We’re accustomed to hearing sad stories about our world: terrorist attacked, accidental deaths, car crashes, explosions, and more permeate our lives through the media. And perhaps because of the profusion of ‘bad’ news, we forget that the world is magical, mysterious, and often humorous. I was reminded of this on a simple Sunday evening.
I’d wanted to see Mark Handler performing with singing bowls and Tibetan overtone chanting for years, but the dates and times had never quite lined up correctly, so I was excited when Red Bloom Yoga Community Center announced his June appearance.
The day was the warmest we’d had yet this summer, so I worked in the garden a bit, read books, watched old episodes of the BBC’s Escape to the Country on YouTube (it’s a far more entertaining version of HGTV’s House Hunters,) spent too much time on social media, and otherwise lounged around the house. And, shortly before the appointed concert start time, I changed my clothes and walked to the yoga center.
Though they’d sold advance tickets, I hadn’t bothered to purchase one, and was hoping I’d get in the door. I was greeted as I came into the entrance hall, and was in luck. I nabbed one of the last available spots. One of the owners gave me a quick tour, and invited me to remove my shoes before entering the performance space. I slipped my Dansko sandals off just at the door to that space, walked to an awaiting yoga mat, sat down, and entered meditation.
Mark Handler was already in the room, seated in the center of a collection of singing bowls. He chatted, rearranged, drank water, chatted, and rearranged. The room filled and the performance commenced. The participants laid down on yoga mats, some covered with the wool blankets, and relaxed. The sound of the singing bowls permeated everything.
The music ended and slowly the audience returned to sitting positions. Some shared stories of their experience during the music. In fact, the tones of singing bowls create an energy conducive to sleep, deep meditation, and out of body experiences. As a result, after these experiences you’re often not quite all there. Based on my experiences, it’s not the same ‘out of control’ that you have when drunk, it’s more spacey or even “airy fairy.” Fortunately, with more exposure to the various states produced by meditation, you learn how to bring yourself into the present moment and location.
Anyway, the discussions continued, and a few people left. No doubt they needed to get home and prepare for the new work week. I lingered as the energy in the room subsided and felt grounded and complete. Eventually though, I walked out to the entry hall and looked for my sandals.
They were gone.
My favorite Dansko sandals were gone. Kaput. Missing in action. Disappeared.
I looked around the small entry hall a few times. Nope.
Maybe in the cubbies in the performance space? Nope.
At that point, one of the yoga center owners approached me and together, we hunted for my sandals. We didn’t find them.
Through this hunting for my missing sandals not once did I give in to the desire to rant and rave. It would have been easy to get mad, to raise my voice, to complain, to insist that the center refund my concert entrance price or drive me home. Instead, I laughed.
I knew that, in the place of clarity and compassion and love and trust engendered by the experience of the singing bowls, my sandals would return to me. I knew they would do everything they could to ensure that this was put right, and they didn’t disappoint.
They shared stories of how others had had shoes or coats taken by mistake, and how it always worked out fine. I kept laughing, as I was confident this mystery would be solved in the most gracious and mysterious way.
They quickly reached out to the people who had left the singing bowl concert before me and – sure enough – someone had walked out wearing my sandals. Unfortunately she lived an hour away from the center, so couldn’t return immediately. She agreed that we would simply exchange sandals for the time being, and return each other’s to the yoga center.
Her NAOT brand sandals fit my feet perfectly, and I wore them home. I’d always wondered how they would feel, and I did like them. I missed my Dansko’s and their arch support, but made it home with no problem. The next day, I returned her sandals to the yoga center.
A couple of days later, they called me to say that mine had returned. So once again, I walked to the yoga center.
“Are you here for a class or for the other event?” asked the receptionist.
“I’m here for shoes,” I replied. She laughed, and knew exactly what I was talking about. I slipped my shoes into a bag, and headed home.
This is how the world is supposed to work: a little mischiveness, a little sadness, a little magic. Yes, I was sad (and sure, a little mad) that my sandals had disappeared. But I hold a strong belief that -most of the time- the world is friendly and that your things come back to you.
For example, in my last year of college, I went to see a band play at a party on a bitter cold winter’s night. I dropped my coat on a pile of other coats and danced the winter’s night away. When it was time to go home, the coat was gone. I dashed home, shivering all the way. The next day, I learned that someone had taken all of the coats at the party. My coat, and all of the other coats, were recovered in a nearby town.
Of course, life doesn’t always work out that way. No matter how much you trust in the universe, bad things happen. How you respond at these times, and when the ‘simple bad’ things like missing sandals happen, say a lot about your sense of the world.
I believe in magic.
I trust in the power of love to transform fear.
I know the universe is kind, generous, and has a wicked sense of humor.
And I believe I’ll return to Red Bloom Yoga Center in the future.
And if I ever happen to meet the person who purloined my sandals, I believe I’ll have found a new friend.