While on my way out of the house to find a great public space to write, I felt a pull to visit a unique food and coffee shop that was above my desired lunch budget. On the way there I stopped outside another food establishment and felt into why I was stopping here instead. And the answer that arrived was that logic was telling me this place was good enough and I would be able to get those waffle fries I love and save some money. Many solid reasons to stop here appeared. But, without letting my logical mind make my decision I pushed forward and drove off to the higher end cafe and opened to the experience waiting me.
The food menu had changed since my last visit – pre-covid. The menu now much smaller, listed much simpler foods but kept the high prices.
I placed my order and was prompted by my internal radar to give a larger tip than usual. Some resistance showed up, but I followed though with the large tip. The resistance was rooted in an old story floating in my mind making itself known as a belief. The narrative was that I needed some sort of elaborate service to provide such a tip. The story, now seemingly crude arrived because culturally I was used to reviewing a server's performance, the establishment’s ambiance, and of course the food quality before giving a tip. Today, I could have provided a tip based on one very simple ingredient - the short interactive process of placing an order. But I chose to tip based on a calling. And that calling caused me to ponder the question, ‘how comfortable am I with giving unconditionally?’ Am I able to give without needing a conditional result? Am I able to drop the traditional judgments that come out of experiencing an authentic or unauthentic server’s 'performance' etc.?
I sat alone at a table and started to do some contemplative writing of my core values, and a few moments later deep into writing my pseudonym was called. (On a side note, if you have never ordered using a pseudonym, I highly suggest it!). I went to the pickup counter to receive my food packaged in Styrofoam takeout packaging. While walking back to my table a woman with burgundy hair looked at me and let out a radiant smile. The smile sat with my heart for my entire meal. I was grateful.
As I wrote and dug deeper into my core values, I realized that many of them are transforming, and this moment of values will not ever be the same. As I courageously push forward refining my values, I realize how grateful I am for the courage to push old limiting boundaries, and how this active interaction with ‘the calling’ allows me to experience moments that bring about gratefulness.
This woman’s simple smile felt like the universe smiling at me and in its way communicating an appreciation for my willingness to flow with this ineffable pull to be here, and to tip unconditionally. She was in a place of allowing radiance to flow through service and I was in a place willing to allow radiance to flow through acceptance.
As I finished my work, I stopped back at the till, ordered a plastic sealed brownie, and stopped at her table before leaving. I was feeling inspired and said to her, “I really appreciated your beautiful smile, and would like to offer you this brownie as a form of gratitude.” She and her friend were speechless just looking at each other and back at me. The woman was not sure how to respond, but she accepted the offering with a “yes”. I put the brownie on her table then walked away without saying anything more.
I could feel the awkwardness of this unexpected situation. I could imagine old predator and victim stories in their minds trying to find a reason for this offering, a reason beyond what I had expressed. Those are the stories I hope become antiquated and dismantled as men heal and begin to embrace their healthy masculine.
After recounting the event with one of my roommates he responded with a sad truth, “Chivalry has become uncomfortable!”.
It is time to change this.