The chimp that came for coffee

magine, as I am right now, that you are sat in your kitchen drinking a coffee.

Life is care free, you’re relaxed 😎 cool and calm.

Suddenly, in a cartoon like fashion- a monkey, THE monkey,

squeezes its way out through your ear.

You are still strangely relaxed given what has just happened.

Helped no doubt by the fact that the emotional part of your brain

in now sat in front of you rather than controlling things from the inside.

Your monkey however is anything but calm, wired to communicate

through emotion your monkey is trembling in the corner

eyes darting at every sound.

Fortunately it’s your monkey, you recognise the emotion.

It’s fear, you know it’s not rational but you also know what to do.


Your monkey has a life long love for hot chocolate,

even the making process seems to create more calm.

Two thoughts dawn on you:

This association really is life long, it’s almost as if it was

a pattern started when mum gave you breast milk and

cuddles when your were upset.

The second realisation is that all of a sudden, giving

comfort food seems like an act love not of failed

will power or self sabotage.


You clearly see a major source of the diet struggle,

diets aren’t just deprivation of food, they are deprivations of love.


The monkey calms down and comes and sits with you.

You start chatting and you quickly notice that your monkey

is completely incapable of rational thought.


Worse than that it keeps creating elaborate scenarios about

your relationships, job, marriage, money , clothes, appearance.


This person thinks this, this person thinks that,

who do I love?

Who loves me?
What if this, what if that?

With each new imaginary story the monkey grabs another

sip of hot chocolate, relaxes a little and then off it goes again.


You recognise your own instinct to do this and you’re glad

that most of the time you are able to rationalise it.

Although you do note that sometimes these stories

get the better of you too.


You empathise with the monkey but you really want to

understand what it gets from the hot chocolate.

“How does it make you feel you ask?”

“U’m safe I guess”

“But then I start to feel sick, and tired 😴 and even

more emotional 😭 it’s like a vicious circle” says the monkey.

“So why do it then?” You ask.

“Because that’s what love is!”

Suddenly it dawns on you.

It’s not the monkey that’s the problem, the monkey just wants love,

it’s the monkeys definition of love that is causing the problem.


“What else makes you feel love?” you ask the monkey.

It’s eyes light up!

“Hugs, and cooking for others, and long walks in the countryside,

and chatting with my best friends, and sex, and my favour films

and friends re-runs and waking up before everyone else and

enjoying the silence and yoga and being good at my job and

feeling like I’m making the world a better place and laughing

til my face hurts and singing and dancing and trying new things,

going to new places and meeting new people.”


“Wow, that sounds incredible, why don’t you do those things?”

You ask, a little inspired.

“I’m scared” says the monkey.

“Why” you ask.

“It’s the difficult conversations and what other people will think of me”

The monkey says.

Things are really starting to make sense to you now.

“But… you are worrying about those things anyway.

Do you think, if you’re going to be scared either way,

you might as well do it while being yourself and having

the time of your life?”


The monkey smiles and says something really cliché like:

“Let’s do this” and hops back into your ear

You vow never to tell another living soul about what happened.

But you do start taking action.


Because you see that being yourself is how it starts.

When you start to recognise yourself you start treating

yourself with love.

more often than not this means with health too.

Ed Ley