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Café-Salon Philosophique #72

November 18, 2000

No. of Participants: 7

Topic for Discussion: "Appreciation versus Taking Things for Granted"

[Samuel was in Germany for a couple workshops at the time of this Café meeting, so Alessandra was asked by Samuel to lead the Café discussion in his absence}

"Because I am usually the silent observer and reporter of these Café's, I did take a few notes, but because I was interacting with other participants, most of this report is going to be by memory of the events that happened with a few key points as the catalyst. Please bear with me." Alessandra

Alessandra welcomed one and all to the Café discussion.We began our discussion with "talking about" the up and coming holiday season. Because Thanksgiving and Christmas is fast approaching, we thought it might be wise to reflect upon what we are thankful for and how we Americans tend to take things for granted.

Debra began the conversation by sharing her experiences as a retail manager working on Pearl Street during the "busy" holiday season. Debra came from Oklahoma and is on a one year leave from teaching Science to high school students. She has found retail to be quite interesting. The store she works at, "Paper Doll," is basically for those that "want" things, and is not really for those who are "needing" something. She has found it amazing that people really think that they "need" items for one reason or another.

The group then "bounced" to discussing the "perceived"expectations that Society places on us.

Carlene shared how she feels, "there is a real stigma out there against single people." She feels like that she is "expected to get married, have kids and have all the material things that everybody else does." She just recently got engaged, which was a surprise to her, and she is doubting whether or not that is really what she wants to do. She was given a "promise" ring and doesn't quite know what to make of it.

She continued with expressing how she feels as though she "expects too much of her self." She is a certified nurse's aide, and works long, hard hours and enjoys taking care of people. She says she knows "there is more to life, but I just haven't quite figured out what it is." "When I'm off a day or two, I don't even know what to do with my self." "Any spare time I have, I don't know how to fill it."

Next, Stephanie shared some of her perceived expectations that she learned over the years. "I thought I too, was supposed to get married and have kids." "I waited until I was older though, and adopted kids because I'm not a baby person."

"Things changed over time in my marriage, and it was really hard to know that we grew apart." "Luckily, I had some good, supportive friends who helped me through the transition. "It has been nice being by my self." "When Jasmine (her daughter) comes to stay with me, sometimes, I'm really glad when she has to go home again, so I can get back to my peace and quiet."

"Other expectations I find of my self is trying to expand my intelligence at work, and to find some creative time to do my art work," she continued. "If only I could organize all the people in my brain and what they want to do."

Daisy Jo stated that she was going through another "transition in my life." "I just recently went to working part-time, working only four hours a day. I find I have all this extra time on my hands.""I am trying to find a balance between the adult in me and the child who likes to have fun and play.""That is what I am doing. I am exploring, playing and seeing how I can fill my time."

"The only trouble I find, she continued, is trying to screen out this nasty thing in my head that makes me think that things are going wrong." "For example, sometimes when I get up in the morning, nothing is right. I don't know what to wear, I can't get my hair right, and on and on and on. Those are my negative expectations."Alessandra told Daisy Jo that Samuel calls this, "the sabateur" - the critical thinker in us. Oh! She found this to be interesting, and a good name to place on that negative little creature!

Janet shared her thoughts on expectations of others. She talked about people's expectations at work; and then wanted to comment on relational expectations.

She shared how she has been in an abusive relationship for years. She and her significant other have been in and out of therapy for years. "He was both mentally and physically abusive, and now that he is changing a little, I find that I am the one lashing out at him for all the stored up anger over the years."

Also, she talked about the expectations of Society and how "people look down on the homeless.""Back in those days, people didn't mind helping you out, letting you stay with them, giving your things or money." I am still trying to get out of the personna of being a "street person."

"Even though I'm not that street person anymore, I still observe my self having that mentality at times." "People don't put up with that now days.""You gotta figure it out for your self."

I then asked each person to share, "What they appreciated about themselves?"

Debra started by saying she was "thankful for being able to have the chance to explore this time away from Oklahoma." She likes trying new things and enjoys change. Someone asked her if others were envious. She said that others were glad of her good fortune, and "maybe envious because they would like to have the opportunity to do have some time off them selves."

Janet was grateful for the help she has been receiving through therapy, and also is glad that the group is here which gives her an opportunity to share in a different way.

Carlene appreciates her ability to "help and care for others." She likes to know that she has made a difference in someone's life.

Stephanie is a technical writer at Lucent Technologies and enjoys being able to use her creativity not only at her work in writing but also in her art work at home. She has developed some honesty programs for teenagers, and also has enjoyed working on being honest with her self.

Daisy Jo is appreciating being at one with nature. She enjoys walks at night through the park near her house, with or without her dog. She is thankful that she is able to enjoy an active life of many outdoor sports.

Our next point of discussion was, "What things do we take for granted?"

The general consensus was, "most of us take for granted our health." We all agreed, that at times, we don't "eat as well as we should, exercise as much as we could, and for the most part, don't pay real close attention to what our bodies are trying to tell us."

We talked about early symptoms and signals of the body that people will ignore, and not respond to until sometimes, it is too late!

"It depends on how you grew up or how you were raised," said Carlene. "I'll agree with that," said Stephanie. "Parents can either make or break your mental or physical health," she added.

"I think it is how one deals with situations or stress in life," said Janet.

We all agreed that there were alot of factors to consider in regards to health - family, culture, diet, exercise, experiences in life, how one perceives those experiences, and, their general outlook on life and the aging process.

The last question of the evening was, "Name something that you learned this week."

Debra learned the difference between needing and wanting, and knows she is supported by family and friends.

Janet's comment was, "nobody is going to do it for you."

Carlene found that "I can do more than I think I can."

Stephanie learned the value of supportive friends.

Daisy Jo realized that "I don't have to be as hard on my self as I think."

That's how we ended our discussion.

For you, "What do you appreciate in life?" "What things do you find you take for granted?" "What could you change to help make you more aware of the small things in life?"

Café-Salon Philosophique will not be meeting in December due to the "busy" holiday season. We will reconvene January 6, 2000 at the Boulder Bookstore located at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, CO. Start time is 6:30 p.m. Hope to see you then! Invite your friends and bring a new and thought-provoking topic.

Reported by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.