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Verse Chorus Verse: Barenaked Ladies – “Another Postcard”

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"Monkey mind" is the term Natalie Goldberg gives our inner critic, the voice that tries to extinguish a writer's passion to write.  Monkey mind is the number one obstacle between me and my goal of 365 consecutive days of Verse Chorus Verse.
Monkey mind is a bitch.

Monkey mind is very often one of the voices in our head, the one that tells us we're too busy to write or that we're not good enough or we have nothing to say.  Sometimes monkey mind comes from outside, when we hear someone else say those same kinds of things.  

I woke up this morning planning on knocking today's entry out quickly and then getting ready to return to work tomorrow following my much needed vacation.  Monkey mind had other ideas.  I banged and cursed the keyboard before abandoning ship.  I did laundry.  Yes, it got that bad.  I actually did laundry rather than write.  Following laundry, I tried to help someone who was struggling with their own version of monkey mind, theirs coming in the form of an approaching deadline.

I lost myself in that for a few hours this afternoon, hoping that might unlock my brain.  I don't know if my suggestions were of any use to them but it didn't take long for me to realize it did nothing to rebuke the monkey in my head.  Sitting at my desk, I looked on the shelf and saw my copy of Goldberg's Old Friend from Far Away and was able to give my crisis of confidence a name.  No, not monkey mind.  Me.

Once again I fell for an old trick.  Earlier this week I said my ambitions reached beyond trying to get a seat at the cool kids' table years ago.  Some habits only fade rather than disappearing completely.  I allowed a complete stranger to get me so turned inside out I started to doubt myself.  I blinked.

I'd love to tell you this realization pierced the fog and provided a moment of clarity, but that's not quite how it worked.  The world still looks hazy but I decided it's an optical illusion that will pass.  I moved forward.  That's how you beat monkey mind.

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About Josh Hathaway