A Chocolate-Covered Path to the Moment
Post written by David Romanelli.
The date was October 15, 1988.
I was 15 years old.
My dad took me to Game 1 of the 1988 World Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
To make a painful and long story very short, the Dodgers’ Kirk Gibson hit a dramatic home run with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Dodgers the come-from-behind victory.
This is widely considered one of the most famous moments in sports history.
When he hit that home run, my dad and I were actually sitting in his car driving down the 405 freeway. We missed one of the most famous moments in sports history because my dad wanted to leave the game early and beat the traffic in the parking lot.
This is happening more and more often. We are missing the important moments in our lives.
If not leaving early to beat the traffic, then we forget to enjoy a meal because weâ€™re watching the news while eating; or we fail to recognize a full moon because who has time for a full moon when 100 emails await your reply?!
As the great yogi Iyengar said, “We throw ourselves from one endeavor to another, believing that speed and movement is all there is in life.”
And in this mission for speed and movement, we miss so much of the life experience.
As a yoga teacher who struggles with Attention Deficit and a stocky, un-yogic body (the first page in my book talks about my manboobs), I find sitting meditation to be difficult.
So I have come up with a more active form of meditation that is based on an easy, accessible mantra. It’s a mantra that helps me and my students find a little more presence and joy on the go. I call it the BFD Mantra: “A beautiful, funny, and delicious moment each day keeps the stress away.”
It sounds elementary but I believe that sometimes we need to get back to the basics when it comes to enjoying life and embracing the simple pleasures.
The BFD Mantra was inspired by The Joshua Bell Experiment. You may be familiar with it but just in caseâ€¦
â€¦in 2007, The Washington Post conducted an experiment whereby world famous violinist Joshua Bell, with his $1.5 million antique Stradivarius violin, was positioned in a Washington DC subway stop during rush hour.
If you had seen him, heâ€™d have looked like a street performer. But if you had truly listened, he would have sounded like one of the worldâ€™s great musicians.
Over the course of the 45 minutes that Joshua performed, 1,070 people hurried past, few even turning to look. Only seven people stopped, if just for a few seconds.
After reading about Joshua Bell, I thought to myself that I probably would not have stopped. There’s a good chance I’d have been texting or facebooking or chatting on my cellâ€¦and walked right by Joshua Bell.
Here’s the million dollar question: would you be ready to pause and listen if you stumbled upon something like The Joshua Bell experiment?
As we know all too well, itâ€™s not easy to build the capacity, patience, and wherewithal to stop and smell the roses. Our relationship to beauty says much about our character. As Thoreau said, â€œPerception of beauty is a moral test.â€
Each day before you go to sleep, I encourage you as I encourage myself and my yoga studentsâ€¦take a moment to recall some instance of beauty in your day, whether crazy graffiti art on the wall or the sound of a distant church bell to ring you into the moment.
Even more rare than beauty is laughter. By laughter, I don’t mean a passing chuckle but rather a good, hard, sidesplitting laugh that is scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, increase vascular flow, and boost the immune system.
We all take life too seriously and could benefit from loosening the grip and laughing more often.
For instance, I have been teaching Yoga & Chocolate workshops for several years. Last year, there was a person critiquing yoga classes around the country and mine was one of them. Let me share some of this person’s harsh reviews. I will keep the yoga teachers’ names anonymous.
â€¢ All of 97 pounds, _____ _______â€™s screechy voice and tedious sequencing made me wistful for a shot of Demerol and a colonoscopy. Actually forget the Demerol.
â€¢ The sheer stench of ___ ____ as he lay on my back during a forward fold sent me running to the toilette causing an all-orafice eruption the likes of which I have not experienced since eating street meat in Jaipur.
â€¢ I couldnâ€™t even begin to focus on the yoga while pondering the grime in ___ ____â€™s beard.
â€¢ Thank God for the chocolate because the yoga in ____ _______â€™s class made me feel like a lobotomized rodent with my scrotum trapped on a hamster wheel.
Of course, the last review pertained to me and my class. What is one to do?
As goes the quote by Henry Beecher, “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs, jolted by every pebble in the road.”
Before putting your head on the pillow at night, try to find something stressing you out,
some way you are taking life too seriouslyâ€¦and laugh it off!
And lastly, the word “stressed” spelled backward is desserts. For the past 8 years, as mentioned above, I’ve presented the Yoga & Chocolate experience. After yoga class, the participants indulge in super exotic and delicious chocolate. It’s all about living through our senses, instead of our minds.
I once read that every single form of technology in our culture is an extension of the mind. There is not yet a form of technology that’s an extension of our emotions and senses.
Given the amount of time we spend each day glued to our technology, we overuse our minds and underuse our senses.
It’s so common to be in the midst of a powerful moment and whip out the cell phone to take a picture or videoâ€¦or send a tweet or text. All of these pale in comparison to the power of recording a moment as a scent, touch, taste, or sound.
Most powerful of all is scent, because scent is the only one of the senses to trigger an emotion before it triggers a thought. That’s why scent-oriented memories can really move us.
For instance, whenever I smell Drakkar-Noir cologne, I’m transported back to 1988 and my 10th Grade semi-formal. I must have bathed in the stuff because it triggers a vivid memory of my beautiful date who was from the Valley in LA and had hair puffed so high with product that you couldnâ€™t see the blue background on her driverâ€™s license image.Â Â Yes, Drakkar-Noir takes me there every time!
That night was meaningful because I was still a virgin and urban legend had it that the right cologne (if you can call it that) would help you score.
As cheesy as the word â€œdrakkarâ€ sounds and as bad as it looks in that unchanging, dark metallic Euro-cool bottle, nowadays Drakkar is literally a time machine. One spritz and Iâ€™m right back in the limo 22 years ago. I wish I had more memories as rich and vivid as this one.
The more we are able to smell, taste, and touch life for all its delicious and savory sweetness, the more vibrant our moments and memories will be.
If you think back to a week ago Wednesday, or two weeks ago Tuesday, do you remember anythingâ€¦or is your life, like mine, becoming a big blur?
I invite you to give the BFD Mantra a try, sign up to receive your Moment of the Day, and take a few seconds each day to savor a piece of chocolate; or stop and watch a street musician; or laugh at your crazy, stressed out self because sometimes that is our last resort before going insane.
I hope you discover the BFD Mantra to be an entertaining a way by which to begin the process of slowing down and preparing for the wherewithal and skills that go into a deeper meditation practice. And if all else fails, let us just enjoy the moments.
As goes my favorite quote by Robin Sharma, “Life is just a series of moments, if you miss the moments, you miss your life.”
David Romanelli is a pioneer in modernizing the ancient practice of yoga. His Yoga for Foodies, Yoga + Chocolate, and Yoga + Wine experiences have been featured inÂ Food + Wine, The New York Times, Newsweek, and Oprah Magazine; and his bookÂ Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the MomentÂ reached #1 on theÂ Amazon.comÂ Self-Help Bestseller List.Â Check out his website:Â www.yeahdave.com