The Monkey on my Back

I spent a couple of hours yesterday afternoon on a coaching call with Jo Anna Rothman of The Receiving Project and five other women who shall remain nameless. We spoke about what we desire in our lives and also about what is blocking us from receiving the manifestation of those desires.

Truly, I think I need a little boot in the pants and what I’m looking for is someone, or a number of someones, who will give that to me until I’m strong enough to take over the reins. At this point in my life, I slip into despair easily when it comes to self-motivation. And these lovely ladies on the call all helped me to realize it. I’m honor-bound not to speak of the details of the others on the call, but I can tell you my own experience.

I listened to everyone else introduce themselves, and talk about their lives. As I listened to these beautiful souls tell us where they were from and a little bit about what was going on in their lives, I was unsure of my own introduction. When it came time to say hi, the words that came pouring unexpectedly out of my mouth were “I don’t even know why I’m on this call. I feel like I’m not good enough to be a part of this group.” I surprised myself with that admission.

There’s this little demon nesting inside of me, with a powerful voice that tells me I’m not good enough. How long has that one been whispering in my ear?

Please understand, my ego is huge. I’ve told myself for years that not only am I good enough, I am often better! At whatever it is that I’m doing, I am better.

Just like the song says, “I can do anything better than you can. Anything you can do, I can do too.”

And then it’s the whispering voice saying to me “No, you can’t!”

I reply, “Yes, I can!”

The argument continues, and lately that little devil’s been winning.

I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say the next woman to talk after me thanked me for admitting my insecurities. It helped her feel included in the group. Her gratitude held my own sacred space as well.

Isn’t it amazing how the simple act of sharing your insecurities, your fears, your innermost demons with others allows you to release some of them?

I’m not saying that little monkey is off my back yet. But I am acknowledging that I’m letting him ride along. That’s a step further on my path than I was yesterday, when I wasn’t consciously aware of his presence.

Jo Anna presented us all with a series of questions.

What do you want to create on a spiritual level? How do you want to experience life on a physical level? Emotional level? Mental level? What do you truly desire?

As I answered those questions, I said the same things I’ve been saying for the past few months.

I want to run, meditate, do more yoga, and write. But I also included a few new ones. I’d like a bigger support network and I want to be less susceptible to criticism.

As I thought about those things, I realized how much I do to sabotage my desires. That damn monkey. Which brings me to something that Jo Anna said to all of us.

All those inner critics, negative voices, sad hearts, angry hearts? No one has ever defeated them in battle. The way out is to love them. Don’t ignore it, don’t believe it, don’t beat it up. Like a three-year-old, just love it. That is the essence of her advice. I smiled as she compared loving your inner demons or loving that monkey on your back, to the same way you might love a child.

That is particularly apropos for me, as I spend much of my time with Harlee Jade. I have so much patience with her. She hits me, and I love her. She gets mad at me, and I love her. She defies me, and I love her. I don’t yell at her. I don’t beat her up. I don’t argue with her. I simply love her.

How does that translate to me dealing with my own hot mess? I must love myself. I must love that inner voice that tells me “No, you can’t!”

Instead of arguing with it, instead of pushing back and resisting, I will surrender to love. I will say “I know your job has been to protect me, and I love you. You’ve done such a good job, and I love you. Thank you for taking care of me. I love you.  Now I’m ready to take over. I truly love you. Thank you for bringing me to this point. I love you for that! I can take the reins now. I love you.”

At the end of the call, Jo Anna asked us all to take action and create our future. What action am I willing to take? How do I want my life to look in the next three to six months? If I knew I would be wildly successful, what would I do? Am I ready to commit to it?

For me, the first step literally starts with a first step. I want to run. I’m willing to run. In the next three to six months I want to run a 5K. If it was certain to be a wild success, I would run a marathon! Am I ready to commit to it?


Yes, I can.


I wasn’t always able to hear everything that was said on the call, but I got the essentials. One thing that Jo Anna said (and please forgive me if I’ve misquoted) was “Everything that you experience in your life is a direct reflection of what you are willing to do for yourself.”

I am willing to look at the hard stuff. I am willing to work. Thank you, Jo Anna. Thank you to all the amazing women on the call with me. Life changes when small steps are taken.

This morning, I ran a mile.