Like Doris Day so famously once said, “Que sera sera.” (Well, Doris sang the lyrics. But Ray Evans wrote them. It’s like thinking that Barry Manilow wrote “I Write The Songs”. He didn’t. Bruce Johnston did. I’m a lyricist so . . . but I digress!)
Some time ago when Art and I got our BMI statement, it was (by our standards, anyway), a huge stack of pages, the amount paid to us had gone down by a goodly percentage from the previous quarter. It was puzzling — until we learned that the rules had changed yet again. And of course, not to our advantage. (sigh)
When I took the yoga teacher training I was introduced to the concept of kriya yoga. This, far from being “woo-woo” is a highly pragmatic take on how to effectively create change in your life with the minimal degree of suffering. It entails three stages (“kriyas”): Tapas, Svadhyaya, and Isvara Pranidhana.
Tapas means, literally, heat – but also, “contrary action”. In other words, if you want change you have to do something different than what you have been doing before. Svadhyaya means “self-reflection” – often with the help of a counselor, a friend, or a teacher. So although svadhyaya is usually mentioned as the second kriya, I quite agree with my teacher that svadhyaya should probably come before tapas. (Think before you act.) Finally, the last stage: Isvara Pranidhana. This can be translated as “surrendering it to The Universe – or some Higher Power”. In other words: First, think about what you want to achieve. Second, take action. Third, Let Go..
The third step, in my experience, is the hardest.
What has all this got to do with your PRO statement, you may wonder?
Well, here we are. We’ve invested heavily in the first two stages. We have given endless thought to where we would like to take our musical career. We have consulted with colleagues. We have studied the market for production music. That’s “svadhyaya”. We have spent countless hours in our studios creating the best music we possibly could. We have invested hard-earned money in the equipment we need to create the music. We have taken the time to create metadata for each piece and scrupulously submitted it according to the stipulations of each music library. It has been an enormous effort and not without sacrifice. We now turn to the third step.
“But wait!”, I can hear you thinking, “Shouldn’t there be something else? Before I turn this over to some nebulous Universe that can capriciously squelch all my dreams?!” To that I would say this: If there is something else you *can* do, by all means, do that! If you think you can influence the PROs by calling or petitioning, of course! Do that. If you think you can send more of your work out to new libraries, by all means! But at some point, you will realize that you have done all of the “tapas” you can possibly do. Ready for Step 3?
So what does it mean to “surrender to The Universe – or whatever you personally conceive of as something more powerful than yourself? It does not mean giving up on your dreams. It just means that you allow that higher power to take over when you have exhausted all of your resources. It requires faith. It requires trusting that somehow, this will all work out in the best possible way. You will need to be prepared to find out that all your hard work didn’t take you exactly where you had hoped it would. You will need to be prepared to accept that — and move on, whether to your next cue, your next library, or your next career. It sounds so simple, and yet I know it’s extremely challenging. But what is the alternative?
If you hang on to your disappointment, frustration, anger or depression you are bound to suffer. If you can say to yourself, on the other hand: “I did my very best and I’m proud of my work. I can’t control what others may do.” – then you have the opportunity to move forward without the millstone of suffering hanging around your neck. Maybe your experience will prompt you to make some changes. Maybe it will inspire you to try a new musical direction. Maybe it will strengthen your resolve. Maybe it will be a catalyst for a change you never could have imagined six months ago. Maybe you will look back twenty years from now and say, “That was the turning point. . . ” And maybe you will smile.
“The future’s not ours to see/Que Sera Sera!” Om Shanti. And by the way, “Happy New Year!”