3 Things I Learned Saying, “YES” to a Fête 🎉🎉🎉

img_2573On Sunday, November 30th, I received an invitation to a fête scheduled for December 3rd. I almost said, no because one of my rules is not to attend events where my invite seems to have been an afterthought. My friend, Dr. B. had planned this celebration months ago, but somehow my invitation was given less than seven days prior. Another reason I almost said, no is because it is in Gainesville, and I already commute twice a week. By the time a weekend rolls around, I’d rather spend my Saturday without hard commitments. The final reason I almost said, no is because I wasn’t sure I would know anyone there besides the host, and who likes going to an event where they don’t know more than one other person?

But, I said, yes for one reason only. The things I’d made up in my head were just that. Made up. I’m glad I ignored them. My friend’s party was one of the most authentic experiences I’ve had and it reinforced the following:

Just Be. The celebration’s theme was to be. Dr. B’s hope was to provide a space for 20 or so women to simply be. There were no husbands or significant others. There were no children, except hers and one of her friends. There were just women, be-ing themselves, eating a three-course meal with fine linen, and having conversation. Each of us being ourselves, in our own ways. Some women cried as they reflected on their connection to the host. Others revealed insecurities about their journeys, things that many women hold dear and hold in. You know. Body image, motherhood, perfection. Dr. B. had literally carved out a space for authenticity without judgment. Wouldn’t it be great if we each did that for one another every day?

Honor your friends. Because Dr. B. is a self-proclaimed introvert, she understood that most of her 20 friends wouldn’t want to stand up and introduce themselves, so she did it for them. However, this wasn’t just a “This is Kathy Garland” introduction. She individually described each and every person, including their personal connection and why she valued the woman. In addition, she’d recently learned letter writing, so each lady was given a handwritten letter with calligraphy-style address. Acknowledging others for how they’ve influenced your path is important. When is the last time you told the people in your life how much you value them?

Pay it forward. This isn’t a new concept to me, but it’s the first time I’ve heard how other people were affected. The room was filled with women who’d ridden that all too familiar “struggle bus.” They needed one another at some point in time. As a result, these women found themselves asking how they could ever repay their friends? The answer was simple: pay it forward. A lot of times we think we’re required to do some overt action to thank someone. But the ultimate act of gratitude is to help another person when she is in need, especially if you’ve been in her shoes. Is paying it forward a part of your life’s practice?

I’m glad I ignored my perception of the invitation, and my subsequent made-up social rules. That decision alone allowed me to be a part of something heartfelt and special.

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44 thoughts on “3 Things I Learned Saying, “YES” to a Fête 🎉🎉🎉

  1. This was amazing! I’m glad that you went. Can you imagine having missed out on hearing all of those personal, loving words of how you’ve impacted Dr.B’s life? I don’t know if I would have been as strong because I’m always in my head, listening to that inner demon lol. Ironically, I just wrote a post yesterday (or this morning, rather) acknowledging certain bloggers for how they’ve influenced my path this year. I’m glad I did that :D. Maybe I should accept my next invitation somewhere rather than turning it down (because I do that a lot for the very same reasons you were going to).

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    1. Now that I have some distance, I’ll say that I still think that last-minute invites are wack lol, but I can admit that it’s a made-up thing, AND it takes a lot to get out of my head about them. I say go, every now and then, just because sometimes we get so in a rut about those made up rules that we (may) end up missing out.

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  2. This morning I had brunch with my dear friends who feed my soul but who I see too infrequently. Your post makes me want to formally acknowledge them, and what they mean to me. I am so glad you broke all of your rules and went to this party! What an incredible gift.

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    1. I think honoring people while they are here is an important part of life. Because my background includes so much death, I came to this conclusion a little early. I’ve also come to realize that we don’t always know how someone feels about us. I hope you will let them know and I’m glad this added a new thought 🙂

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      1. Well said, Kathy. The two can sometimes mimic each other and can be so confusing. It takes time and experience to know which is which. On occasion, it is not until after the event that you realise which voice it is you are dealing with.

