I’ve been a yoga teacher for almost 15 years, sort of. I mean I started leading classes about 15 years ago. I’m just about now getting to the point where I feel like I can teach stuff. Seriously. As a novice teacher I thought I knew a bunch and wanted to demonstrate it. Now I pretty much have matured to the point where I want to share the little that I do know. Most of the time anyways. Human by nature. Ego a byproduct, but less than before. What can I say? Progress is progress.
With that theme in mind I will “disclaim” the upcoming topic by saying I realize that I never was the first to make this next observation any more than I can “teach” trikonasana in a way that it hasn’t been taught before. I am not re-inventing any wheels. I make no brilliant statements of new fact. I just had this eye opening awareness over that last few days that was driven home by something CJ said while we were at a Metro stop in Arrondisement 11. We were admiring a young French girls hunter green combat boots that she wore smartly over a pair of black leggings. You could just tell by the look that they were very well made and probably quite expensive. Yes I like fashion way more than any straight man I know, but I digress, so anyways, here’s what she said. “The French are about quality, not quantity JIm.”
EXACTEMENT MON CHERIE!
It hit me like a giant block of marble falling from over head. I’ve always known this. I’ve always observed it. I’ve always pretty much loved it, but it was never as clear as it was to me at that moment. I mean who needs 24 ounces of prime aged beef porterhouse steak when you can have 5 delicious ounces of well seasoned beef, cooked perfectly and sauced nicely. Why not savor a half bottle of really great wine instead of swill a 1.5 jug of Barefoot Cellars (2 a.m night’s at un-named friend’s houses in New Buffalo excluded). A closet full of crappy Sketcher’s not even as serviceable as a great pair of Italian made shoes. A quaint 1100 square foot apartment in a nice neighborhood is a much greater joy (to me at least) than a 2700 square foot three car garage monstrosity in Stepfordville, USA. I could go on and on with theme of course but I think I’ve made my point. Right?
Well anyone who knows me a bit, would definitely understand that I have never been one to shy away from quality. In fact I’ve pretty much always loved to “have” the things that exceeded my means and often times went ahead and “had” them anyways. Problem is that I also have been a big fan of quantity. See the two just don’t match up very well. Maybe there is a life adjusting lesson here, maybe not. Maybe I should take back that pair of Johhny Varvatos boots that I found at The Rack for about half price or maybe I should wear them tomorrow and eliminate the possibility. Who knows, but I do know that I have been thinking a lot in the past few days about the beauty of simplicity and excellence. So here I am armed with my new minimalistic approach, a sense of sometimes less is more. And then this morning we went to the Louvre.
Now I’m not sure if visiting the Louvre either made my new “awareness” more salient, or if it blew it totally out of the water, or both? What I do know is that if you are looking for an example of quality meeting quantity, look no further than here I’ll say. I’ve always heard people say, “you could spend a week at the Louvre.” I thought, “NOT ME.” Well I now think I could spend a lifetime at the Louvre, BUT, somehow my four hour, redheaded guided, Rick Steve’s assisted walking tour left me sated. Kind of remarkable. To put in in terms that I have a good bit of experience with, it’s like going to a wine tasting with 100’s of the best wines in the world, but not really being able to appreciate all of them in one session. Eventually sensory overload kicks in and you need to walk away and digest. Sometimes less is more, eh?
The Mona Lisa is the most visited piece of art in the world. It is sometimes thought of as “overrated”. It has long been argued exactly who or what is is “about”. It sits behind a plate of glass and bars and ropes. It is smaller in size than nearly every other work in it’s wing. It is buried, to use CJ’s words, “Balls deep in hordes of pushy tourists” with cameras the size of telescopes. It has the potential to be the biggest let down of all the major pieces in the entire Louvre, but then there you are, standing three feet in front of it, and you oh so totally get it.
Simplicity and excellence. Detail and mystery. Summed up as maybe it never has been before or never will be again. I had goosebumps as I looked it over, and then I had to go back and have another look before we left the wing. I’m pretty sure that I’ll never quite see things the same as I used to, and for that I am yet another grateful admirer, Mr. Davinci.
I’m not 100 percent sure, but as I walked away I think she might have smiled at me as if she knew that already…