Let Go of the Banana

By Suzanne Wiggins

I believe the Universe has been sending me important messages out of context. Don’t get me wrong; the messages are always very helpful as provided. It’s just that when I’m struggling with a particular quandary and it hits me that the answer or lesson was already revealed in an earlier, unrelated context, it’s a pretty momentous feeling. It’s like Dorothy finding out that she could have gone home at anytime with the help of her ruby slippers. Perhaps this is how we learn to pay attention.

About a year ago while glancing through the archives of a blog, I found a post that described how poachers in some parts of Africa use a simple kind of trap to capture monkeys. They attach a jar to a heavy stone and bury the stone so only the jar is in view.  Inside the jar they place a banana then they stand back at a distance to make the monkey comfortable enough to climb down from the tree to retrieve the fruit. As the monkey closes its fist around the banana, the hunters charge forward. The monkey attempts a quick getaway, but its closed fist is unable to be pulled from the jar. Only an open hand can fit through the narrow opening.  Refusing to let go of its prize, the monkey meets his untimely demise.

‘Why doesn’t the monkey just let go of the banana?’  Hmmmm. Seems so easy, right? Well, I’ve been wondering…why don’t WE let go of the things that make us unhappy, deplete our peace of mind, limit our quality time with children, or cause us worry, stress and poor health? Why do we hold so tightly to the things that are familiar, but cause us unhappiness and pain?

What would happen if we let go of that oh, so secure job we hate, the relationship that is eroding our self-esteem, that deep concern about what others think of us, the constant urge to buy things we don’t really need, the tendency to avoid heartbreak by expecting the worst, the feeling that we have to be the one to keep the ship afloat, the idea that we have to work full-time, make a certain salary, have a specific title, or accomplish certain life goals by the time we’re 30, 40 or 50?

I get that taking risks is scary and it’s normal to avoid facing uncertainty and feelings of discomfort. BUT, what if we finally understood, that like the monkey, there is absolutely no downside to letting go of the banana?

What message might the Universe be sending YOU today?

How to Get Unstuck

By Suzanne Wiggins

Lately, I seem to be at a standstill in my journey to self-discovery and change. Actually, it’s more like I’ve gotten lost or traveled off course. I discussed this with my friend Dawn last week and she asked if the issue could be a fear of success. Holy cow! Could I be exhibiting the behaviors of a successful person while actually being afraid of achieving real success?

As I mulled this idea over, I realized it is much more complicated than it appears on the surface. And I remembered a quote I had found quite some time ago on Pinterest. I wasn’t sure why I pinned it at the time, but its message now seemed clear to me.

Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots. ~Unknown

Most of us bury beliefs about ourselves deep inside, hidden in those dark recesses we seldom explore. For example, I’ve always hated my middle name. If forced, I’d hesitantly disclose it, but basically I’m a first and last name gal. Not long ago I realized that this aversion I have carried with me my entire life was the result of one insignificant person, the older male cousin of my neighbor Georgietta Stansfield (great name), teasing me one day when I was around six or seven years old. It’s incredulous to me now to see how much power I gave to someone I don’t even know and how I allowed it to impact my self-identity for so many years.

Generally, most of these false ideas are developed or nurtured during childhood. It could be a belief about not being smart because you were told at an impressionable age you were stupid, or you’re unlucky, or clumsy, or too sensitive, or have a big nose, small eyes, or mousey hair. I see now that in the process of personal growth we need to be willing to explore those scary dark places, bring our beliefs to the surface and evaluate each one from an adult perspective. It can be quite the therapeutic experience.

So I asked myself, ‘Have I been sabotaging progress with my most important personal goals because of subconscious beliefs I have been harboring?’ Yikes, I felt like I could be onto something life changing here. As I pondered the question I had three important realizations: 1) I was raised to believe I should not have too high an opinion of myself, 2) I have a deep-rooted fear that if my life is too good or too happy something will surely happen to temper my bliss, and 3) I have not confidently believed that I could be truly happy in all aspects of my life.

These are definitely counter-intuitive beliefs for someone in the middle of a major life shift seeking balance, health and happiness. So I keep thinking, what other notions have I squirreled away that may be hindering my progress? I’m anxious to dig in and see what I may find.

But for now, I am making a commitment to truly believe that anything is possible with effort, that happiness isn’t correlated with despair, that it’s not only OK, but critically essential to have a high opinion of myself, and that old beliefs and past experience only control me to the degree I allow them to. My journey continues.

I’m starting over. -A new pattern of thoughts. -A new wave of emotions. -A new connection to the world. -A new belief system in myself.  ~Unknown