Posts Tagged 'monsters'

Sunday Ketchup | Monday Mustard

A chance to catch up of loose ends from the week and plant some seeds of intention for the next.


Say Cheese

We got a new camera and it’s been so fun to look for beauty in simple and unexpected places.

Like this:

Simple Beauty

So fun that I might have to start a weekly tradition picture post.


It was a week of big sickness in our house. Al had it b.a.d. and then Bubby got it worse. Like so much worse I can’t even tell you about it.

So I was rubbing backs and caressing hair and holding puke buckets this week. Humbling, un-centering, and tiring. I even missed a day’s posting.

Thank goodness for my new morning ritual. Still knocking on wood that I avoided it.

New Exciting Thing

Which probably isn’t even that exciting.

Oh Monster, I know you’re feeling nervous about it. Even though it might not have turned out as we’d planned, we got some good work done this week. And now we have a better idea of where to go from here.

Ya, ok.

He’s a little grumpy today. His Valentine has to work tonight.


So much good love. It was everywhere.

Went to the partner class today. So. Much. Fun.


And so good to be in the love of the studio and my favorite people in the world.


Planting seeds for next week:

  • More mindful eating. Off track this weekend in particular.
  • More classes at the studio. Taking, not teaching!!
  • Balancing social time (lots of dates planned this week) with quiet alone time.
  • Trip to Wilbur. Ah, alone, soaking, naked. Nevermind the creepy guy I met last time. “No creepy guy” seed—planted.

How bout you? What’chu got cookin?



Had an arresting mini freak out yesterday about the Very Exciting Thing I’m working on this week.

The monsters and fairies were having it out:

No you can’t.

Yes you can.

No you can’t.

Yes you can.

They weren’t being very sophisticated about it all.

R (who I call My Bubby … like on the show Weeds… except Bubby was the hateful grandmother who Nancy suffocated with a pillow. Anyway…) came in and I took the Giant Leap of Faith of letting my Monster tell him how we were feeling.

Being a boy and all, sometimes he just wants to fix things instead of let them be. Hard, sad, uncomfortable, whatever.

zzzzib zib zzziizzzibbb <sound of rewind travel time machine to the day before yesterday>

The day before yesterday I was reading aloud to My Bubby from my new favorite book, How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk, (recommended by the fabulous Havi).

This is a book about communicating with anyone who has a heart and monsters.

It’s about listening in all its simple wonder. It’s the Yoga of listening.

I’m only on Chapter 2 and I’ve learned so much.

So I was reading to him in bite-sized pieces. Small enough that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed, big enough that he could get a taste. Like slathering broccoli with cheese whiz.

One of the deceptively simple themes of the book is accepting child’s/person’s feelings:

  • Listen quietly and attentively
  • Acknowledge a feeling with a word—mmmm, oh, I see
  • Give the feeling a name—that sounds frustrating!
  • Give the child’s wishes in fantasy—I wish I had a wand that could make that banana ripe for you right now!

This book has great examples of how we don’t do this; how we deny a person’s feelings, which can leave them confused, even enraged. It also teaches kids not to know what their feelings are, not to trust them.

An example:

Your kid gets weekly allergy shots. You know these shots are uncomfortable but sting for only a minute. After leaving the office today, the child is complaining incessantly.

Denying the child’s feelings:

  • Come on, be a big boy. It can’t hurt that much.
  • You’re making a big fuss over just a little shot.
  • Your brother never complains when he has a shot.
  • Well, you’d better get used to them, you have to have them every week.

Versus listening and accepting (referred to as “giving a name to the feeling”)

  • Sounds as if it really hurts.
  • Must have been painful.
  • Mmmm, that bad!
  • It’s not easy to get those shots week after week. I bet you’ll be glad when they’re over.

The authors concede that most of us grew up having our feelings denied. There’s no reason to be so upset.


Bubby was making slow, carefully planned movements toward the door, almost like a hostage whose guard had fallen asleep. I was sure he hadn’t heard a thing.

zzzzzum zum zum zum <fast forward back to yesterday>

Mini freak out. Tears. Monsters running amok.

Bubby opens his mouth but no sound comes out. He points at the book on the bed.

What that said.


