I would like to share with you a wonderful experience I witnessed when I was traveling in Nepal. I was in the capital city of Katmandu, visiting a temple. I was traveling through Nepal with a Russian friend and we were both a little disappointed that the temple we went to see only admitted Hindus. So we stood outside and looked at the splendid architecture for a while and then turned to leave.
There were a number of canopied vendor kiosks along the road, near a building that was several stories high. A group of monkeys were traversing the roof tops, jumping from building to building. Just as a mother monkey jumped from one building to another, the baby that was holding on to her stomach lost its hold and fell all the way down, landing on the canopy of a shopkeeper’s kiosk. I knew this was not an isolated occurrence as the shopkeeper went to get a big pole with a noose so that he could capture the baby monkey. I suspected he could probably make a few weeks’ pay by selling the monkey to one of the traveling entertainers. This monkey was about to have a radical change in its lifestyle.
As the shopkeeper grabbed a small ladder to get up to the canopy and snare the baby monkey, a crowd of people stood watching. As he thrust the lasso snare at the monkey’s head, the baby monkey climbed up to the ledge above the canopy. The shopkeeper looked agitated that he had missed on his first try. The baby monkey started to scream for its mother, which brought the attention of more people. The mother monkey sat at the top of the building looking down frantically in concern for her baby but being afraid of the people, she would not venture down.
The baby monkey climbed a thin water pipe to a higher floor. Now there was only one floor left to go to get back to its waiting mother, but the water pipe ended and there was nothing else the monkey could climb to get up to its mother. The situation seemed impossible and the baby monkey’s desperation was felt by the crowd below, and their comments reflected their anguish.
The baby monkey started to pace back and forth on the ledge of the building, making loud screeching noises to express its great fear and emotional pain. Being an animal lover and realizing this was not a good situation for the baby monkey, I wanted to do something but what? The baby monkey started to scream loudly. I had never known that noises like that could come out of such a small lovable creature.
It was painfully obvious that the baby monkey was panicking. My heart sank just seeing its despair. As it ran back and forth along the ledge in what seemed like a futile search to freedom, all of a sudden it stopped and gazed outward. Out from the ledge probably five feet or so was a very thin wire, something like an antenna wire that went all the way up to the roof! The crowd, including me, hadn’t previously noticed this wire. We had been focused on the plight of the monkey. I doubt the baby monkey had ever jumped before, not any kind of a distance, anyway. You could see the apprehension on its face as it gazed out at the wire. It would gaze intently, then run the full length of the ledge, only to come back and gaze once again at the wire.
The shopkeeper became more alert now as he sensed that the monkey was going to try to get to the wire. He would be prepared if the monkey fell, and he would take it into captivity. The tension built as the monkey screamed, eyeing the wire. It looked, made a few false starts at a jump, only to change its mind each time. The mother kept looking down at her baby and the crowd on the ground had mixed opinions. Some said, “Come on, you can do it!” Others were saying that the monkey was too small and couldn’t make the jump.
The baby monkey ran back and forth a few more times in a frenzied erratic motion. It was obvious it had never experienced anything like this in its short life. Once again it stood at the edge of the ledge and people were wondering if it would ever really jump. Its whole future would be decided in the next few moments and all we could do was wait and see how it turned out. Would it fall and become a slave for the rest of its life? Or would it plunge forward into the unknown and do something it had never done before?
To me, this dilemma held meaning not only for the monkey but for anyone caught in a place needing to make a change.
All of a sudden the baby monkey focused on the wire and with all of its effort leapt from the ledge with every bit of strength and energy it had. It was an amazing sight to see, such a small thing with that much power. To the astonishment of all the people watching, it just barely grabbed the end of that dangling wire, holding on for its dear life, and then scrambled up the wire, where it was reunited with its mother. It jumped back onto her underbelly, and the mother continued on her journey.
Witnessing this event was a powerful reminder to me that we should never underestimate our capabilities. As the respected Russian scholar Ivan Efremoth said, the ordinary person is quite capable of accomplishing many things that, to many, might appear extraordinary. Like the baby monkey showed, extraordinary is really only applying that extra effort that most people do not give. That little extra effort can go a long way in making a huge difference in climbing to new heights in your life.
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“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you!” — William James, M.D, psychologist and philosopher
About Terry Hodgkinson
Terry J. Hodgkinson is a MindFit consultant. He owns Positive Changes Hypnotherapy and Meditation Centre in Toronto, Canada. As a corporate trainer, keynote speaker and retreat leader he enjoys his work so much that he calls it his passion. In 2009 Terry's book, Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja - Walking the Path of Enlightenment was published.
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