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A BLESSING IN DISGUISE
by Fern Merle-Jones

Standing in the closing circle at the end of the Alakai meeting, we were each giving a blessing to the group members for the week to come. My wish was for "relaxation" for the group and for myself. In my mind, I scanned over the week to come: 8 weddings to perform, much office work and correspondence with current and future clients, and a radio show to prepare for. Yes, I would need all of the relaxation I could muster.

Hosting a radio show on "Well-being" had been an exciting new venture in my life . It satisfied a need to reach out and touch the greater community with new ideas about how to increase well-being and happiness. It was also an opportunity to have experiences outside of the wedding business which has dominated our lives for the past several years. Initially, I had proposed a show on Huna, but that was seen as too controversial so we agreed on the more eclectic approach of different methods to achieve and increase well-being. Of course, my first guest on the air was Serge! During the 6 weeks of the show I had interviewed teachers of sound, color, healing essences and others. The response had been good and I was encouraged to share more of my own teachings and perhaps have more audience involvement through telephone call ins with questions.

My 7th show was to be a culmination of the first 6, where I would pull together the information that had been shared in the previous weeks. I was excited and a little nervous as was always the case. Each show seemed to be getting easier and yet the challenges of being on the air "live" with an unseen audience was a very new experience for me. The fact that the station expected me to engineer the show myself, had been an added challenge. I had known nothing about mixing sound or microphones and my form of training was to sit in on other people's shows and watch how they did it. It was actually a lot of fun to bring up the sound and time the recordings just right. There was a lot to be aware of. When you turn on the radio, the programs sound very mellow and relaxed. Actually, the station is run like a time clock with deadlines for the exact time of each announcement and station identification not to mention the beginning and ending of shows right on the minute.

I still was feeling the sense of anxiety in my body as I prepared for my show. I expected that this would go away with time and experience. Driving to the station, I turned on the radio and noticed that the show which was usually before mine, called "Soapbox", had been apparently switched with the World Music show that usually followed mine. I acknowledged that this would be far superior since "Soapbox" was a very political "call- in" show where people were encouraged to vent their emotions. It had become a very popular forum and although I told myself that my show, " About Well-being," was appropriate to follow, hopefully to calm the listening audience down, I still didn't feel totally comfortable about the placement. As I pulled into the station, I heard over the air that the change was temporary due to a very hot issue about the public school scheduling which was going to be discussed after my show was completed. Well this explained the changes anyway!

On entering the studio, I immediately felt the charge of energy: people attending to the show at hand, while preparing for what was to come. Phones ringing and people rushing about. Apparently, the host of "soap box" was off-Island but was on his way in to discuss this "hot issue". Everyone was all charged up.

Amid the hubbub, I tried to center myself and prepare my notes and the different music that I wanted to play during my show. You can't go into the studio itself until about 5 minutes before show time which can be quite tight for setting up the prearranged music, recording tapes, called "dats" of the show etc. It all happens really fast and then "boom, You're on The Air!!"

So there I was. Greeting the listening audience with my theme song called "Searchin" by C &K talking about the different shows that had led up to today, going through the 7 principles of Huna, talking about how you can heal using sound, how the Island is full of colors that soothe and enhance our lives, How the plants of Kauai have been used to create healing essences. Wow, the half hour just flew by and suddenly, I was pulling it all together to say goodbye and get off the air at the exact right moment. It wasn't a perfect show, but it seemed fine to me and I felt the exhilaration that I experienced at the end of each show.

As I was putting away my tapes and CDs, I noticed that the station manager and program director had entered the room and had put on some interlude music. "We have to talk about your show", "We feel that it is not working", "Its the wrong place for it after Soapbox" ,"We don't have another place for it" ,"We've gotten some negative feedback", "We're taking it off the air", "Sorry, maybe some other time or some other show", "Bye".

I left the Station in a state of shock, humiliation, hurt, confused. I started my car and the radio filled the small space, I shut it off! I didn't want to talk with anyone. I felt completely out of touch with the situation, with what had happened, with what to do about it. I drove around Princeville for awhile just circling the blocks. How could this happen? I still had so many great guests to bring on the air. What did I do wrong? I found myself at Hale O' Java coffee shop, maybe a latte would help. I had been carrying around a new book that Michael had given me that morning. Neither of us had read it but it was by an author that we both love, Paulo Coelho. The book is called "The Fifth Mountain." Oh well, maybe I could lose myself in this new book, I hoped.

I began the Note from the Author. In the first paragraph he refers to a central idea, "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it" (Oh yeah, then how come they canceled my radio show?) He goes on to express that living one's destiny includes a series of stages that are beyond our understanding and sometimes takes us to places that may seem contrary to our desires. He then embarks on a personal story of how in 1979 he had a brilliant career as a recording executive in Brazil and had just been invited to the US to talk with the owners of the company. He was confident that they were going to back him in further ventures.

Although his great dream had been to be a writer, he was more than happy with doing that on the side. One night, he made a decision to take every advantage offered him in the recording field . When he woke the next morning he received a phone call from the President of the company, he had been fired, with no further explanation.

A strange feeling came over me as I was reading this, almost like a premonition or the feeling that someone was watching me as I read. I had been carrying around this book all day just for this moment, the perfect moment. It must be that my higher self knew all along what was going to happen and even conspired with Michael to buy this particular book for me. But how did this story apply to my situation? Wasn't the radio show a good vehicle for teaching people to find greater happiness.Wasn't that my mission? I couldn't answer these questions but I felt a sense of peace and a willingness to look deeper for the meaning.

The next day, I had a wedding to perform up at the Fern Grotto. Actually, it was a wedding for a mainland couple and also a vow renewal for the bride's sister and her husband who had been married 10 years previous on that very same day! They brought their 3 small children to share the occasion. The private boat with musicians and hula dancer hosted us up the Wailua River to the ancient sacred place of the ali'i, The Fern Grotto. With family and children attending, we celebrated a beautiful double ceremony. Being brought into a family and performing a ceremony with them is always a very special blessing and honor for me. In this case it was a double blessing. On the way back from the Grotto, the youngest child, a little girl of about 3 years, ran up to the front of the boat to sit. Thinking to give her family some space, I followed her and sat beside her. She looked over at me and I smiled at her. She smiled back and with that, she turned to me and she put her arms around me. She rested her head on my chest and stayed there like that for maybe 3 full minutes. I could feel the warmth of her body melt into my chest and her pure love and acceptance flowing through me. I felt moved in a way that has no words. We were all alone in that moment and I don't know if anyone even saw us, I never even knew her name but I knew her loving essence.

That night I had a dream in which I was carrying around that little girl in my arms. That was all there was to it really, but I could still feel her warmth and her loving arms around me. I woke up, remembering the dream and then immediately, my mind went right to the radio station. The atmosphere was cold, it was hectic and impersonal. I understood. How could I hope to impart well-being from such an environment? How could I hope to relieve the stress in others from this space that was so stressful? How could I achieve relaxation for myself? No, the radio station was not the place for me and the pressures related to it were not in my own self interest. There are other ways that I have been a successful teacher, in groups and one on one.

My experience as a talk show host taught me many things and for these I am grateful. And yes, perhaps another time or another show.. For now, I thank the Universe for releasing me from this experience and for showing me with such beautiful symbols where my own well-being lies.

And if you should ever experience a sudden shift of fortune, an unexpected ending to the path you thought was yours, you might examine yourself to see whether your heart was really wanting to move in that direction. For what seems at first to be a failure could truly be "a blessing in disguise."

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