Listen to the Symphony


Over the weekend I was in a Whole Foods Market (lucky you if you’ve got one near you) and I overheard one of the employees answering a question about the “hot” in peppers. I came into hearing range mid-sentence but the answer is just as good as an example…. “you know the Bose people? They do the same kind of demonstration about sound in their stores –sound can be reproduced from speakers, but lacks the depth and breadth of a live performance because only one type of sound wave – direct – is represented.

They add reflected sound, and the experience becomes like a live performance.” (I didn’t know that either – and where does Whole Foods get guys that know this stuff???). He continued, “in the same way, while we know what makes peppers taste hot, extracting that substance and using it doesn’t recreate the experience of eating and tasting a hot pepper, it’s ALL the stuff in the pepper that makes a pepper not only hot, but taste like a pepper.”

Wow – I thought – this guy is brilliant! He’s come up with an example that is easy to understand, and that I can use in trying to describe to women that are having difficulty imagining what Green Mountain at Fox Run is like.

Since real lifestyle change (the kind that sticks) is very experiential – like listening to music – listing a bunch of classes and workshops doesn’t convey the message of how the change happens, any more than single notes can tell you what a symphony sounds like.

Hearing about feeding yourself well is a start, but the spark of change doesn’t get ignited until you walk into the dining room, and experience eating a meal that leaves you fully satiated without feeling stuffed.

When this happens over several days, and you find yourself having more energy, able to work better and harder at fitness activities, able to stay awake in the afternoon then you’ve really learned something. When you pull on your pants and find that they want to fall down when you stand up, that’s another piece of the experience – it’s just not all the experience.

I’m trying to integrate “orchestral” thinking into my life in response to the trend in reductionism in thinking that’s been going on for quite some time (think back before “soundbite” was a term we all knew). When you want to hear all the music that your body’s orchestra plays, sometimes you need some help in getting quiet enough to hear the melody. Keep listening for all the music, not just one note.

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