Friday, April 1, 2011

Life is too short to not let go! ...outsmart the monkey!

So why should anyone ever leave a steady job, a Church based ministry, a daily or weekly routine you have adopted? The simple answer is, it’s time. Allow me to put it allegorically.

In high school we were taught about a traditional “monkey trap” used for centuries around the globe, consisting of a simple container (or even a clay mound of dirt) with a hole cut into it just wide enough for a monkey to stick it's empty hand into. The container is baited with something attractive to the monkey. Monkey reaches for bait and then will not release the bait and therefor cannot pull it's hand out of the trap with bait in hand. It is then captured. All the while the monkey never realizing it would be free if it just let go of the bait.

The monkey trap is a metaphor for the things in our lives we have innocently reached for and taken on without ever realizing we would be captured or limited by our eventual inability to let go. We all hold onto things which entrap us. It could be a job that you are a little too comfortable with, a friend that drains your energy, anger, or resentment. In my case, an all consuming career based originally on a hobby, represents my monkey trap; and something very hard to let go of because I am comfortable where I feel experienced and competent.

I love tech and exploiting my past education, expertise and experience in my field. I have been proud to be a part teams I have built and studios I have designed. Nevertheless, I feel that it is time to see what else my career, my life, may ability to learn and grow, all have to offer; and I'll never do that while I cling desperately to my favorite bait.

None of this is to say I am not a believer in enjoy the moment, and treasuring each day. Quite the contrary, my hope for anyone I know, is that they learn to use and reap each day as if they all hold an opportunity for individual as well as cumulative experience and growth. When life is stagnant you might just find you are very guilty of taking for granted the days you have been given. We should never justify and defend being “comfortable” and “stable” as an excuse for being lazy or simply lacking in creativity.

While it is each person’s right in this country to be as exploratory or stagnant as they wish. Obviously a healthy moderation of either would lead to a much richer American experience and journey through life.

There is a popular TV show called, “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?”, where grown men and women are pitted against 5th graders to see if they possess more knowledge than these elementary school contestants. Wouldn’t it be a very odd TV show indeed, if we were each quizzed towards the end of our lives in order to see if our own story was a shining example of a narrative which far surpassed the wisdom of a monkey passing an age old trap with some attractive bait stashed inside a small hole.

Often when you choose to loosen your grip, you will find yourself free to live again.
Life is to short to not let go.

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