December 1, 2015

Don’t Feed the Monkey: Getting through the Holiday Season Intact.


The monkey mind arrived as I slathered peanut butter onto my bagel while the hiss of the kettle turned into a whistle.

It was Sunday morning at the end of a break, and I had all of those “what didn’t I get done” thoughts starting to flood my morning calm.

So I stopped spreading the peanut butter, holding the spoon in my hand, as I realized the truth: what about all the things that I did accomplish over this “break?”

Sure, I didn’t clean out that closet with a few boxes of moldly Mendo memories and keepsakes from when my sons were babies, but I lived some new memories.

I spent hours with my family and my sons having more laughs than upsets.

I ate the most amazing gluten-free desserts created by my sister, my mom, and my brother’s wife. They are goddesses at gluten-free treats!

I started an ocean painting.

I wrote without deadlines or constraints.

I doodled pictures with my nieces and nephew.

I watched my almost 11-year old son fix the slightly broken vacuum cleaner (it was like taking apart a giant Lego creation for him)—the belt had slipped off.

I fine-tuned one of my novels-in-progress, crumpling up a few pieces of paper.

I hand-delivered my newly self-published novel (written under a pen name) to my mom who loved it, and she gave me honest feedback.

I listened to coyotes howling under cold starry skies.

I barely breathed when I drove through my childhood area where the Butte Fire burned the mountainsides as familiar as the back of my hand. I saw the way fire alters a community, and it’s—well, I’m still “groking” this one.

I stomped through a fine layer of snow in my brother’s woods as we searched for a Christmas cedar for my home. (His woods needed to be thinned, especially after seeing the damage of the nearby fire.)

I stuffed the “organic, free-range, and shade-grown cedar” (under the Ponderosa Pines) into my son’s sleeping bag, so it made for a comfy ride home, as well as a ton of giggles.

I didn’t buy anything on Black Friday, but watched a gorgeous orange crimson sunset glow from behind my favorite mountain.

I almost finished crocheting a hat for my niece.

I wrote poetry.

I began planning a new poetry chapbook.

And, most importantly, I took some time to take a break—daydreaming like a cat in the afternoon sunlight on a cold November day.

The list of all that I didn’t do remained on my fridge—I stared at it while licking the peanut butter off my spoon, but I wasn’t so overwhelmed.

My monkey mind had scampered off to the canopy, so I could write these words with the comfort that I’ll cross off the stuff on the list starting tomorrow.



The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays.


Author: Jessie Wright

Editor: Sarah Kolkka


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