That Dang Ol’ Monkey Mind
“Monkey Chatter” Mixed media on recycled cardboard
In VLOG#19, I touched lightly on the topic of pushing my creative boundaries and taking myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to share a song I wrote and give making a music tutorial a try but found myself wrestling with what has been called the inner critic, lizard brain and monkey mind. I am beginning to understand that the self defeating voice, with the perfect daily attendance record, will never be content with what I am doing especially when trying something new or challenging. But that is OK, it is doing it’s job and once you begin to acknowledge that voice is not the real you, the sooner you can dismiss it as the fiction spinner that it is. I really do believe that you can come to terms with the monkey mind by simply realizing that it is just trying to keep you safe but is way too paranoid and over zealous with performing it’s duties.
Obviously, I did not die from playing my ukulele in my video and I would bet that you will not die either if you give your self a little nudge outside the perimeter of your own comfort zone. I feel that to really experience creative growth we must get to know the gatekeeper of our conscious thoughts that does all it is able to keep us in a safe place. Yes, this area can be comfortable but it is also a place where zero artistic expansion can occur. And if you stay there for too long you very well may end up feeling uninspired, bored and artistically unsatisfied. The muse and the monkey mind do not mingle well together. We all struggle with doubts in our abilities and at one point or another it has stopped us from trying new things or from breaking away from familiar routines. I am using art and creativity as a focal point for this post, but really it can be applied to all areas of your life.
Try taking on an attitude of “whats the worse thing that can happen?” Then reach for the purple marker instead of the black one or try switching to oil pastels instead of a colored pencils. Experiment with painting on a piece of wood instead of canvas for a change of pace. Be bold. Push your limits! Yes it is possible you may end up making mud or what your lizard brain will dramatically label “a disaster” The real truth is there are lessons in that mess that can be learned from and expanded upon. The other option is to keep drawing the same thing on the same white piece of paper using the same black pencil as before. And that is alright if those mediums satisfies your artistic cravings. Personally, I prefer to keep learning, prodding and trying new things to see what else is possible. If I can mash up multiple interest in the process then I have entered creative bliss. It does not matter to me what the end result may bring about because during the process I am in my happy land.
By giving ourselves the ok to make mistakes we also allow ourself to grow, open up to discovery and a chance to gain a richer understanding of our real selves as well as tune into our true voices. I will not say that I have completely overcome the self defeating blather that plays on an endless looper inside my mind, but I have gotten much better at accepting it for what it is and doing my best to say “Hello again monkeyhead, I see you are back today but please get out of my way I got stuff to make and a song to sing.”
I sure would like to open up a dialogue with anyone else who is also interested in discussing solutions that have helped you to turn down the volume on that pesky voice in your head. So please leave your comments below and share this post where you think it might reach others who may want to join the discussion.