This post was written by guest blogger Sylvia Lovely, a Lexington restauranteur, radio show host, author, speaker and teacher for our upcoming workshop based on this blog, happening September 4th. If you missed her previous Dodging Coconuts posts, you can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.
Don’t underestimate the power of eavesdropping! You have a front-row seat for endless entertainment and sometimes, a great story.
A group appearing to be in their late 70’s had gathered in a hotel lobby for a high school reunion, perhaps the 60th. Jimmie, a classmate, had passed on and talk was of how they missed him—he was, they said, “the life of the party”. “Well, I have a story about Jimmie’s passing,” said a distinguished gentleman. I leaned in. “He was in the hospital in pretty bad shape.” More leaning in… “he called in the nurse and said ‘I’d like a coke, please.’” Not wanting to deny a man his dying wish, she quickly left the room. When she returned, he took the coke and said, “One more thing, could I have an omelet?” Again, she turned to leave. As she turned with a sense of urgency to pursue the latest errand, Jimmie added, “and … could I have that omelet to go?” When she returned with the prized meal, he was gone.
OK, let’s just say it. “THAT’S GOOD PLANNING, Jimmie!” Today, planning ahead appears antiquated and quaint when the course of your life could change before you get your first cup of coffee in the morning or even when you step outside your home for the innocent act of visiting a shopping mall or festival. Suddenly, the specter of mass shootings plays out in our heads as actually possible ANYWHERE.
Lack of planning seems in some cases to be a positive sign that one is daring enough to leave the beaten path and take on new challenges. The new hero might say, “the best thing that ever happened to me was not following the beaten path—how else could I have become a ‘competitive eater’ and downed 71 hot dogs in Nathan’s Hot Dog annual eating contest?” These ubiquitous stories make those of us who do any planning of our lives appear, well, BORING!
“Coconuts”, flying ferociously in the today’s high winds, is why planning is still important alongside the other P’s—finding Purpose, being Prepared and gaining Perspective through wisdom. Today’s world may be more dangerous than ever before— or could it be that we know way too much? We are bombarded by the minute with the latest “breaking news” version of the most tragic of stories.
Ronald Reagan so famously quoted an old proverb when asked about his need to check the Russians on disarmament—“Trust … but, verify”. So too with planning—DO SO, but with flexibility. It is a given that five-year plans are on shaky ground. But thinking ahead is still as important as ever. Perhaps the greatest quality in the modern era is the flexibility to understand the true meaning of the famed Irish verse that instructs you to change what you can, leave alone what you can’t, and have the wisdom to know the difference.
Follow what I call the “diet” plan. The array of choices on how to lose and maintain weight is maddening. But what was true before and is to this day is to eat each meal slowly and deliberately, savoring and enjoying and stopping when full. It is so simple when you consider what happens when you don’t follow this simple formula. So too in planning.
Jimmie wasn’t such a good planner after all—or was he? He never got to that omelet (as far as we know). What he did do was make an informed choice based on the data inputs he was receiving. He didn’t take the route he planned, but Jimmie took a left turn and likely did OK in the end. I would like to have known the “life of the party.”
Join us on Wednesday, September 4 at the Co-op for an introductory seminar on how to incorporate a simple formula into your daily life that can bring a sense of fulfillment. You can find tickets and information here. Let’s create a community together!
Sylvia Lovely has a passion for helping others find the sweet spot in their lives. She has developed Dodging Coconuts and her four P’s as a template that contemplates that in good times, coconuts nourish, but in high winds, they become flying missiles of destruction. “That we are overwhelmed with life in the mid-21st century is an understatement. In a world of social media, people empowered to speak their minds in whatever way possible, and technology and gadgets that control us as even as we embrace them in hopes of greater efficiency and effectiveness, it’s easy to get lost,” says Sylvia. She has dedicated herself to sorting through the noise to get to the heart of what matters in life and is excited to share her methods for finding peace and balance. We hope you can join her for her first “Dodging Coconuts” seminar at the Co-op on September 4th. In addition to being an author, speaker and teacher, Sylvia is one of four owners of Azur Food Group and a co-host along with Chef Jeremy Ashby and well known Tony “Twitch” Longo of Z-Rock 103.3 on Food News and Chews Radio airing from 1-2 pm every Saturday on WVLK 590.