top of page
  • Writer's pictureTracey Lee

My very own 'monkey mind'


The art of over thinking a dozen different things at once; coupled with significant worrying about things over which I have no control. It’s my definition for my own brand of ‘monkey mind’.  In Buddhist terms it means: "unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable. Which possibly is also a very good description of the inside of my head.

It has its pros and cons. As a writer when I’m in the flow and ideas are just coming to me and I am trying to see numerous perspectives of my characters works. I can have one story up on the screen and note pads beside me that I write on when an idea doesn’t fit in the work I’m focusing on. I can listen in to the world around me and make mental notes about what people are doing and saying. I can be in a place and create a possible scenario for the next book or the one I’m working on.

Now don’t be too impressed, it’s not really a grand skill, it’s just the busy mind working overtime. And there are prices to pay because not only does my mind jump from one creative distraction to another; it jumps from one internal worry to another. I’ve never been one who subscribes to the notion of ‘we will build that bridge when we come to it.’ I’m more along the lines of ‘build the bridge, construct the highway, have two alternate routes planned in case of unforeseen crises before the water is even flowing.’ Hence, the negative side of ‘monkey mind’.

Another con is the intrusion of possibilities. Again great for the creative life and the writing but less productive for the worried mind. My grandmother told me once that we had to leave problems alone. Give a problem ten minutes of your time, walk away and generally a solution is found before we get back to it. She didn’t know about ‘monkey mind’ or Buddhism but she knew a thing or two about life and solving problems. She also use to get quite cross about panicking people. “Waste of time and energy and still nothing gets done.” I wish I was more like her; pragmatic, cool and able to live with the outcomes of her decisions.

The capricious mind also gets in the way of getting my much promised ‘to be out soon’ second book. I could blame the many events of the year on my tardiness but in truth I’ve just let my mind run rampant and ignored the developing story line in the Lily O’Hara series. I’ve worried about work and people, the world and lunatic politicians, unfairness, disloyalty, bad luck, poor health, sadness, yearning for things just out of reach, a lack of optimism and a pervading sense of loss. All of which I’ve truly had no control over and yet I’ve committed all my headspace to it. It has taken some time to work through the mountains of worries, real and imagined, to find a solution. And it was so simple. Control my thoughts. I’ve been attempting to stop my thoughts taking me to places that offer little solace, creativity or solutions. Focusing on the problem is not a great use of one’s intellectual or imaginative capacity. Focusing on the solutions, focusing on the task at hand is a better use of the skills we have.

In the mental thrashing about nothing is achieved. We just give ourselves buckets of misery, high blood pressure and a pervasive sense of doom. All of which chase away creativity.

So in the last few weeks I’ve not particularly solved all of life’s problems but I have refocused on writing. Not surprisingly the reduction in ‘monkey mind’ has lead to a bonanza of ideas and words. An end date is in sight.

I haven’t been fully cured of my ‘monkey mindedness’ and given my personality it is unlikely that my quest for serenity and Zen-like thought control isn’t going to happen any time soon but I am one step closer to the last chapter.

Stay tuned; hopefully book two will be in your Christmas stockings come December.

Or with your Easter eggs in April!!!!

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page