(Pictured above: The Fourth Monkey in tree pose)
There’s been a primordial revolution happening in my head for several years and it only makes sense to share it with those of you who aren’t sitting in a conference room where I’m speaking. It’s not a big secret. Silly me just forgot to tell you about the fourth monkey a/k/a Stress No Evil. Unless you live under a rock you’ve hopefully heard of the other three proverbial monkeys: See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil. There are various meanings given to the three wise primates. In Buddhist tradition this means not dwelling on evil thoughts. In my mind, the Western world it can be interpreted as both a positive concept of association with good intentions (not listening to negativity, not talking trash or gossiping and not looking for trouble or looking at others critically.) Used in a negative light: feigning ignorance (I saw nothing, heard nothing or said nothing) i.e. looking the other way, otherwise known as a “Code of Silence.” Think: the Mafia, code of silence.
Some people would claim the fourth monkey isn’t Stress No Evil, but rather, Do No Evil. When depicted in a visual, Do No Evil can be seen with his arms crossed, covering his or her genitals or simply folded in the lap. But I’m going with Stress No Evil because if you DO less evil, you’ll have less stress, right?
The good news/bad news is: Stress No Evil is ageless, universal, cost-free, chemical free, sugar free, gluten free, germ free, electronic free, lactose free and gender free. (Side Bar: It drives Jeff nuts when I speak only to the women. Sorry guys. I’m working on this.)
What’s the bad news? Stress No Evil mantra is “Have less stress.” but to get there, you actually have to do some of the things I suggest below. Ready? Let’s go…
Silence: take 5 daily to turn off your noise. Phone, radio, mind chatter. Find the quiet.
Toxic people: avoid them. If you cannot avoid them, limit your time with them.
Rest: sleep/non-activity is underrated. We need sleep, more than we get. You know why.
Exercise: participate at your level, wherever that is. Just move. Every day. You know why.
Solo time: get comfortable with yourself and be your own good company occasionally.
Social: get with people doing mutually enjoyable activities. Solo Vs. social: blend them.
No. Saying “Yes” to everything is dumb. And don’t say yes when you mean no. Period.
Outdoors. Find the sky. It’s there day or night. Breathe air. Listen for crickets. Namaste.
Experiment. Try something new. It can open your mind and get you jazzed. Be brave.
Vulnerable. We are all perfectly imperfect. Ease up. Work on it, but mostly, accept it.
Ignite. Search and adopt that one activity that gets you in your zone. It’s individualized.
Levity. You knew this one was coming. Look for the humor, enjoy the laughter.
Pick one thing out of the above list this week and let me know how it goes. Will you?