“I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the Stern Fact, the Sad Self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ever wonder if you’re looking for answers everywhere but the right place?
A few months after I launched Sonic Yoga in NYC, I got a fantasy call. The managing editor of a top magazine wanted to come, take a special class I’d developed, then write about it. It was a huge break, I was nervous and psyched.
This could really put us on the map…
Plus, the class she was coming to take wasn’t just any old class, it was our “signature” class, called Sonic Flow. Once a week, the morning of the class, I’d gather up all my CDs (this was pre-iPod, can you believe?!), run them into a DJ mixing board and literally mix-down a soundtrack where the beats per minute were precisely matched to the rythm of the class.
Then, later that day, I’d burn the soundtrack onto a CD (again, pre-iPod), practice to it myself to make sure everything was cool, then use it for the real event at night.
So, the day comes for me to teach, we get news that the editor is in town and I go about my routine, mixing, then burning the soundtrack. So far, so good.
But, this is where things start to fall apart…
The class is set for 7pm. Around 4pm, I set up my mat, pop in the CD and start my practice. Twenty minutes in, all is well. Soundtrack rocks, the pace works really well with the flow I planned to teach that evening. And, then I hear it.
It starts as a slight bit of background static. But over the next few minutes, it grows to a cacaphony of sputters, chaos, shrieks and white noise. What the?!
I jump up and check the buttons and cables, then hit play. Same awful sound. I unplug the entire system and reboot. The noise gets worse than ever.
Oh man…”I’ve fried my sound system,” I decry!
Now hours before the managing editor of a top magazine is flying in from California to write about a class…based largely on the soundtrack.
Time for quick thinking. If you’ve ever played music and you live in NYC, you know there’s a block where all the big music stores are. And, it was only a few blocks from my yoga studio. So, I ran to biggest store on the block and said, “I need a sound system, stat!”
The guy looked at me like I was possessed, but 30-minutes and a few thousand bucks later, I was in a cab with a new sound system on the way back to the studio.
I hauled the system up the stairs, but, by then, the lobby was packed with people waiting for “the Flow,” including the editor and the previous class was in full swing. So, piece by piece, I snuck the new system into the practice room and set it up while people moved, breathed and sweated all around me. I literally finished plugging in the system as that class was ending and my class was coming in.
But, I’d made it. Salvaged disaster…or so I thought…
The room was packed, the editor standing directly in front of my teacher’s mat as I began to teach. Ten minutes in, everyone was loosening up. Fifteen minutes, grooving and breathing.
Twenty minutes in…disaster strikes.
The sound. That awful sound comes roaring back. Within minutes the soundtrack is overcome with unbearable noise and distortion.
And at that moment, it dawns on me…
The sound system is fine. The old sound system was fine. The problem was…I’d burned a bad disk.
I’d checked everything but the most obvious problem. The source. The CD. Forty people, twenty minutes, one high-profile editor and the worst class in the history of yoga was in the process of unfolding.
All, because I went looking for the problem in the wrong place.
Wake up call, Big time. Not just for this class. But for life, in general.
How many times have you felt something’s just not right?
Probably every time you’ve uttered the words, “if only…”
- If only you lived somewhere else.
- If only you worked for someone else.
- If only it were sunnier, hotter, cooler, more relaxed, faster paced.
- If only you made more money,
- If only you had more square feet,
- If only you had blond hair,
- If only you had cooler clothes,
- If only you drove a faster car,
- If only you had sassier jeans…
Then, you’d finally be happy…NOT!
All too often, we look for happiness by changing the circumstances and conditions that surround us. Man, we’re sooo sure that if this one thing were different, our lives would change. But, then something happens.
We change that thing we believed with all our hearts would make a huge difference and finally make us happy…and we still feel the same. Because, we were looking at changing everything but the one thing that would truly make a difference.
So, I’m wondering. What would happen if the next time we thought about starting a sentence with the words, “if only,” we took a step back and asked if THAT’S really the source of the problem…or if it’s really just a way to distract us from doing the work needed to deal with what really needs fixing.
So, what do you think?
Ever been there, missed cues like me?
Wondering why pain remains, though circumstances change?
[P.S. – In case you’re wondering how the story worked out. I started cracking up when I realized what happened, popped in another CD and kept on keeping on. It was a great class, but, despite that fact that I explained what had happened in the the interview that followed, the article in the magazine still featured the sonic meltdown. Such is life. Live and learn.]
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