Friday, March 15, 2013

Jetlag, Monkey Mind, Meditation or Medication?

Tonight is my first night in Paris and my mind is racing, planning, wondering. I turn over and try to be in the moment: feel my breath, experience the cool, fresh sheets and clear my monkey mind but nothing works. I listen to BBC World for a while but I hear the news over and over again which is a bad sign. I read the favourite blogs of the favourite blogs of the blogs that I read. Jean styles, the colour green, how to launder, Paris markets and "oh! I can't find my tweezers." I can't sleep.

Monkey mind is a Buddhist term for the out of control kind of thoughts that I am experiencing. My mind is like a monkey swinging from tree to tree. In my case, I am still experiencing transition from my "real" life to London to Paris so it could just be a sort of jet lag. I have a bandage on my foot so I can't do my usual walking and  I haven't done any real grocery shopping yet so I have not been eating my normal fare of yogurt, fresh fruit, salad and fish.  Does paprika kalamari count? It could also be that I have missed medication two days out of four.

I don't consider an "active" mind like this to be an asset. It saps energy and accomplishes nothing. The crucial and the trivial mix together to form an unhealthy stew. I've been thinking about Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and which Irish pub to go to on Sunday. It is starting to get light. It's almost 7:00am or 10:00pm at home

I used to have this kind of mind much of the time. I was a librarian, knew "lots of stuff",  and after all "it's good to have all those synapses firing." Except those physical attributes of my brain that give me an excellent memory and an aptitude for learning and storing new information can also cause me anxiety and fatigue.

The "monkey mind" is not doing any critical thinking to solve any real problems. Its just "swinging", "dangling" and making lots of noise. Right now, mine feels like a troupe of howler monkeys.  Yoga, meditation, breathing, walking, running, quilting, gardening or any other activity that lets one "be in the moment" help. For some people (me included), medication that slows the re-uptake of serotonin helps.

Today, I will walk(but not too much because my ankle is still swollen) and buy some healthy groceries and be sure to take my pills.  Once some routines are established, my mind will become quieter and my sleep patterns will return to normal. 

2 comments:

  1. I find that stream-of-consciousness writing sometimes helps to curb "monkey mind," especially in the middle of the night when I can't just go out and walk. But I've been feeling this way a lot lately too, probably because of some outside stressors.

    Hope you're having a lovely day and that your ankle heals soon.

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  2. Thanks, Pseu. That very thing happened. After I finished writing, I fell asleep. The curtains are thick and the street is quiet
    so I just slept until I was ready to get up. I have lots of time to explore so I don't need to "push" myself.

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