A few years ago on a day trip to Tarpon Springs I wandered into a store filled with the coolest and most eclectic things. They had unique jewelry, cards with clever sayings and an entire wall of singing bowls. I passed by the bowls giving them a full on Sherry eye roll silently thinking, whatever.
At that point in my yoga teaching career, I had not ever been able to make a singing bowl sing. It felt like an epic fail. I felt like I had not been expressing my craft as fully as I could and that was a continued source of disappointment.
When you graduate from Yoga teacher training it somehow seems you are expected to emerge with intimate knowledge of unusual things. Things that before yoga teacher training you may not have even heard of; like singing bowls or the healing benefits of Matcha tea. In any case, I wanted to make a singing bowl sing so badly that I picked them up every where I saw them and to no avail. Not a sound came from any bowl that I ever tried.
So when I saw the wall of singing bowls in the coolest store ever, I hesitated to even touch one because I was enjoying my day and wanted to keep it that way. The super friendly store owner saw me leering at the bowls with my disapproving face and she said, “Has a bowl picked you yet?”
Pick me? Hmphhhh. I scowled.
She continued, “ The bowl needs to pick you, not the other way around.” I shared the unfortunate news. “I can’t make them sing. I’m a yoga teacher but I can’t make one singing bowl sing.” This announcement was accompanied by a full blown frown on my face. She explained, “When you pick up the right bowl for you it will sing without effort. Try a few more.” Still, I felt like stomping away like a four year old because I was pretty sure she was wrong.
She was however encouraging and friendly so I began to pick them up one by one to try and make one of them sing. She would shortly see what I already knew.
As expected, they didn’t budge. Not a sound or vibration came forth. Completely validated and sporting my “told ya so” face, I picked up just one more singing bowl. I guess I did so to undeniably drive the point home. Before I could even finish striking the bowl with the wooden mallet, it began to sing. Let me clarify. This bowl didn’t just sing, it began to belt out a joyful noise to rival the likes of Andrea Bocelli straight out of Rome. It was bananas. The sound was so loud and reverberatory that I saw a dog three stores away turn and stare at me and the bowl. I was befuddled.
Her voice broke my trance, “See, it picked you,” I think it was the store owners version of a mic-drop. Positively speechless, I handed her my Amex card and left with my otherworldly singing bowl. Now, every Thursday in my Yin class, I love to make it sing.
Whenever I use my singing bowl it reminds me to be open and to give myself the opportunity to suspend judgement and allow. It reminds me that just because I have had a similar outcome for an extended period of time doesn’t mean that I have to accept that as my truth forever.
There are many times in our lives when we feel stuck in something because we continue to experience it in a certain way (I can’t make it sing). We begin to accept that as our truth and then solidify it by continuously repeating it to ourselves with passion. This is like cosmic cement, forever casting our limiting beliefs (I can’t make it sing) into reality. We have the opportunity to step out of our knowing (as in I KNOW this will never work) and allow for the possibility that we can have a different outcome.
Whenever you hear yourself saying “I can’t”, or “this doesn’t work”, or “it never happens for me”, maybe be open to the simple possibility of a new outcome. You are worth the consideration to be generous with yourself. You are incredible, capable and talented in so many ways. If there is something in your life that you just can’t seem to make sing, suspend your judgement and allow. Remind yourself that you already have everything inside of you to be successful and legendary; at whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish.
You can do this. We all can.
If you’re curious about singing bowls, here is an interesting article about the healing benefits of sound therapy. Tibetan Singing Bowls.