monkey minded me

I have a severe case of monkey mind at the moment. Can’t read, can’t settle, can’t hold a thought for long, I just can’t focus. In Buddhist terms, the polar (ha not very ha) opposite is the forest deer and the route from monkey to deer is meditation.

All of you mindful monkeys know this already (and no insult intended, the alliteration was irresistible). Bipolar Lessons has some simple and approachable posts on the subject; googling buddhist view of bipolar will get you a whole lot more, at whatever level you want.


Meditation is good and of course, you don’t need to be a Buddhist to get into it. You can be as secular or as spiritual as you like. Me – I have a right royal bastard of a monkey in my cranium. It may even be a baboon. When I cant get anywhere near the usual forms of meditation, I can at least do a walking meditation. I am very, very fortunate to live so close to such a quiet beach. My mother taught me to do it in about a minute’s casual chat, when I was 11 or 12 (yep, I’ve always been off my head). It’s simple and makes very solid sense, no matter who or what you are. On the page I linked, point 3 is really all you need – the rest is spoonfeeding. And obvs that’s fine too.

(If I was a psychiatrist, I’d hunt for and offer free therapy to someone called Violet, so that I could say shrinking Violet as often as possible.)

See? Monkey mind.

And despite the fact that it’s in Afrikaans, a song by Chris Chameleon called Apie will give you a clear illustration of the concept. I heard it first at a gig and it almost sent me under the table. Toooo much monkey. Apie means little monkey and Chris Chameleon is lovely (and a good follow on twitter, if that’s your thing). And I’m going to translate it just for the hell of it (it’ll also help focus my mind). I’ll try and kick it into something vaguely resembling song shape rather than do it verbatim. Lots of liberties taken and apologies to Chris Chameleon for abusing his song in the name of blogging *grin*



daar’s n apie wat nooit slaap nie
wat heeldag en heelnag in my kop rondbons
en hy hou my dikwels wakker
hy’s n nikswerd bakoor rakker
as hy so bons

there’s a monkey that never sleeps
he spins around in my mind all the time
he never ever lets me sleep
(he’s a good for nothing big eared brat
when he bounces around like that)

en ek kan hom nie keer nie
hy wil hom nie aan my steur nie
kan my apie nie beheer nie o wee

and I cannot control him
he just won’t listen to me
I can’t control my monkey, woe is me

almal het n apie
dis daarom dat die plek lyk soos hy lyk
almal het n apie
en niemand kry sy apie om te wyk nie

everyone has a monkey
that’s why the world looks like it does
everyone has a monkey
no one can stop the buzz

daar’s n apie in n hokkie en daai hokkie
is my koppie wat soms bons
en daai apie speel toktokkie
tokkel heeldag met sy klokkie
as hy so bons
en daai apie hou nooit op nie
om my wereld om te dop nie
kan daai apie net nooit stop nie
hier gaan ons weer

there’s a monkey in a cage
and that cage is my head
and the monkey knocks and runs
all day cos he thinks it’s fun
and he never ever stops
turns my world the wrong way up
no he never ever stops
(here we go again)

almal het n apie
dis daarom dat die wereld lyk soos hy lyk
almal het n apie
en niemand kry sy apie om te wyk nie

everyone has a monkey
that’s why the world looks like it does
everyone has a monkey
no one can stop the buzz

daar’s n ou man by
wie ek altyd goeie raad kry
hy se vir my
as ek daai apie stil wil kry
hoef ek nie verder te soek nie
vir n apie muti nie
want apie sal verdwyn
as ek tyd maak vir stiltetyd

there’s a wise old man I know
he said what’s this all about?
If you want that ape to go
medicine won’t get him out
(he’ll stop being violent
as soon as you are silent)

almal het n apie
dis daarom dat die wereld lyk soos hy lyk
almal het n apie
en niemand kry sy apie om te wyk nie
almal het n apie
niemand word nie gepla nie
niemand het nie n apie nie
wat nie amok wil maak nie
almal het n apie
moet my nie so aangaap nie
jy het ook n apie
kom bring gerus jou apie
ons hou n apie paartie

everyone has a monkey
that’s why the world looks like it does
everyone has a monkey
no one can stop the buzz
everyone has a monkey
but nobody gives a fuck
nobody has a monkey
that doesn’t run amok
everybody has a monkey
don’t look at me like I’m a junkie
cos you have a monkey too
come bring him to the zoo
and we’ll throw a monkey party

Many years ago, on a blog host far away, a blogger translated a song verbatim from Mandarin and I did my thing and made it into a song in English (the lyrics, I mean) and kept pestering her to do more till she was finally all erm it’s very nice but I don’t actually want to do this. LOL! Surprised I wasn’t charged with lyrical assault -.-

I really can be a pain in the ass.

The other song that I think expresses mania and monkey mind beautifully is Robbie Williams – Me and my Monkey.


Writing can be meditation for me, when I am not thinking deeply, but just sitting describing a sunset, or something like that. No question more complex than I wonder what birdcall that is. There are times when it hurts not to write and times when it hurts very much not to be read. Those two things turn easily into a sort of horrible Groundhog Day of an Ouroboros*, with added Catch 22. It’s the best catch there is …

How many times have you been called crazy? Eccentric? Too intense? How often have people just stopped listening, because it’s all too much? How many people need a therapist, because their own circle doesn’t feed itself in terms of talking, listening, caring? How many people feel huge relief when a good friend listens and when strangers online understand?

It’s all rhetoric.

*Poor Ouroboros is not even slightly as horrible as I implied. I should probably have used Jörmungandr (one of Loki’s brats) instead, but eeeeeeeek!


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battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

10 thoughts on “monkey minded me”

  1. For a moment I was scared, but then I remembered, my name is not Violet! LOL I love those lyrics of the monkey song you have translated (thank god, or we would be here for years until we get the correct translation! LOL) Good reading today! I still need to take something to sleep and rest my brain but I am enjoying a lot this good blogging day today or I’m feeling better? I don’t know, maybe I can’t avoid feeling good while reading great posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful, I love the Ouroboros. I just made the connection between the Chinese, lucky number 8 and the yin and yang and the snake. The snake is the new element. Yay I’m smarter now than I was 5 min ago ;) Oh and Afrikaans looks kinda funny, I mean me trying to read it phonetically in my head, that was pretty funny (no offence). Have you heard of Vipassana meditation? I had 2 amazing retreats, each for 10 days, and I had to take a vow of silence…no talking, no eye contact….transformative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Afrikaans is an easy language. Guttural pronunciation, a g like the ch in loch, short and rolled r’s. It’s a slave language, polyglot dutch, german, malay and so forth. It’s a bit like flemish – we can mostly understand it if we know afrikaans. A man once described it to me as mickey mouse dutch. For all that, it has of course got its own beauty and shape and so forth. But ja, phonetics work.

      Liked by 1 person

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