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Relational Reflections: Yes, another blog, and this one’s from Dr. Nadine and Dr. Zan at True Heights

Expecting to Find Inspiration

Dr. Zan’s Thoughts:

My first trip to Montreal was 28 years ago. I remember it fondly as a part of the first adventure my spouse and I shared with our first born--an amiable, happy traveling, nature loving infant at the time. Now, upon my return to the city for the first time in that expanse of years, I am honored to share time with a beautiful young woman who has been in our life since birth and whose blossoming sense of self we have had the pleasure of bearing witness to over the years. The fleeting nature of time’s passage has even been a topic of conversation. Ah yes, sentimentality arises.

Yet, far be it from me to merely rest wistfully in the sentimental because I am driven to discover how we can dissect these common human experiences--to break them down to their essential elements in a manner that allows us to take the guesswork out of enhancing our relationships. The more that Dr. Nadine and I have the opportunity to write, create, train, and speak (as we recently had the opportunity to do at the inaugural Women Kick Glass event in NJ), the more we strive to describe the seemingly ordinary as an occasion to embrace something truly extraordinary. 

In our travels around the beautiful city of Montreal, we stumbled across a restaurant that is known to be a favorite to one of our best travelled family members. If only to enhance our shared narrative with him, we decided to venture into the Jardin Nelson to see whether they would indulge our wish to pause for a bit of relaxation after a morning and early afternoon of touring and museum consumption. We were greeted with warmth and kindness despite our stated desire to simply enjoy a beverage and perhaps an appetizer while we re-energized. We were escorted to a table that lived up to its billing of being the “best table in the house” where we could cast our gaze downward to the jazz trio that personified the phrase “smooth stylings.” Looking around the perimeter of our space, stunning arrangements of live plants and flowers delighted our senses. A beautiful canopy that passively collected rain water in a central transparent pipe, undoubtedly to provide ecologically sound sustenance to the gorgeous foliage, shielded us on multiple levels from the occasional sprinkles of an intermittently rainy afternoon. Every chair sat evenly on the beautiful terrace--you get the picture, the quintessential “as good as it gets.”

As if simply basking in all of this beauty weren’t enough, we were greeted by a lovely woman who would be our server for the afternoon, but she ended up feeling more like a dear friend. When I had a question about one item on the menu, her immediate response was charmingly delivered in her French Canadian accent, “To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. But I can ask in the kitchen.” Not wanting to create the impression of being a high-maintenance guest in the midst of such a positive experience and feeling truly okay to shift my request, I said, in all genuineness, “ Would you mind?” I will never forget her answer that came with no hesitation and the height of sincerity: “It will take me 30 seconds to ask, and then I will have the answer for a lifetime.” Before our departure, this beautiful soul knew how much she had contributed to our delightful afternoon, and our expressions to this effect allowed her to share her own gratitude for connections that brighten a rainy day.

So now I will endeavor to tease out some of the specific components of this special, yet ordinary “moment, ” as I let experience and reflection be my teacher. Here’s what jumps out for me as contributing to full engagement, enjoyment, and transformation of a quick stop at a nice restaurant into a truly memorable occasion:

Clarify your own needs and desires. 

Share a bit of your story, allowing others to connect with you, and then ask boldly but kindly.

Live music is a gift that is always ready to touch your soul.  

Living plants and flowers provide a gorgeous backdrop to loved ones who fill your table. 

Delight in your senses, savoring the moment.

Soak up the joy that is always available in sharing time with loved ones. Notice it!

Call attention to the fact that you are having a moment to remember. Verbalize it!

Take every opportunity you can to learn! Love the process of learning as much as the outcome of what you have learned.

When someone pleases you or is helpful to you, say so with great gusto! Don’t be reluctant to make someone else’s day.

I started writing this entry guided by the notion that sometimes we find inspiration in the most unexpected places. However, upon further consideration I would have to amend that to say that finding inspiration in the most unexpected places is actually a misnomer. We should probably expect that, when we are in a state of openness and gratitude, that we will find inspiration every single place we look.

Dr. Nadine’s Reflections:

Ah!  Reliving my wonderful experiences in Montreal through Dr. Zan’s story makes me smile!  I love the Old City, with its square lined with restaurants and music; the spectacular Marie-Reine-du-Monde cathedral; McGill University; the shopping in funky, upscale, unique boutiques; and oh, the annual Jazzfests I attended.  I can’t even begin to tell you what they were like!

But to Dr. Zan’s point, even if you don’t find yourself in extraordinary places, it really doesn’t take away your ability to find the Divine in the Mundane.  It’s all around you!  We’re just too busy to notice.  So, simply put, all you have to do is look at your daily round from a different perspective.  Then you’ll see differently; you’ll notice more. And you’ll develop a better appreciation for what’s part of your EVERY DAY life.

My homestyle example is from last night.  I went into town with a friend who decided she needed to get out of the house, having been confined there all day.  We had a quick meal and wanted to promote our digestion with a post-dinner “walkabout”. As we wandered through the streets, we noticed a sign pointing to an area behind one of the lovely buildings.  We’d never seen it before, so with curiosity we investigated. We followed the sidewalk (a little reminiscent of the “yellow brick road”) and discovered a charming open-air venue, where patrons were enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres.  There were two beautiful fire pits, flames dancing to the tunes coming from the two musicians performing some tasty, lite jazz.

How fabulous was this discovery?!  We had an unanticipated and lovely evening because we noticed something different in our usual space.  We were open to the new experience; we expanded our vision and were able to appreciate what was right in front of us.

And, by the way, there’s documented evidence that if you feel good, you literally see more.  You expand your field of vision.  So, the more positive your feelings, the more you notice.  The more you notice, the more you see the abundance all around you.  The more you see the abundance, the more grateful and positive you are.  The more positive you are, the more you notice…

See how it works?  It’s not hard to do.  Follow Dr. Zan’s suggestion to “expect that when we are in a state of openness and gratitude, that we will find inspiration every single place we look.”  What an enchanting way to live.

#trueheightsconsulting #lovethismoment #mindfulness #jardinnelson

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