Monkey Mind

In 2014, I decided to rent my house out for a year and try ‘Landlording’. It was a good experience and forced me to cull a whole lotta stuff and clean the place from top to bottom after 12 years of cocooning. When I moved back in 2015, a little reluctantly (I loved my rental street and neighbours) I didn’t have the same joie de vivre as when I first bought the house in 2003 and it took a while to ‘unpack’. After several months I noticed I wasn’t using the office much. It had become a bit of a depository for ‘stuff’. A friend of mine came over shortly after I came to that realization and was ‘aghast’. “Di, you’re becoming a hoarder!” We both laughed, but when she left, I wasted no time in reorganizing and cleaning the office and getting it back to its former glory. “A hoarder?” That was a wake-up call. My place has always been ‘busy’, ‘cosy’ and the like, but I suddenly became aware of my surroundings. “No more stuff!” was my new motto.

I’ve probably added one or 2 things since then, and if I do, I’ll remove something. It’s a pretty small place. But, just weeks ago, I noticed when passing the office that it was, again, a hoarder’s paradise. I quietly slid the Indian motif curtain across the door and carried on. Life got in the way. I’d get to the office – eventually. In the meantime, life just didn’t get in the way, it was kind of unravelling. I was finding my socks rolled up, under the TV, my 4 pairs of reading glasses were nowhere to be found, I was putting flax seed in my coffee instead of sugar (well they do kind of look the same) and I still can’t find my huge tub of coconut oil or the 2 wine glasses I had out when I had company. And other signs of being ‘gaslighted’. By me! I wondered if it was just that I was busy and my brain was on 50% power instead of 100%. Kind of like my Blackberry.

So, last week, a few friends and I went to see Sandra Shamas.  In her very funny show, she ended by saying that she started making her bed, because who better to create a welcoming home for but one’s self. “Make the bed?” I’m pretty sure the last time that happened, I was forced to by my mother in high school. (Okay, maybe on the odd occasion I have an overnight guest). But Sandra the fairy had sprinkled me with a good life lesson. I made my bed last week. Once. A start. And after not being able to find a plate to eat off or a cup to drink out of, I spent the better part of the week doing the dishes.

It was yesterday though that I realized the monkeys in my brain had moved in to stay. My mom had emailed a few items she wanted picked up. A few packs of smokes and a jug of OJ. “Jug of OJ?” I thought. Hmm, okay, I’ve never had that request. Maybe “OJ” but never a jug. So, off I go on my ritual Sunday drive to Thornhill.

When I get there she tells me about the problem with the shower. It was leaking. I went to see if I could fix it. No. I brought lunch, so I started cooking it up when I heard mom in the other room. “Did you bring the booze?” Booze? “The jug of CC” she called out. I started laughing like a lunatic. I had wondered why when I put the OJ in the fridge she had one in there. “Omg, I read OJ”. She laughed. We laughed. I started to realize I would be making a trip to the LCBO and probably Home Depot (the shower hose). After lunch we had coffee. When I poured the milk (which I use on occasion when I forget – often – to bring my own non-dairy milk to her place) it curdled. She laughed. I laughed. I got my coat on and off I went. Less than 45 minutes I was back with fresh milk, the hose and the ‘Jug of CC’.

I got my handy girl mindset on and went into the shower and voila! No, not quite. I came out and it was still leaking a bit. I think we need a few washers Mom. I’ll pick some up and when I come back next week I’ll bring them. “Okay. Oh well.” Mom said. “It’s better than before though”, I sheepishly reply.

As I’m cleaning up before I leave, I take the packaging from the hose and see these 2 little black rings. I bring them out to her. She laughs. I laugh. We laugh. Again. There they were. Two little washers tied up with a twist tie. “What did the directions say dear”, says Mom. “Well, if I’d read them, they would’ve said “put washer in before twisting the shower head to the hose”. She looked at me with that motherly look. Yeah yeah, we laughed some more. I felt like I was drunk. Or losing it. Or both. I went back in the shower and put the washers in. She came in later to check and asked, “Why is the floor of the shower wet dear?” I didn’t laugh. “Mom. Really? This is like a Laurel & Hardy episode!” Then I laughed. She laughed. You know the drill. When I left, I was tentative. I carefully got into my car, with it’s dodgy driver mirror in place with red duct tape (someone had done a hit-mirror-and-run the other night) looked in every other mirror, drove 40 kms/hour all the way to the DVP and thought I was losing my mind.

I arrived home safely. THEN… made the bed, did the dishes and cleaned the office. I still haven’t found the wine glasses or tub of coconut oil (although I did find 2 of the 4 reading glasses and a pair of someone else’s under my bed) but I will.

The Buddha calls this mental state “Kapicitta.” ‘Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.’  At least there’s a name for it. Apparently for 2000 years now.


*All these photos/memes/cartoons were nicked off the Internet

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