The Bliss Blog

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars: you have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” C.S. Lewis

When I was a little girl, I liked to climb things, get dirty, play in the mud, ride my bike, skate, sled,  and fly a kite. I also enjoyed playing with dolls, arts and crafts supplies, and musical instruments. I immersed myself in the world of words, becoming a voracious reader. In other words, I was a pretty well rounded kid. I also felt a need to prove myself. That came from multiple health diagnoses, including asthma and being flat footed and pigeon toed  which required frequent doctor’s visits, allergy shots, and red, clunky looking orthopedic shoes instead of loafers or sneakers like my friends wore. The monkey bars in the playground at Pennypacker Park Elementary School became my challenge course. They were probably no more than 6 feet from end to end, but to me, they might as well have been a mile long.

The first time I climbed the ladder to reach for the first rung, my heart was racing…”Could I do what the other kids did, moving hand over hand to the end in one graceful swoop?”  Nope. After the first few bars, I dropped to the dusty ground beneath it, feeling discouraged. I don’t remember if they made fun of me, but the taunting inside my head was obnoxiously loud. The next time, I went perhaps one bar further and hung there for a few more moments that felt like an eternity. I was so determined to do this that I developed blisters on my hands. I wasn’t about to give up.  Not sure how long it took, but eventually I made my way to the other side. Never again could I say I couldn’t do it. Such a sense of triumph!

Now the thing is, I did have to release one bar before moving to the next one, or I would never have reached the end and my blisters would have grown blisters. How long do we cling to distressing memories as if they are still happening? What stops us from relinquishing the cold steel bars of regret, what if’s and if onlies, shoulda, woulda, coulda thinking?  What if monkeying around was as much fun as swinging from vines in a rain forest jungle or simply playground equipment in a suburban South Jersey schoolyard? Hey Hey, We’re The Monkees

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