Things will go wonky

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There’s always that time when the rough edges show.

Hospitality is about seamlessly smoothing over the rough edges of service. But when things get weird – loud guests in an otherwise quiet dining room, a sound system that goes on the fritz, a large party that arrived early, a scheduling mistake, pressure from guests who just aren’t digging the way things are going – the rough edges start to show…maybe not to guests, but to me.

It’s a challenge to separate the awkwardness and disappointment I feel from the situation that’s causing it. That’s why I have to hold myself to a rebel standard: accepting that things go wonky and embracing the uncomfortable space holding it all.

And then there are my colleagues holding the same uncomfortable space. How do I keep the tone expansive (“Let’s just mindfully work through this weirdness and see where we go”), but acknowledge that yes, things are bumpy right now? It’s a thin line. I can’t disregard my own frustration that’s ready to release, too.

I realize that most importantly, I must remove any semblance of blame from my process. Tomorrow I can think about how things could have gone better, but in the moment, it’s about being 100% present, ready to do something rebellious like practicing real compassion – suffering right along with everyone else.

In the face of frustration and disappointment, I hold that tension…for now. When I’m ready, and in a wider space, I’ll think about how that tension can be creatively diffused.

“Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open.” – Rumi

IMAGE: Zigzag into the sky at Storm King Art Center

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