I’ve always said that the greatest gift we can give another is to help them feel seen and heard, acknowledged and affirmed, valued and loved. What a blessing that in my professional role as a Life Coach, I get to do this for my clients. I listen deeply to their stories and “see” them for who they really are. It feels so good to create this space for them and is such an honor to be invited into this sacred part of their life.
While I spend much of my energy doing this for others as the “giver”, when it comes back to me…I’m often stopped in my tracks, in awe of the magnitude of how powerful this gift really is.
Being the “receiver” often leaves me speechless.
The Eagles concert
Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a true concert enthusiast with all of my being. I LOVE classic rock! And one of my favorite ways to celebrate life is to be in the front row with my hubby at the concert of an artist or band we love.
We made a road trip to Des Moines a few weekends ago to see the legendary band, the Eagles. And we were absolutely thrilled with our front row seats! Our dear friends, Nancy and Jeff made the trek, too, and their seats were just a few feet over, across the aisle from us. I loved looking over at them during the show and smiling or flashing the peace sign or holding up a beer. :)
Throughout the evening, I was literally experiencing joy to the fullest, breathing in each song deeply as it touched me at my core. Could it be that I was witnessing the epic and iconic “Hotel California” played right in front of me? In that moment, I was so present; so in the mode of celebrating life with 15,000 other concertgoers all around me.
It was beautiful.
At the end of the show, the band members took their final bow. And then bassist Timothy B. Schmit, made his way across the stage and handed out one guitar pick…
Wow! He must have seen me beaming throughout the entire show. Timothy’s acknowledgement was so meaningful to me – as one who not only gets a high from showing appreciation to others, but who also thoroughly appreciates musicians and live music with all my heart. I was so grateful for this gift!
This was not about the guitar pick, though. This was about being seen and recognized…for who I am as a music lover, and more importantly, as a fellow human being in a shared experience.
The added gift
As if this fun exchange weren’t enough, there was actually icing on the cake in what happened simultaneously. All night long, a security guard sat on a folding chair directly in front of me. His back was to the stage and his chair faced me and the thousands behind me. He was keeping his eye on the crowd and his job was to make sure everyone stayed cool. With his gray hair and moustache, he reminded me of a friendly, caring older uncle. While I knew he was sitting there the whole time, I didn’t pay much attention to him during the show as I was always looking over his head to the action behind him onstage.
When Timothy came over to me, he leaned over the edge of the stage and tossed his pick directly to me in the front row, but it bounced off my hands and landed on the cement floor just out of my reach. After I flashed him a huge heartfelt smile and a warm “thank you” nod, the nice security guard saw the pick land on the ground between us. He bent over to reach for the pick, placed it in my hand, and then gently closed my hand shut to make sure I had it.
The man smiled at me and said, “All night long I knew I was going to be giving you this pick.”
Wait, what? I was totally confused. This was the end of the night and the show was over. What was he talking about and how did he know? Besides, his back was to the stage the entire time!
I’m sure I looked very puzzled and as I put the pick in my pocket for safekeeping, I replied with a quizzical, “What do you mean?”
His answer was something I will never forget as long as I live and instantly brought tears to my eyes. With all kinds of commotion going on around us and his comrades starting to tear down the stage and move people toward the exit doors, this nice man looked deep into my eyes and said very slowly and very thoughtfully:
“I watched the entire show through your face. You were radiating joy and having such a great time. Thank you for that. I knew this pick was coming to you.”
Woah, now that was the essence of being seen. This man, I didn’t get his name and may never see him again. But I will never forget his face and the love and light in his eyes. He saw me. He saw my soul. He saw “me”. And he had the kindness to pause and let me know.
So, I reached over the front row gate that separated us and put my hand on his shoulder. I looked deep into his eyes and breathed in the moment and said the most deep and thoughtful “Thank you” I have ever uttered to someone I didn’t know.
Between the security guard and Timothy, this was such an unexpected human exchange at a very public event. It even reminded me of my full-circle life moment with Neil Diamond several years ago.
To be “seen” is truly the greatest gift. It gives the person a sense of validation. It tells them they matter. It shows them they count. It honors their light. I know it did all these things for me. It even moved me to tears the next morning talking through the experience with Bill. It struck something very deep inside me.
In a rare move, no photos were allowed inside the venue that night (the concert photos above we took at their show in Minneapolis a year ago). Because of that, I have no pictures to show that highlight the moving and emotional performance that took place. But that’s okay. Taking pictures may have even distracted me from being fully present in each moment and may have gotten in my way of fully breathing in every aspect of that life-affirming experience.
Why the big deal?
Looking back, I’m realizing why these human exchanges are so powerful to me. While I was very loved when I was growing up, sometimes I felt like a burden at home. As though I was in the way. To adapt, I stayed quiet. I stayed small and didn’t want to make waves. I wanted to maintain harmony. I surely didn’t want to shine my light too brightly, for fear that it might hamper someone else’s life.
I figure that’s why, as an adult, I consciously celebrate and appreciate every little thing that happens and take nothing for granted.
Everything is a gift.
Life is to be celebrated.
This philosophy has served me well through the years! Life is pretty darn amazing. :)
So, thank you to the Eagles for a night of beautiful and moving music that touched something special within each of us at the show that night. Thank you to Timothy B. Schmit for seeing “me” and acknowledging me. I’ve never been into material things, but I’m thinking this guitar pick is gonna stay with me for a while. Thank you, Sir, who kept the peace inside the Wells Fargo Arena and for taking the time and energy to give me the gift of seeing me and reminding me that I matter. Truly a night that will not be forgotten!
If you make one thing a priority today, allow yourself to “see” someone. Give them the gift of seeing them and tell them what you see.
I guarantee you they will not forget it.