I’ve been teaching and doing yoga for a long time, rambling on endlessly about how essential it is to be in the present moment while practicing. One breath at a time, move out of the busy mind and into the body, feel the muscles lengthen and the tissues hydrating and think of nothing else while you relish the present moment. . . Blah, blah, blah.
But truth be told, never, ever have I actually understood the value of those words and the power of the present moment.
Until I began managing a Bed and Breakfast.
Many of you know that Ralph and I took a summer position running a B&B in The Hamptons. There are so many roads I could go down regarding this experience as we approach the halfway point . . . but I’ll save all that for the book that I’ll write someday. In the meantime, I’d love to talk to anyone who will listen to me about the insanity of this experience and how it challenges every cell of one’s being on every level, every day.
An average of 7 people per day (some days 12, some days 4) are eagerly awaiting their gourmet breakfast. Our contract at A Butler’s Manor is for 6 months, so that equals about 1260 breakfasts over 180 days. That’s a mind-boggling statistic and immediately sends me into a state of anxiety-ridden panic. I can literally feel my heart begin to pound when I think about the number of trips to various grocery stores that requires. Not to mention, the number of coffees I’ll pour while smiling, muffins I’ll bake while barely awake, disagreements with Ralph due to our 24/7 working side by side, beds I’ll make with hospital corners or waking up at 5:30 am every single day with the unbridled enthusiasm to do it all again and again.
And that’s all before 10 am. Every few days at about 3 pm, 10 NEW PEOPLE will check-in, we’ll give them the tour repeating the schtick, learning of their dietary restrictions, telling our story and hearing theirs, again and again.
Are you seeing a pattern emerge?
The stress would intensify, and my thoughts would run away as I moved into a state of overwhelm and despair.
Until one day, I realized that all I could do was “one breakfast at a time” and that became the mantra that encompassed not only my new position as Madame Innkeeper, but in all other aspects of my life. I also became very aware that the THOUGHT of the responsibilities of my job was 1000% worse than actually being in the present moment and DOING my job. I actually really enjoy doing the job (most of the time).
The whole experience changed for the better and I found myself feeling more grounded, calm, and happy.
When I head out to the garden to pick flowers to make bouquets for the rooms or to decorate the breakfast plates, it’s no longer a task to check off the list. I immerse in the experience, enjoying every minute. When I butter the toast, the same. And when I meet a new person from another part of the world, our connection is genuine, because I’m present.
A guest favorite ~ gourmet avocado toast with arugula, fried egg and goat cheese coupled with ricotta on pumpernickel, roasted tomatoes and pumpkin seeds.
So I plug along, happy that I remembered to practice what I preach and grateful for the opportunity to do so, for three more months. With 5 Star Reviews I may add.