Friday, March 4, 2011

Very Simple: Be Happy.

1988 marked a year that would forever change the rest of my life. Nothing quite as dramatic as one may guess, nevertheless it was definitely a great shift in my shortly-lived life which at the time was merely 6 years old. Bobby McFerrin released his single, "Don't Worry, Be Happy." My dad, sister and I danced with this song on repeat for hours on end. That same year, we were living in a very homogenous harbor-town in southern England. A lot of our schoolmates were so perplexed by our obvious differences they could think of no other method to deal with their confusion than by bullying us. "Burnt sausages" was the one expression that comes to mind the most. Fortunately for me, either my age or my complete oblivion in life generally, allowed me to look past this and still befriend a handful of friends who remained so for years to come. My sister, on the other hand, was older and has always had a more instant grasp on reality than I have. She was deeply effected--understandably--by the taunts.

Enter Bobby McFerrin. His lyrics taught us an important life-lesson. In life you'll have some trouble, but when you worry you only make it double. What a genius! As an adult, while teaching English in the Czech Republic there was one class in particular that had an overall gloomy attitude. Nothing interested these 20 year old seniors who were looking to leave school and never look back. So like any teacher would, I came up with a torture tactic. The next time I was greeted by a classroom full of frowns, I would play my oldie goldie! For the next three days, we studied every line, every word, every syllable of the song. By the end of the school year, that class had the best attitude and two years later I still exchange snail-mail with many of my students.
On my Yoga mat, it's often easy for me to feel discouraged. There are so many Asanas to learn! Many involve a lot of upper-body strength which I'm still working on acquiring. Since leaving the Czech Republic I completely forgot about my secret weapon. What a wonderful surprise to see an attached Mp3 of the song on an e-mail I received the other day? Perfect timing. Now, when I practice my handstands I think I'll switch my Tibetan Incantations c.d with good ol' Bobby.
Just in case you've never heard the song, here it is:

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