A friend commented on my "monkey mind" when I split our conversation into maybe a fifth or tenth tangent without completing a point about any of the subjects. "Say what, huh?" He quietly explained how our minds can behave like monkeys: aggressive, fearful, scattered... At the time, his patient voice soothed and comforted my monkey brain, but the conversation stayed with me ever since.
Google "monkey mind" and you'll find lots of articles on the topic. Here's one by Forbes. In it, the author suggests the following 8 ways to quiet your mind:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Color, count, recite, run
Talk to someone or write
Reword the rhetoric
Obviously, my first pick is "color"! Though to be honest, on a good day I use most of these techniques. On a bad day, well, probably none of them. I certainly don't want to present myself as holier than thou about such things. I'm a work in progress. This painting is the latest in my art therapy efforts where I explore my past jobs and try to soothe my monkey mind from yelling "Die, die, die!" to people in my past.
This painting made me think about the job in different ways. I did a lot of good work there, and I wanted to show my portfolio on the canvas -- but that wasn't the point. It was more important to remember how many variations of stripes, dots, hollies, snowflakes, and hearts I created. Also, the fights with China through online translation services, the complex math and technical drawings my coworkers refused to do, the number of Advils I swallowed for migraines.
And for all of that, working my way through the painting lets me find gratitude. I'm a far better artist for having working there. It's just been hard for me to feel thankful when the people were so awful. Painting lets me slow down and quiet my monkey mind enough to feel that gratitude. It also helped me discover aspects of working that matter to me.
|Actual comic by Bill Watterson which I hung in my office at that job.|
I love Calvin and Hobbes!
Onto the next adventure, being the job before that, which had even more awful people. To give you a clue, my first step for that painting was to look up prison records of a couple of them. You can't say my life hasn't been colorful! But it's like the reindeer jumping off the canvas, the point is to leave these people behind and to find happiness in the experiences.