Monkwatch, Meditation & Barrel of Monkeys
Updated: Jun 14, 2020
Hey Howdy my name is kitty aka the escapee @escapewithkitty leaving my birth country Australia is one of my favourite things
The anticipation the airports flying the adventure that awaits I love it all & I have no doubt that my desire to adventure the planet was fuelled by my first international experience
As an AFS exchange student to Malaysia I was just 17 years of age my parents waved goodbye to me at Sydney International airport knowing I wouldn’t return home for 12 months?????? #whatweretheythinking #thatsablog
Ever since this 12 month excursion my heart has been in my backpack ….. I travel light 25L access all areas carry on only use it as a pillow on trains backpack….. ah adventure my old pal.
And so it was as I headed off to Laos on my bucket list land of mystical adventures, sticky rice, monks & roadside dinner squirrels nb I love squirrels and could never eat one. But that didn’t stop the intrigue… digressing is habitual.
I have a regular daily meditation practice … sometimes its 5 minutes mostly its about 20 and I feel better for it.
Meditation was introduced early in my life… unbeknowns to my 12 year old self at school camp they introduced a yoga nidra rebranded as relaxation a clever strategy to no doubt control 180 camp crazy kids…. If I was a high school teacher I would yoga nidra in every class.
It was a long time between meditations….. apart from the occasional silence in psychologists appointment’s to check if I was nuts … unbelievably NO ONE EVER recommended meditation a remedy to assist with my often quiet debilitating anxiety… I was like so awesome at holding my breath. I had to find it, it…being both my breath & meditation, myself.
Enter Barrel of Monkeys:
Who would have ever thought that the key ring version of this game was a meditation let a lone a life saving device…….
I find my self in my car pulled over ruminating to the point where my head might explode, tears are a given. I pull out that little game & just focus on pulling the 13 little red monkeys out of their tiny blue barrel. They all have to link arms to get out like a little family… kind of like in Lilo & Stitch where they say “Ohana means family no one gets left behind”…. no monkey was getting left behind, I got them all out safely. I don’t know how long that took… but I felt weirdly relieved when the task was completed & my brain had stopped spinning & a wet cheek the only remnants of my tears.
Barrel of monkeys went everywhere with me for a few years. I gave them to people as gifts. I mean I am pretty dam sure that I singularly caused a resurgence in the games popularity.
I was still a little nutty but a better version of nutty,
Not being competitive or yang in any way (cough cough Egypt anyone cause she is living in De Nial) natch I went to a Bikrims yoga class got my yang on & discovered the quickest way to get to a mini meditation in savasana between every posture and a longer one at the end.
I still hadn’t figured out that breathing was an essential part of a yoga practice….. pranayama life force, control of breath….. oh yeah baby i have tonnes of that. Am pretty sure it has taken me 8 years just to re learn to breathe in a posture.
Yoga & meditation have been an essential part of my mostly adult life (like after I turned 38) (I say mostly cause I still behave like a kid just ask my daughter) I have found a lot of peace sitting still (my mum never thought I would EVER be able to do that) and breathing. Seriously teachers…. kids will benefit from a learned meditation practice. #silenceisgolden
So travels all over the globe and particularly in South East Asia have found me in the most extraordinary places!!! I love adventuring & now take time out of my adventures to enjoy my daily yoga & meditation bliss, setting my intention for the day & practising gratitude.
I have to admit I became a little obsessed with Monks the saffron against the green & often gritty back drop of the Laos streetscape. Laos was where I first meditated with monks in a temple, admittedly I was a little to nervous to just enter their domain #sologirltraveller
Luckily I made a friend in Laos who took me to my first in temple meditation (he invented #monkwatch) I didn’t feel like we were intruding as we sat at the back & listened, he shared his meditation experiences with me & how he came to be as practiced as he was & still is
Without getting to squidgy It was a moment in time and it took me on a journey of all the beautiful spiritual places that I had been not just monuments, artefacts, churches, mosques & temples but architectural wonders, galleries, mountains, gardens, oceans & skies and animals places people & critters … it was love … cause that’s what it felt like I was surrounded with… love. Just in case you were thinking that there was a romantic happening na ah, sorry to disappoint. We are still mates today and quite often exchange #monkwatch snaps as we travel the world #thepeopleyoumeet #traveltribe #joy #happiness #laughter #noadultjiggyjiggy
So how do you get started?????? ..obviously, my route was the long way home…… hopefully the five points below are a slightly (slightly) less arduous task, but I will never say its an easy task
Make an effort
My dad used to tell me it took 21 days to create a habit … so use that as a milestone, commit time & space to creating your practice.
Create a space
Of course you can meditate anywhere … but the easier way to get started is to make it an attractive place to go.
Pick a quiet space, light a candle, sit on a cushion (get your butt off the floor) make it comfortable
Turn off technology distractions – #blackholethievesoftime
Find stillness & believe in the breath
once you are present in your space & quieten your mind… that’s a hard phrase, I wont lie. but there are ways….
use the breath: slow it down and focus on just the sound of your breath 6 counts in one… two… three… four… five… six…. then six counts out one… two… three… four… five… six… all the way down to the belly – that part will take practice if you are a non breather like me…. do 21 cycles of this , you will forget what number you were up too that’s fine … just start again
Yoda “there is no try … only do”
Set a timer first go 5 minutes , then 7 then 10 and yeeha a week in your at 15 minutes,
If you don’t make it don’t be hard on yourself ….Ahimsa (non violence) practice no self harm, an act of love in its own right.
(ahimsa is one of the yamas -5 ethical disciplines- of the 8 limbs of yoga)
come back to your stillness focus on your breath
When your monkey mind wonders off bring it back home with the breath, Ahimsa
you can do it
I would love to share your experience & get your tips & tricks .. what works for you
much love & meditation success
ps if you get super stucky frustrated assistance is never far Itunes or YouTube a guided Yoga Nidra