Beat the Drum of Gratitude
I finished the menu section of the newsletter this afternoon, yet wanted to wait on the blog part because I thought I might have some experience of value during the day that I would like to share. I was right. Today I was invited to a birthday party and "Gratitude Dinner" for one of my customers, Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss. Li-Lan is a fascinating, multifaceted person who happens to be married to another fascinating, amazing person, Alex Weiss.
Together they play in a band called Alex Weiss & Different Drum. And guess what happens at the birthday parties of musicians? Yep. They play music. And dance. And all the usual celebratory activities. Yet, make no mistake, there will always be live music - good live music. Tonight was no exception. The band specializes in blending the complex rhythms and sounds of Latin and African music with American jazz and Alex's original compositions. Thus their sound is unique, upbeat, and well... different. You can check out videos of the fun on Instagram. Alex and Li-Lan are also extremely well-traveled (Li-Lan was born in Taiwan, but grew up in Latin America), so they have a deep knowledge of and feeling for the music of many cultures. I was particularly touched by one song they played, that although it originally comes from the Andes, Alex dedicated it to all tribal peoples struggling to hold on to their traditions and cultures in the midst of this 21st century of "progress." His introduction hit home particularly hard, as I have of late been contemplating the political regression of our country and our state - reflective of a larger regressive social atmosphere. But not to wax despondent! My absolute favorite part of the party was that when Li-Lan said it was a "Gratitude Party," she meant it. After dinner, she went around and handed every single person a sheet of paper and instructed us to list on it everything we felt grateful for. She asked us to then sign it and place it in a basket at the front of the door. What a powerful exercise that is - to focus on what you are grateful for and to take the time to Write. It. Down. Even my son participated in the exercise. As inspiring and uplifting as it was for me to focus on the most positive aspects of my life, it was exponentially more inspiring to read what my son was grateful for. He is getting old enough now to catch on when I am talking about him in public and feel appropriately mortified, so I will refrain from sharing with you his list verbatim. However, I will tell you that it began with "I am grateful for the sun, moon, plants, water..." and ended with "You should be grateful for everything because everything has a purpose. So take one little thing away and you get one big change. So be grateful for everything." Wow. Way more cosmic than many of the things I was thinking. Thank you Li-Lan and Alex for living your lives in such a way that so many people from so many different walks of life (you should have seen the diversity of the guests!) are touched by you, your music, and your healing. Did I mention that Li-Lan is also a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Arvigo Mayan Abdominal Massage? This lady does so many things (and does them well) that I can't even tell you about it. You will have to just read about it yourself on her website. Now if you are still up and reading this before going to bed, please take a few minutes to write down at least three things that you are grateful for. I guarantee, you will sleep better because of it.