How Would You Live?

This following piece was written by Julia Thornton (find her here and here), who needs to start writing more, read below to find out why.


“A friend of mine sent me a video earlier this week because he felt I needed to hear its message. The subject of the video was one I had never before heard, and I thought it a very clever way to address a universal issue that seems to plague many of us.

I then was reading a book a few days ago that I had randomly found in my house during spring break, that I ended up bringing home to Ottawa by absolute chance. This book would have been in my house for years and gone untouched until these moments now.

The craziest thing, is the story in the video my friend had sent me, was the same story told in this book… The odds are so slim its uncanny!

As I outline this story, take a moment to self-reflect. As any good piece of art, it should resonate something within you; and that initial feeling, hold fast to it.

The Foolish Monkey:

The natives have a clever trick on catching Monkeys.

All they must do to trap them, is hollow out a hole in a coconut just large enough for the open hand of a monkey to fit through. Inside the coconut, they place a pebble or seed, and then tie the coconut to a tree.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, what a silly trap. But is it?

The monkeys, being silly themselves, will fit their hand through the hole and grab onto their prize. They soon realize that their closed fist will not free them, as their hand is now too large to release both the prize and their freedom.

The monkeys in turn, are so attached to this so called “prize” that they become trapped by the Natives.

And all they had to do was let go.


This story is so universally relevant because so many of us have that ‘prize’ that we think is more important than our freedom.

No? You don’t agree?

Well let’s look at the ‘prizes’ I see plaguing the people in my life and in this world.


Maybe it’s the warm feeling the tequila brings you, or the loss of feelings so you become numb, but some are holding so tightly to the peace alcohol brings them, to the forget, the numbness, that they’ve accepted a hazy and dim future.


I once had a man tell me that LSD gave his life meaning – that he truly felt alive when he was at his least sober. Yet his come downs were a heart ache, and his life, although meaningful without drugs, felt disconnected and empty.

Weed is also a big one. This recreational drug that does have many benefits, can also be a fist so tightly closed around the prize that some never even realize they’ve lost their freedom. Distraction is what its called. Smoke now, forget your worries, watch Netflix. Smoke later, relax, and again, watch Netflix. I know too many individuals that I would say are wasting their life experiencing movies and being high, all day, everyday, that they never truly LIVE.

Virtual reality? More like reality, with a closer view of the TV.


This is by far, the hardest and most debatable form of imprisonment. Money fuels all of this. Money is the heart of the modern world. It is continuously considered an end, when it is simply a means. Money turns hearts cold and man against man. People become so focused around money and their ability to survive as best as they possibly can, that they kill themselves in University, following a career that will simply help them reach “stability”.

Do you know how many people have told me that? They say, “Yea, I like my program, but I really like the stability of the job”

Well how boring. That is your LIFE. Your career is your LIFE. Ok, so now you’ve got all the money necessary to survive as good as you possibly can… now how will you LIVE?

If money is your happiness because you are so focused on stability, then your job will forever take precedence. Now you’re stuck in a mediocre career, making decent money, cycling through work, money, spend. Work, money, spend.

There are many others too: Anger, Pain, Toxic love, Material things, Negativity. 

You may be thinking, but these prizes aren’t prizes at all. Well, my lovelies, a pebble isn’t much of a prize to a monkey either, but does the monkey realize that?

We are now living in a world where society is pumping us with so much crap that we’ve held on so tightly to temporary prizes that have completely stolen our freedom. Life is meant to be light, joyful, full of LOVE and EXPERIENCES! When was the last time, you as a university student, felt any of these things ASIDE from binge drinking and partying with friends?

Are you trapped? Is your fist clenched so tight that you feel as though you will never let go?

Your freedom is awaiting you and it is in the palm of your hand. Find what is stealing your joy, find your vice, find your empty fuel tank and replace it with one that will never run dry.

These prizes are stealing our lives, and we’ve forgotten how to live. Most people don’t even know how they would live if they were free.
So, I ask you, how would you live?”

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