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  3. Hi. I’m Cattie.
    I loved this “Simply Be” is truly Inspiring. Yes, we should “Acknowledge Our Friend’s, who have helped us , during various stages of our Life”. Very Noble Though by your Friend. And all the ‘thank you gifts” and “personalization” is very very Sweet.

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  4. I absolutely love this! This is a beautiful idea and I honestly think it’s a great Christmas gift to write a letter to your friends letting them know how they’ve affected your journey. In fact I am going to consider doing so to my friends!

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  5. This really reminds me of Shonda Rimes Book about “Yes!”
    I like the concept even though I am very slow to saying it myself.

    I used to be much more ‘Yes’ than I am now.
    I prolly need to change my outlook and step out more 🙂
    This post is a very nice reminder to do so.
    The new year is a good time to start huh?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I haven’t read it but I’m familiar with the concept. I think we need to be discerning sometimes. I don’t think every experience is for everybody. I guess if you say no a lot then maybe. I can’t really imagine that you might need to say yes more…

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  6. What a beautiful lesson for you, for us 🙂
    Ok, it’s a totally different setting (understatement of the year haha), but I don’t like to go to funerals; and I always keep in mind “Ok, you don’t like it, but it is important for the family. Be there for them, not for you”.
    I now realize, after reading your post, I do that with most invites…if it’s important for that person, who am I to ‘dish’ that person. However, at the same time, I think it’s also important to stay true to yourself: so, if it really doesn’t feel right to attend, I won’t go.

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  7. This will help me out in the future because I’m terrible when it comes to attending anything on a Saturday unless it’s a sports event, fishing tournament, or early morning volunteer commitment. I’m trying to get better though. Thanks for this post!

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  8. Great piece! I feel the same way when I receive invitations – I start coming up with all sorts of arbitrary standards to justify why I don’t want to go. Most of the time, when I force myself to go, I am glad I did.

    I like your point at the end about paying it forward, and how this piece was connected to be-ing. The world is a gift that we can never repay. We are all indebted to the cosmos for the air we breathe and the sunlight we receive. We can never pay this back – all we can do is give to others who can never repay us. Altruism should be foundational.
    Good work as always!

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    1. I typically like parties and partying, but there’s something about a last minute invite…I’m getting over it though, slowly. I like that Darryl: “The world is a gift that we can never repay.” And I agree about altruism. If we all had somewhat of an altruistic heart, then we’d probably be 100xs better as a human race.

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  9. When I read that one of your rules was to not attend if the invite was an afterthought, I though nooooo, that rule is not necessary…so glad to get to the end of the post and see you’d recognised it was an unnecessary ‘rule’. The event sounded amazing. I see ‘authenticity’ crop up yet again 😊 Maybe we can extend the encyclopedic definition to include ‘…something heartfelt and special’ 💕

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  10. Love this kind of celebration, Kathy. ‘Being and honouring’ both very powerful! And paying it forward is a beautiful concept too, as it is easy to take friendships for granted. Paying it forward practice for me it’s as easy as meeting a friend for coffee, instead choosing to lock myself at home with a good book. 😀

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  11. I’m so glad you said, “YES!” I’m also glad you realized that those things you made up were in your head. They were in no way, reality. They were my internal struggles with possibly causing you to feel “obligated and inconvenienced” and my inability to get and KEEP myself together. 🙂 You were one of the first people on my list. I simply had to get over the crap in my head in order to extend the invitation. I’m so glad you gave it a chance. ❤

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    1. TWB – wow! When I read this it highlighted all the faulty thinking I had been doing over the years. It’s funny that a lot of the time, when something doesn’t feel right, we immediately think it’s all about us. We never seem to be able to extricate ourselves from the situation and think to ourselves that we are not always ‘central’ to the problem. There might be factors that we are unaware of that don’t necessarily have anything to do with us. I think many of us with ‘rejection’ issues, take that into our lives and miss out on so much because we haven’t processed rejection sufficiently to live our own authentic lives.
      Thanks for this insightful comment which has certainly enhanced my own learning curve. Marie

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