In India, they sometime use a particular way of trapping monkeys, where they take a coconut and cut a small hole in one end. Then they tie the coconut with a wire to the base of the tree. And they put a banana inside the coconut. Monkeys come down from the tree and they put their hand in the coconut. But the hole is crafted so that if you grasp the banana, you can not get your hand out of the hole. The fist is too big. You have to let go of the banana, to actually release your hand. So the monkeys don’t want to let go. And that’s how they are trapped. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

I’ve thought of this story a lot lately. There is a similar story, about a Racoon that won’t let got of something shiny, that I read in the book “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls. When thinking about setting goals and making plans for my future how often have I held on to a past behavior knowing that it was a trap? The value of commitment, that I am working on for the month of January, I believe will help improve my happiness. How often do I make plans and goals and stick with them only to return to my own poor choices of the past. My guess is that I’m not alone in this. If I was alone there would not be thousands of diet and fitness program, Rehabilitation facilities, debit relief counselors, or, well, fill in the blank.

Commitment is hard work. Looking past the instant gratification of what is inside the coconut (the trap). I think I have to accept the fact that it is a trap!!! I might enjoy my past choices, it may be something that even makes me happy in the moment. But I have to look ahead. How am I going to feel about my decision in the future? Will I regret my decision, will it lead me to a decision that is way off base of where I want to be? My decision is part of my story and my story not only affects me but it affects those who are around me.

So part of my awareness in my work on commitment and my journey towards happiness is do I HOLD ON? or do I LET GO? Those are decisions that I will make every day, and with each decision, I’m building my future and affecting (and influencing) the people around me.

It’s not an easy task, but I’m letting go.

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