I can’t remember what the right thing is because what I want to say is, “That’s ridiculous, you’re great.”

Oh my God, he was listening. Sort of.

I can’t remember what to say, but I want you to know that I believe in you.

And there I was, arrested all over again.

Putting the Monster to Bed

Day 3 of Recess. Lovely. Just lovely.


Monster doesn’t seem to know when it’s nighty-night time.

Monster wants to have committee meetings and plan and poke at me at 3 am.

Noooo, Monster. Mama needs her rest.

We’ve had talks, I’ve offered Ambien, brandy, a silky eye mask. Nothing works.

So tonight I’m putting the mister to bed. Literally.

Like a shoebox-by-the-nightstand-or-maybe-underneath-so-husband-doesn’t-think-I’m-crazy-bed.

Like this:

Monster's Nigh Nigh

What do you think, Monster?

woa woa woa

Well, ya, I know it’s not cashmere.

woa woa woa woa?

Yes, you can still have the Ambien and the brandy and the silky eye mask.

Ok… and slumber parties on Saturday nights. But no brandy. I know how much you guys drink and somebody’s bound to wet the bed.

All right, but that’s it. One bedtime story a night. Yes I know rituals are important.


For my friends concerned that I came back from the Destuckification Retreat talking about fairies and playing with stuffed animals, no worries. I mean, I really am doing those things, but I hope that by symbolically putting the monster to bed I can ease my mind… tame the beast… get some goddamn rest.

After we establish a new pattern, hopefully I won’t have to literally put a 3-inch, pink-skinned, stuffed toy dragon into a box and cover it up with blankies. I’ll be able to metaphorically do so.

Speaking of metaphors… tune in tomorrow for sparkly-eyed fairies…

Fake it till you make it

I’ve been feeling badly (or more correctly, my Monster has been feeling guilty) about saying that our Destuckification Retreat teacher was a faker.

That was a hard day. Monster was grumpy. Not feeling so pink.

But I meant it. At least in some ways.

Let me explain.

Havi is brilliant at asking for and listening to internal guidance. She is brilliant at planning on the fly. She does not freak out (externally, anyway) about not having a plan or changing course mid-stream. She does not talk about what’s missing.

And even though there was, at times, a flurry of unknown, she never seemed flustered, rushed, apologetic, stuck, conflicted, or disconnected.


This afternoon I was talking to one of the TTs who will be subbing for me during my (now affectionately called) February Recess about how busy her Monster has been.

Of course she’s nervous, of course she’ll be sweaty and dry mouthed, of course time will stand still.

But it’s not like she’ll stand up in front of the class Monday nights at 5:45 pm at It’s All Yoga in Sacramento (you should totally go) and say that!

She’ll get all that monster crap worked out before hand so she can Show Up and Drive. If she appeared to be terrified, the students would feel like they had to take care of her, they would be concerned about her, they would be thinking of her, and for goodness sake, that’s not what their practice time is about.

Yes, this is a hard thing to do as a new teacher. That’s why you fake it.


At different points during the retreat, Havi clearly did not have a plan.

She had lots of content and structure. But the morning movement sessions, the yoga, the check ins, the evening meditation? No plan.

Because she is a Gifted Teacher, the result was organic, inspired, and wonderful.

She didn’t stumble, or apologize, or appear to be sweating. She (almost visibly) opened herself to guidance and then trusted what came.

And she had this way of talking about the optional segments with a I-can’t-believe-you-missed-it-because-it-was-so-fabulous kind of zeal that you thought everyone but you was there… but really there were only 4 people. She didn’t say that. And it made you want to go next time.

In addition to all of the life-changing tools and tricks and hard-core content I learned last week, I also learned so much just from being with Havi.

She is good at communicating clearly and passionately, being present with people, looking you in the eyes, making it fun, making it ok. And she’s a really good hugger.

I love her dearly and I thank her from the bottom of my heart.


Re-entry is tough.

I often have a hard time with coming back from retreat to the circumstances of mail, making the bed, litter boxes, the expectations of other people. When my retreat time has come to an end in the past I have felt any combo of sad, anxious, conflicted, and tight. Alas, this time is no different.


