Monkey Brain – My Comfort Zone

Shut up Silence. You heard me.

My Comfort Zone: constant monkey chatter swinging from limb to limb in this left-brained, 3-D humanistic vessel of mine. Blah blah blah. I love my monkey brain. Do this. Check this off. Go over here. Get up. Sit down. I love to stay busy, and you will hear it here first…I am a self-proclaimed Stress Addict. But that one is a topic for another day.

Back to my Love/Hate Relationship with my Comfort Zone. If my Comfort Zone is to stay busy, my “Out” of My Comfort Zone is to sit in silence. NO. Hell No. Silence is stupid. Here we go, about to tick off all those who have mastered the sit-and-breath-and-just-be-and-do-nothing-and-find-yourself-and-live-the-blissful…argh.

On Monday, 5/29/2019, I had the incomparable Dr. Emma Mardlin as a guest on my Coach, Couch, and Coffee Radio Show in May and June of 2019 (catch the episode on my website). We chatted all about her newest book: Out of Your Comfort Zone. Dr. Em is a founding partner of the Pinnacle Practice, a well-being clinic and training consultancy in London. She is a clinical therapist and performance coach and has a Ph.D. in psychotherapy and mind-body medicine. She is also an international trainer in her field as a metaphysical researcher in reversing various physical and psychological health conditions.

Lord, do I sound like I should be Dr. Em’s Fan Club President or what? Well Duh?!

So you ask, “Yo, Peggy, if you don’t want to discuss, nonetheless step “out” of your Comfort Zone, why were you interested in having Dr. Em on your show?”

I know, right?!

Baaah, gotcha. See, sistas and bruthas, I can preach a mean concept. It is one thing to lead your clients, family members, friends, and, oh yeah, even a stranger in a check-out line to nudge themselves outside their norms, but to live it – – – ooooh.

I am transparent as can be, so sharing where I stand on this “Silence Thing” might not be a shock to you conceptually, but the depth of my “burden” might be.

First, do not not not get me wrong. I love getting out of my comfort zone in ANY OTHER area of my life: travel wherever, move wherever, talk to whomever, try whatever…no issues. I totally understand the difficulty of breaking down the comfort zone. With my client base well over age 35, I work with the 5% ,according to studies, who can create and maintain NEW habits for a healthier, wealthier, and happier future. FIVE PERCENT. Therefore, 95% of our habits and behaviors are “comfortable” by the time we are 35 years old. So, of course, it feels uncomfortable to make a change. Every time! Until it is routine and becomes part of the 95%.

I prove the stat is true. I am not sitting in silence. Apparently, by the time I was 35, I had built a comfort zone around being busy. Plus, who gets anything done sitting in silence? Don’t answer that!

Let’s go back a bit, so you see how hard adapting to silence has been for me … (Side note, in the last year, I have improved dramatically. Kicking and screaming, but improvement can be noted).

Since I don’t know when, I moved and bounced around, and I don’t just mean my body – my brain. I hated naps as a baby. Still do. I remember when I was really young, maybe two years old, thinking naps were the dumbest waste of time. I could be getting things done.

I tried yoga over the years to walk in silence, pray in silence, staring into nature in silence, stretch in silence, and even breathe…let’s stop here for a second.

YOGA. Yoga was about the death of me for nearly a dozen years. I would almost tear up when asked to go…it would tick me off. NOT!!! NOT EVEN JOKING one ounce. I have walked out of so many yoga classes, pissed off. The worst was when my boss took me to this huge class.

”You will love it.” She made me sit right up front just after the horrific introduction. “Neptune, this is Peggy.” Christ! I thought.

Everyone sat cross-legged, eyes closed, connecting to their I don’t know whatever. My eyes jittered all around the room, looking for an exit. I watched the clock through every stretch, and thought about what else I could be doing—crap even folding laundry sounded great at this point. After 60 minutes, which felt like being tortured with tiny needles in my skull for days, I finally closed my eyes sincerely, FINALLY.

Then all these different lights paraded around my head dancing in kaleidoscope-like shapes and colors. That was so frickin’ annoying. (Another side note: fast forward to a month ago when I told a close friend of mine of this story, which at first he nearly pissed himself, he then said – after I think he called me a name, “Are you kidding me? Lights? People try their whole lives to have that type of experience. You are probably an intuitive, and you don’t even know it.”). Okay…well whatever, dude. (He is actually now my co-author of my All Things Wellness books series). Now I see the Statue of Liberty and a bunch of male profiles constantly popping in like Lincoln, Hitler, a mobster, Robin Williams, and a bunch of angels – so what does that mean? Whoops, I fell off the rails here, sorry.

So let’s go back to one more historical story in the early 2000s. I walked out of a Qigong Weekend. Yeah. I was “begged” to go to a weekend workshop- like THREE, EIGHT-HOUR DAYS. I should have looked up first what Qigong meant. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and as you can guess, I was so stressed out with all the silence and slow movement I left on day one and was so traumatized that even the sound of the blinkers in my Suburban on the way home pissed me off so much that I wrote a college paper on it.

As I type this, I see what a shit show I am. MONKEY BRAIN…ping ping…tree jumping. Look squirrel.

One more story which will lead us to a conclusion…In 2011, I met my super awesome sauce boyfriend-a Teddy Bear Viking/Canadian. I call him Big Deal. He loves that. Along with that package, came his lovely sister, Shelley. She is the exact, and I mean exact opposite of me. She is an intuitive, calming, yoga, meditative, gentle, great-listening, soft-hearted soul. Yeah, you can see where this is going. This delightful air sign has drug this reluctant earth sign along to and through many SILENT treatments across the globe. To my credit, however, I think she would agree that I have started to get my you know what together over the last several years. BUT remember what is “better?”  Compared to my relative, you might think I have a long way to go? So let me give it to you – my monkey brain might be able to chill for up to 30 minutes once in a while.

Nearing the end, are you still with me? About 15 months ago, challenged by a client, I agreed to try Head Space for the 30-day trial, and because I am competitive, I nailed it. Well, if you could hear me now, I am in a LMAO situation. I decided to start my sessions with a notebook so I could write down all the thoughts in my head in an attempt to “get them out” as I was learning to “meditate.” In addition to improving my meditation practice, I also started a regular yoga practice because I could finally connect the results directly to less physical pain and fewer migraines.

Now you have learned some of my struggle with silence so I will sum up this long story.

If we (I) DO NOT get out of our (MY) Comfort Zone, none of us will grow, improve, and learn…we will continue to stay in the 95% of who we are up to this point and what we have been doing all along-yes living our past into our future. Remember why??? Because it is COMFORTABLE.

I still struggle to break my monkey brain or task-oriented patterns, especially when I go take a random “silent” walk or stretch or take a breathing break. I even snooze my alarms about 99% of the time, which I set to remind myself to do these exact silent-type things. BUT I have learned that mornings are my prime time. I have learned that if I get all those “things” out of the way (yes, I still look at them as things to do), I am healthier for it and a better human. And I have learned that my Love/Hate Relationship with establishing a “Comfort Zone” with Silence might continue to be a bit of a struggle and a monkey on my back; however, calming the monkey chatter has improved. I think the gang is down from about 1,000 to about 10.

Dr. Em, are you proud of me? Markus Wettstein, are you proud of me? Shelley Fish and Dana Villadsen, are you proud of me? Mom, what about you?

One more thought…I even collected monkeys as a teen…my room was filled with them. Perhaps my subconscious knew something about my future.

I am going to hang upside down on my inversion table right now – something about being strapped in forces me to chill my brain for a few minutes. Hmmmm, I will shoot for five.