.
This morning when I woke up he was already wide awake, fully caffeinated, and raring to go. And he had a shovel! He was busily digging up all of my past procedures, pains, losses, sadness, traumas. And then he started planting seeds of future hypothetical trials and tribulations, diseases and doom.
I needed to clear my head so I took a long walk to one of my favorite spots in the park, the waterfalls. I knew when I got there I would be able to sit quietly and listen to the water flowing and find some peace.
After a few minutes, I found a brisk and steady pace. I tapped into my breathing, slow and deep. As my body and breath fell into a rhythm I could feel myself slowly decompressing. The monkey was starting to settle down.
I said good morning to the county workers who were cutting the grass. Is it a good day for a walk? One of them asked me.
Every day is a good day for a walk! I replied.
Amen, he said, and we all smiled.
I walked along the river and spotted a beautiful bird. I pulled out my phone to snap a photo, as I slowly walked closer and closer. A woman passing by saw the bird and stopped.
Isn’t it just beautiful? I asked her.
It is, she said. So beautiful, and so still. Could you send me the photo? she asked.
Yes! Of course.
She gave me her phone number and I texted it to her.
As I walked to the falls there were 15 or 20 good mornings exchanged, along with 10 or more smiles. There was more waterfowl. And flowers. And breezes.
By the time I arrived at the falls I realized that I didn’t really need to sit there. My mind was already clear. The monkey was sleeping.
It really is about the journey, as they say, and not the destination. Those little moments along the way, of beauty and connection and smiles and stillness, are everything. And they can be found everywhere.
I have to remind myself of this, over and over. And I will relearn it, again and again, in 100 different ways.
I hope someday, the monkey will realize it too.