It’s All In the Name

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to spend a few days exploring Santa Fe, New Mexico, and it was a fantastic experience. I had never been there before, and I saw and experienced many different places, including the historic Santa Fe Plaza area and the Canyon Road galleries (an entire street filled with art, jewelry, unique clothing, home furnishings, etc.). I’ve never seen anything like it. My trip also included (of course) a visit to the local independent bookstore (yes, I bought three books).

In replaying my two days in Santa Fe, however, what struck me is that I have good memories of the things I saw, but I have fantastic memories of the people that I experienced. And of course, they all have names:

  • Emma – The delightful young woman who shared wine and Santa Fe stories while serving a wine tasting at Noisy Waters Winery’s store near the Plaza.
  • Roy – The incredible and handsome man who owns Boots & Boogie, a custom design cowboy boot store near the Plaza. Roy is retired and has been designing boots for dozens of years, and his career included over thirty years on Wall Street. Boogie (in the shop name) was Roy’s part wolf and part husky pal who has passed away. When I’m ready to get my bucket list pair of custom made cowboy boots, I’m going to call Roy to design them. I told Roy this, and he said, “Don’t wait too long – I’m 78 years old!”
  • Preston – One of the owners and featured artists at the McCall Gallery on Canyon Road, who painted while running his creative advertising agency in Kansas City for over thirty years and is now “retired” in Santa Fe where he and his partner / artist (Suzy) spend their days painting, running the gallery and enjoying life. What a wonderful man and conversation, and boy does he know a lot of the life and times of famous artists.
  • Dominique – The owner and artist of the Dominique Boisjoli Fine Art Gallery, where I saw a picture that captured my heart. She was so kind to share some of her creative inspiration and approaches, as well as to give me an even deeper look at her landscape piece that I love.
  • Joseph – The young man tending bar at the El Farol restaurant who made a fabulous margarita, shared some stories about Santa Fe, talked with me about tequila, and let me know about the Canyon Road Blues Jam happening that evening. The blues jam was a blast.

What an incredible two days of people (and places and things)!

I already knew this lesson well – that it’s all about people, connecting and sharing stories – and my trip to Santa Fe was a terrific reminder of this truth. The places will linger, but the people will stick and especially the following lessons they taught me (without even realizing it):

  • Emma – Listen well, smile often and let your light shine.
  • Roy – Find something you love and you’ll never work another day in your life. Be a radical and choose not to conform. You’ll never retire if you love what you do.
  • Preston – Life is a mystery filled with stories and art. The artist’s heart is a lover’s heart. Life is an adventure meant to be savored.
  • Dominique – Beauty is not just about what you see, but about what you experience on the inside, and when the heart and soul connect with the visual experience it’s pure magic.
  • Joseph – Smile big and live with a joyful heart. Whatever you’re doing in life, do it well and with passion.

All this from a two-day trip to Santa Fe, but it doesn’t surprise me at all. Such experiences, connections and lessons are all around us if we only take time to slow down, be present, engage, ask questions, shut up and listen, and open our hearts to who is in front of us (not what is in front of us).

Whether it’s at work or home, with friends, family or relationships, or with strangers you meet on the journey, start with the person and listen from your heart – and remember that it’s all in the name (the who) more than the thing (the what).

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