Be Your Guest

A special guest will arrive at my home soon: ME.

Since novelty feeds creativity, by helping us shift our attention, every guest can be a gift (even if, as a friend once experienced with her own houseguests, your teenage visitors dyed their hair black and cleaned up with your good white towels).

Self-care is an important component of self-value, and we energize our work when we refuel – body and soul. Instead of leaving town, I’ll try offering myself the thoughtfulness I often reserve for visitors.

Preparation.

I’m a clean, tidy woman at heart, but I’m even cleaner and tidier as a host. A guest is coming! I raise my standards; I see dust previously ignored when familiar friends were stopping by for dinner. A pleasant environment must be cultivated, and I feel invigorated by my desire to make a guest happy. My view of everyday life changes.

A guest deserves beautiful soaps and other scented bath products. A guest might enjoy eating by candlelight or reading a new novel, just for fun. How can I make her “stay” even more enjoyable? (When living on autopilot, we’re less sensitive to our surroundings, but that environment does affect us.)

Itinerary.

A rut has room for more than one person. Although the details vary, perhaps we all have restaurant-for-dinner friends, the colleagues we meet over lunch and the family meal at Mom’s house every Saturday.

In an effort to entertain a guest, I look at my city as if I just moved here. I scrutinize the town’s event calendar. When I’m stuck in traffic, I notice billboards announcing concerts and recommending art museums.

Meals.

I think about the foods my guest loves to eat, and I carve out a menu instead of foraging in the fridge. I feed a guest healthy, mouth-watering meals at my own table, which I’ve covered with a colorful tablecloth and beautiful dishes, or at restaurants other friends have raved about. I anticipate what we’ll eat and drink; I make room for unexpected flavors and enjoyable conversations.

I don’t feed a guest fast food, caffeine and sugar and then wonder why she doesn’t have as much energy in the afternoon.

Kindness.

I’m patient with a guest. If she likes peace, I carve time for quiet into the potential schedule, and I keep that schedule flexible. If she has a deadline, I don’t push her to stay out late. I encourage her to take care of herself, to be patient with herself and to rest without indicting herself for doing less instead of more. I celebrate the good things about her by pointing out some of her best traits and compassionate impulses. I encourage her to try new activities without criticism.

How do you treat your visitors? What gifts do you share with a host? Be your own guest, and see what happens…