As I drove to Northbrook Mall for our flash meditation, I was thinking how scary Flash Mob events can be. You don’t really know how many will show up. And if you are one of the first to get there, you’re afraid no one else might come, and there you will be, chanting on the floor of a big mall during the holiday season with one or two other people. The fun, exciting, glamourous side of Flash Mob is gone and anxiety takes over.
This thought took me back to when I was a student at the Wright Leadership Institute, and they put us in uncomfortable situations all the time. Situations weren’t random. They were meant to wake us up and put some “skin in our game.” The skin is personal risk. The risk is not of self-destructive nature (though it feels that way at the moment because your ego is pretty sure you are going to die), but one of self-affirmation by bringing out what we’ve got. And we’ve all got it. What? Gifts.
Every time I’ve been put in such situations and survived it (we always do), regardless of the outcome, I felt great. Like I accomplished something big, akin to slaying a monster that has kept me locked up. That part of me that hungers to express in a way that is “not me” (a good indication that I have limited myself) that has been yearning to come out forever.
From this flash med experience (there were 7 of us), I’ve taken away much more than what a normal group meditation at a yoga studio or in someone’s home can do:
- Prepare and market the event in advance of more than the week we gave ourselves. With our September flash mob, we prepped for 2 months and we had 40 people going. When the weather turned bad on us (it was cold, dark, rainy and with high winds), we still had around 17 people show, which was remarkable. (And it was then that we decided to make all future flash mobs inside.) We marketed the Sept one with clear time lines to keep our participants informed so that they knew what was happening. The preparation awarded us success in numbers.
- Offer opportunity to meet for tea about a half hour leading up to the flash mob so that participants know that they are in good company. It’s only supposed to look spontaneous.
- Let the mall know what we are doing so that security knows. Yea, they came up to us. Thankfully one of the participant’s husband was there to watch and he spoke with security so we could continue on in our bliss.
- Bring paper handouts so people know what we are doing. Shoppers came up and asked our videographer what was going on. Good opportunity to introduce the practice of Kundalini Yoga and Urban Yoga Chicago.
- With only 7 chanters, the energy was remarkably powerful. The people that were in it were really into it. And we more than survived a scary thing. We experienced a much needed type of community bonding, and we realized that this offered opportunity for more of it. The excitement and personal risk that we experienced created a glue. In a venue that brings us out as we go in, it helped us grow into our light.