Today I was listening to the audiobook version of Chris Guillebeau’s excellent book, The Art of Non-Conformity. He reminded me of a story I’ve heard before but think of often: the five monkeys and the bananas.
It seems there were five monkeys in a cage, who were provided the basics of survival but were also tempted with a gorgeous bunch of bananas at the top of a ladder. Trouble was, whenever one of those enterprising monkeys went for the bananas, they were blasted off the ladder with a fire hose. (Lord, I hope this story isn’t true.) Monkeys being smart, it didn’t take long for them to gaze wistfully at the bananas, but leave them alone. Then the monkeys began to be replaced with new monkeys, and one by one the noobs were schooled to leave those bananas alone. Eventually there were no monkeys left who had ever experienced the fire hose, but none of them went for the bananas, because in that monkey world, it simply wasn’t done.
Of course, people are monkeys too.
There have been a few pinnacle moments in my own life when I went for the bananas, only to have my fellow monkeys grabbing at my ankles and shrieking. When I moved across the country to live in a cabin off the grid for a while, the monkeys hopped and hooted. When I quit my Very Secure Job to try to grow our cleaning micro-business, the monkeys didn’t like that either. When I gave up yet another chance at paid health insurance and a 401(k) to go to massage school, the monkeys were very predictable. But each and every time, I did it. And man, are these bananas awesome.
I’ve been able to shape a life that includes satisfying work, lots of creative endeavors, time in nature, and many cuddly family moments. I feel connected to God and to my purpose. The radishes are coming up in my garden and we have tickets to the Mariners next Friday night. I couldn’t ask for more.
I’m passionate about pursuing my gut and seeing where life takes me, and though I try to limit being obnoxious about it, I’d like to see everyone else living from the heart, too. I believe that six billion heart-centered humans could shift the planet in a jiffy. One of the great joys of my BodyTalk practice is helping the people I work with to melt away the old beliefs about bananas, so they can climb up and get a big ol fistful of the kind of living that really satisfies.
How about you? Are you ready to go bananas?