As the monks continued on their way, one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he finally spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"
The second monk replied, “I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”
Over a year ago I was speaking at a large magic convention overseas. After the lecture, I received many compliments and an enormous amount of positive feedback. I sold out of almost all of my lecture material and I was tidying up, when I suddenly felt someone was standing near me.
That’s when I saw him – and not for the first time.
I noticed him frequently during the lecture. In an assembly of happy, smiling and enthusiastic faces – his was always – well, let’s just say - neither happy, smiling, or enthusiastic.
He asked me a question about one of my items and I answered – trying hard (perhaps too hard) to win him over. He responded almost angrily and dismissed my response – then turned and left in a huff. Honestly, I couldn’t really read where the negativity was coming from.
It shook me.
I think it shook him a bit too. Because the next day, he approached me again and apologized for being abrupt. While I appreciated the apology – the seed was already growing in my brain.
Was it the material - or was it just me?
How could I have turned the situation?
What part did I play in creating it?
I tend to think about these things for far too long. Out of all the positive response I received, that one guy pops up in my head more often than any accolades.
Being a performer of any kind means constantly opening yourself up in front of an audience. Being vulnerable – and sensitive to all incoming feedback. But you can’t know everything. You can’t control everything. Or ever know what is going on in any specific audience member’s brain.
All you can do is your best – and some days, you won’t even be able to do that.
During this time of year when kindness is moved a bit more forward, remember to show yourself a little compassion too.
And know when it’s time to put her down.