As much as I was concerned about…  well, everything at this retreat (the food, the people, having a roommate, getting enough alone time, having to share…), by the end I just adored these sweet, quirky characters who have such immense, tangled stories. Sometimes it was enough to make my heart crack.

And Havi created this fun, spacious, intentionally awkward container where we could really let the Monsters go. She gave so much permission around doing, not doing, not feeling bad about doing or not doing, letting other people do or not do… it was brilliant. She is amazing at what she does, even though I haven’t quite figured out what that is.

The pull of old patterns is strong today.

In some ways I want to write and talk and tell about everything that happened; in other ways I want to curl up in the corner and cry, pretending like it never happened.

Maybe my biggest fear is that after a couple of days, maybe a week, I’ll be exactly the same. All this work, all this time, all this sharing… and I’ll be stuck in the same. old. rut.


This here is resistance—part pattern, part stuck, part monster.


But nowwwwww I have a Negotiator. Maps. A metaphor (yes, even fairies get sad sometimes). And a little pink monster to talk to. Truly, nothing is the same. Just remembering that I have those tools means nothing will ever be the same again.

Today I met my Monster

Actually, I met him on Monday. We’ve been getting to know one another since.

He is smaller than I thought. And I’m learning that he has the best of intentions. I’m hopeful that we can be friends.

But just in case, I took his mugshot.

Monster headshot

He's more menacing from the side

He’s sort of eve’s reading, so I can’t go into more right now. But I’ll sneak away and report back later.

My Monster

Day 2

Asilomar. Destuckification Retreat.

So far we’ve mapped patterns, done Shiva Nata, and talked about talking to monsters.

My Inner Committee is having a grand time:

  • my roommate smells weird (not really, but I can’t think of any other valid reason to not want to be her roommate)
  • the food is very mediocre
  • all the water tastes like coffee—I hate coffee
  • the teacher is a big faker … which is totally awesome and is now what I want to learn about
  • I’m secretly mean and prissy to all of the strange and geeky characters at the retreat, none of whom pluck their eyebrows (see, mean and prissy)

Today I learned that when I say something mean (especially if it’s something mean about me) it’s probably My Monster talking, not the “real” me, my True Essence. “If it’s mean, it isn’t me.”

So apparently my Inner Committee is a committee of monsters. Here’s what they had to say about me this morning:

You’re mean. You don’t get it. You’re a loner. You don’t make friends easily. You don’t do well out of your comfort zone. You should have just stayed home. No one here likes you anyway. You’re prissy and high maintenance. The lemons, honey, specific diet = HM. You’re a pain in the ass and everyone thinks so. Plus you are selfish because you didn’t bring enough for everyone. You’re a poor sport not wanting to do Shiva Nata, not playing along. You must not be very smart, either.

Well then. Nice to meet you, too.

Havi suggested we approach Monster Talk in the following ways:

  1. Ask, “Who said that?” Like was it your mother? A teacher? An old boyfriend? Who’s voice is that … because surely it’s not yours.
  2. Use the BFF approach – would you talk that way to someone you love? (Ajahn Amaro uses this technique too… be you own best friend)
  3. If the monster is overpowering, ask what other (monster) staff there is … a superhero? a translator?
  4. Can you change the monster’s job description?
  5. Can you give it a corner office?
  6. Can you send him to sensitivity training?
  7. Can you give him an apron, a hat, a funny mustache… anything to change his demeanor?
  8. Ask the monster, “Since I’m having trouble understanding you with the language you’re using, can you phrase this differently?”
  9. Let the monster go to town, have a total tantrum, and write it all down in a notebook (which is what I did above). Then look for clues, commonly used words, things you KNOW aren’t true. Then you know what to look for next time. You know how to distinguish Guidance and Wisdom from Monster Talk.
  10. And finally, acknowledge your monster — ok monster, I hear your fear. You seem to want to be supported/valued/loved/etc. And the big question, How can you get those needs met?

After my Monster Mash, I acknowledged that something in me wants to be accepted, loved, and to feel safe being who I am.

I asked how I might (or my monster might? still having trouble talking about “myself” in 3rd person) get those needs met.

No answer came. But that was ok. I felt strangely peaceful after letting my monster rant and asking what it wants.

This afternoon is more Monster interaction… maybe we’ll have happy hour. I’ll let you know.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 73 other subscribers