This is no time for monkey business!

I heard a bloodcurdling growl from my left…Less than a foot away, sitting on the fence, at face level to me was this big male battle scarred monkey….

Ever since lock down started, I have been taking my little adopted doggie Cookie out for her morning walk. In the early days the rules we strict. Specified timings. Only people with dogs allowed out (so she was my excuse to meet my friends – the trees and flowers for a few minutes every day). Then as the rules eased, more and more people started appearing and we were no longer alone, as we ventured out for a quick peep at the virus filled world.

Once the novelty of going out wore off, the fear factor also lessened. Our morning outing became sort of a familiar routine. Mask, sanitiser, paper for the lift button and off we went. That’s when accidents happen. When you get careless. Monkeys reminded me of this important lesson not once but twice last week.

The growl that got me thinking. Ironically it’s this growl that also reminded me to stop thinking so much and pay attention to all that is happening around me. I was walking along in the ‘dog walk area’ just outside our condo gate. It’s a fenced off section between the main road and the compound wall. Lots of trees. Nice and shady. It was early morning and a gentle cool breeze was blowing. No other dog walkers were in sight, just Cookie and I. I was lost, deep in thought – having an imaginary conversation with the CEO of one of my clients’.

I have a meeting slated next week and I was rehearsing all that I want to share with him. Thinking of the right words to use. The best way to put forward my point of view. Thinking of the questions that I should ask him and the ones he may have for me. Lost in the future. Missing out those beautiful moments with cookie.

Lost in this make believe world, I lost sight of where I was and this nearly cost me dearly. I heard a bloodcurdling growl from my left. Cookie I think got even more scared than I did. Less than a foot away, sitting on the fence, at face level to me was this big male battle scarred monkey. I nearly jumped out of my skin. We ran for our lives. Faster than I have run in a long, long time.

If only I had been fully present. With my wits about me. I would have seen him. I would have steered clear of that dangerous encounter. Maybe he was as scared or taken by surprise, whatever the reason, we got lucky and got away shaken but unharmed. As I made my way home and my heart rate returned to normal, I thought of all the ways that morning walk could have ended. If the monkey had attacked me. If cookie had attacked the monkey. Rabies injections. Visits to the hospital. Pain. Fear. Endless “what if’s”. A scary reminder of how easy it is to get careless.

Now more than ever is the time to keep my wits about me. Stay focused. Stay present. The bonus would have been enjoying my morning walk more fully.

Even this was not enough of a warning though. Two days later, with all my wits about me now, focussed on staying present and in the moment, I was out again. This time a baby monkey scampered across our path. A really cute and playful fellow. He was perched on the electric blue bonnet of a Jeep that was parked in our driveway. He was in a playful mood and with the help of a windscreen wiper that was sticking upright, started using the windshield as a slide. He was clearly having a blast.

I stopped a respectful distance away and took out my phone to try and get a video of the bonnet top antics. Just then another walker approaching me was signalling vigorously for me to move away. I began to tell him to mind his own business when I saw some movement from the corner of my eye. It was that big scary daddy monkey again. This time inches away from me, perched on a wall watching me watching his baby.

So the message I received last week, loud and clear, was– ‘Stay Alert & Be Careful’ – especially when you venture out of your safe space. Don’t allow my ‘monkey mind’ to take over. The one that pulls me away from the present moment. Sometimes taking me back down memory lane and often racing into imaginary futures. This is not the time for monkey business. Not a time to be careless. Stay sharp. Stay present. Stay safe.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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