Since Heaven isn’t ready for me, this seemed like the next best thing for a dinner reservation. I have three new perspectives to ARM you with after dancing in the park. Apply them tomorrow and let me know here: which is the toughest for you? Which one are you applying throughout your day?
I also have a soundtrack to share from last night…
(1) ACCEPTANCE – Remember the high school dance? People still ignore others. There is no longer a trophy for being popular. Get over it and start dancing with others. (That doesn’t mean grinding or groping, which I also saw tonight, but at work this means allowing your colleagues to contribute and encouraging them when they do. )
(2) RECOGNITION – When someone puts themselves down, it’s time to step up with a positive remark that acknowledges how they may feel but shows them a different perspective.
(3) MICRO-MANAGEMENT – *How* you treat people, and the flexibility you give them to act within their means, results in largely favorable outcomes… Or disaster.
I am so proud of my brother today for organizing an entire flash mobbed section of dinner tables in Battery Park. His efforts were noticed as happy smiles converged on tonight’s big event. Dressing up among strangers to form a pop-up community graced in bright attire was a bucket list item that I was pleased to check off with him by my side. This really was surreal to see the sea of white surrounding us after being given a new lease on life.
Diner en Blanc perfectly precedes the nature of Burning Man next week, as a pack-in, pack-out, leave-no-trace event. As we sought to minimize our footprint and not spend all day cooking (right Suegee?) our family bought a picnic along. In the restaurant prior to picking our picnic out, I overheard a girl say “Oh, that isn’t a good pic of me, I look like such a fat beast!” as her much skinnier *friends* laughed and said nothing. I looked at none of the thinner ones and said, “Come here, I’m giving you a hug. Don’t talk about yourself like that. You look great! … and you’ve got a beautiful smile!” She smiled back with gratitude, squeezed me tight on the hug, and appreciated being accepted, recognized and uplifted.
The next guy I met was a tailor who hemmed my new white suit pants within ten minutes of the request. Max is a block away from our hotel, recommended by the staff, and hails from British Guyana. He doesn’t believe in religion, but he does enjoy teaching. He teaches billiards, and made a distinction to say that watching professional pool players is like watching a bunch of cowards who hide balls from the other players by purposely blocking shots, whereas billiards (specifically his style) required bouncing off balls from several sides. While he may be agnostic, he does believe in commitment, endurance, and dedication to teachings. I believe all religions have these qualities, though I now remember Max stating that he is happy in solitude wherever he is and that money is not a concern in his life. His observation of hidden or blocked shots was interesting to contemplate since not all religions are truly open; they make learning their collective knowledge more difficult for outsiders to deeply understand. I learned to appreciate (acceptance) Max’s difference in perspective and respect the knowledge he had found on his own.
Finally the main event… Guests clad in all-white attire but from every race and nationality all sharing in the laurels of a meal they have brought themselves to present and share amongst one another over white table cloths, real metal silverware and flowers or candelabras. There was an opera singer on stage, and it evolved into a violinist that suddenly added an EDM background. For a moment I was hopeful Lindsey Stirling had showed up, and if you listen to her song Zi-Zi’s Journey you’ll have an idea of what it was like to be there with ears perked up after 8:30p.
I accepted new guests around me and recognized their presence, or at least tried to! Jeremy, Parker’s roommate, actually did a better job or recognizing me and asking me about my day… I meant to ask more about his, and left frustrated that I didn’t get to do that. I really wanted to build a better friendship with him since he has been so kind to our family over the years. I could have improved the acceptance of my family by helping them more with dinner setup, as I was running between aisles wanting to help Parker more than I was focused on setting up our own table, chairs, and spread of food. When I finally sat down, I was pleased to enjoy the cold crisp taste of gazpacho and a slice of ham quiche before the bread pudding and rhubarb jam was revealed. Not paleo? Not a problem. For a night in near-heaven, I wasn’t picky with the food.
Acceptance and recognition of kindness around you should also allow a choice as to *how* you want to accept kindness from others into your life. We all have different ways of receiving and processing this stimulus. As new people introduced themselves, I found it interesting how they preferred to seek contact with me.
I would enjoy reflecting more on micro-management down the road, as Parker had some great examples from several aspects of his current life, but I’m getting tired again and want to wrap this post up. The one example that comes to mind is that at the end of the night, I went back to help pick up trash in his area. There was merely string to be found. Compared to the overall environment, the other table areas needed a lot of fixing after the party was over. I think this was a good example of Parker’s leadership expressing WHY something like trash removal was important to the long term success of this event for every person who joined us — rather than just telling them they NEED to do it, precluding their feeling of acceptance as an important part of his team.
Just read a great article in the New York Times about an Australian chef who is trying to revolutionize Thai cooking. He’s resurrecting recipes from the dead by researching Thai funeral books passed down from the older generations. Makes me wonder– is there potentially a booming market for funeral catering out there? You could get new recipes and then cook what Grandma used to make before she passed away– sort of like a last supper for the family. I would have enjoyed that when my grandma passed away. Don’t we all associate great food with our grandparents? I’m afraid this will change though with passing generations, as all my mom is known for is burning the rolls at Thanksgiving…
Here’s the link:
I’m currently traveling in Southeast Asia and realized a small but important point in life… Never stop searching for the perfect fruit.
Regardless of whatever “fruits” of life you’re enjoying, I can honestly say that I had nearly given up expecting quality from the local produce. But I tasted the *perfect* banana today. Without a doubt, it was the best one I’ve ever had.
My optimism would never be possible if I stopped reaching out to try the local food and try new things. It has taught me to never stop searching– because after enough trying you are bound to find something great.
The True Gentleman is a man whose conduct proceeds from goodwill and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness, but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word, who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own, and who appears well in any company; a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe. I am a True Gentleman.