Reflection: We’re back from my 60th Birthday Voyage. Our adventures took us from an overwater bungalow in Tahiti, to a South Seas cruise through French Polynesia, across the high seas to stops on four Hawaiian islands, then across the rest of the Pacific to spend a few days in San Francisco and the Napa Valley. It ended with a birthday party back here in our garden in Saskatoon.
It was a relaxing journey (ten days completely at sea will do that) with a few adventurous forays including: kayaking up the Faaroa River in Raiatea, snorkeling with the sharks and stingrays in Moorea, and diving to the sea floor in an Atlantis submarine off Kona.
I enjoyed the time away, AND I’m happy to be in your company once again. I hope that the month of May has treated you all very well.
The arrow of appreciation flies both ways. It’s a lesson in gratitude that revealed itself twice during our recent travels.
#1: During our stop on Oahu, a local hula dance troop, consisting mostly of youngsters (perhaps 6-10 years of age) danced and entertained on board ship. If you’ve ever been at a grade school concert, you know how charming those young’uns can be. This group was all that and more.
Of course, they got a standing ovation from the crowd at the end of their program. But they didn’t let things end there. As their troop leader commented on how much they appreciated the opportunity to perform for us, these young dancers moved through the lounge shaking hands with members of the audience, offering their personal thanks for being given the opportunity to share what they love to do.
#2: It’s customary at the end of a cruise for passengers to extend thanks to the staff and crew for their service. What was unusual about our experience on Oceania is that the tables were turned. At the conclusion of an after dinner show near the end of the cruise, most of the staff and crew on the ship joined the passengers in the main lounge.
As each unit was introduced (from housekeeping to food service to maintenance to navigation and more) they marched into the lounge with their compatriots, cheering their colleagues, good-naturedly ribbing the other units, and generally sharing their enthusiasm about the work they do on board.
After a few short speeches and the presentation of an award for stellar performance, the staff invited the passengers to join them on the dance floor to bust a few moves to the tune, We Are Family. And, later, the staff lined both sides of the exits from the lounge area, cheering and applauding as passengers headed for their staterooms.
Action: Both experiences reminded me of how important it is to mark completions and milestones of every type by pausing to share appreciation.
Just as important, is the idea that appreciation is a two way street that can be travelled in both directions at once. Giving and receiving are two ends of the very same concept. Appreciation multiplies when the flow of expression moves back and forth with ease using the ‘right back at ya’ approach.
Take a close look around. See what merits pausing for an expression of appreciation in your work and life this week?
Quote Of The Week: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire
Resource Of The Week: You might enjoy this article, “We’re All Doing The Best We Can”, by Mike Robbins who is the author of the book, Focus On The Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation.
Readers Write: In response to the last message, Coping With Limbo – A Different Kind of Dance, Pause reader KS writes: Very timely topic. I have been doing the limbo so long that I feel my knees wobbling. As much as I hate uncertainty and fight against it, I know that I need to learn this lesson of how to welcome uncertainty as a permanent resident rather seeing it as a visitor that I wish would leave already. It is not getting easier as each circumstance presents something new. But the longer I have been forced to deal with it, the more I realize that when I let go, the outcome always exceeds my small and predictable expectations. So I continue to wobble on with joy.