Acknowledgement

I am starting this project out of a commitment to have acknowledgement be a natural part of self-expression.

Acknowledgement has the possibility to provide love, beauty, grace, belonging, peace, connectedness, completion, in an instant. A whole new world can be created, or validation of a world that another is creating for himself.

There are many types of acknowledgement: a simple “Thank you.” “Well done.” “Congratulations.”  “Hello.” “Good bye.”  “I love you.”

What I am pointing to is acknowledgement that creates a world. It can be with someone you have known for a lifetime, years or never met. In that moment, a world can be created that will leave them empowered, knowing that they are known as someone who is presencing their gift(s) to the world, and honored for their contribution.

To acknowledge another costs nothing, takes only a moment, and creates a world.

There are those occasions that we have and opportunity to cause a miracle in the life of another.

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do it consciously

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do nothing.

Sometimes we cause a miracle and have no idea it happened.

I was having dinner with my friend Bill, who has worked in the restaurant industry for years. Our meal was terrific and when the waitress returned to our table, I told her how great our meal was. I realized moments later, she did not prepare our meal, it was the folks in the kitchen that had done everything that had our meal be such a treat. I asked Bill if they ever had people come into the kitchen to thank them for the meals they prepared. Rarely. But there was a evening when John Denver had been dining and strolled into the kitchen with his guitar, told them how much he appreciated the dinner and gave them an impromptu  concert, just for the folks in the kitchen.

Whenever I have a “Wow this is good” meal, I am present to my friend Bill and either find the manager, or walk into the kitchen and find out who cooked my meal and tell them how much I appreciate what they have done to have this be so enjoyable.

Laura and I were in a nondescript hotel in Bilbao Spain. It was late and we  were too tired to go out and find a “nice restaurant with good food instead of the dicey chance of decent food in the hotel.” The dining room  appeared virtually characterless, more like a cafeteria than a restaurant.  Our expectations were adjusted to “well at least we wont be hungry”.  I ordered a medium steak with some mystery sauce.  Our meals came.  The plates looked great.  I cut into the  steak to check for doneness. Perfect!  My hopes are  beginning  to look up.  I cut a bite-sized piece and dip it in the mystery sauce.  As we talk about our day,  I take the first  bite.  I stop mid sentence.  With my  mouth full of nirvana sustenance, I try to utter “Oh, my God!”  Every bite  was a cause for celebration of having  taste buds.  By the  end of the meal, I was asking for some bread to wipe up the remnants of the sauce.

The delightful surprise of this meal had me out of our booth and walking into the  kitchen. We are in Spain and I do not speak Spanish. In  English, I ask the first person I see, “who cooked my meal?”  He disappears and returns with the chef; following  him are several other members of the  kitchen crew.  After I find out that he cooked my  meal, I begin to tell him my experience of enjoying  the meal he had prepared for us.  I swear he looked taller and larger by the  time I finished.  I  do not remember any one  in that room speaking English, except me.  The smiles were huge, and there was no doubt that my acknowledgement was received.

Every time I think of being in the room with those guys, it brings a smile to my  face and warmth to my heart.

When I was in the hospital not too long ago, I asked the nurse in my room who had  been in the ICU for 7 years saving people’s lives on a daily basis, if she was acknowledged regularly.  She said that sometimes someone would say something nice, and that kind of kept them going.

This seems almost criminal to me.

It occurs that as life goes along and we interact with people, there will be something someone will do that we appreciate, something that makes a difference to us or is or way beyond what is expected.  In those moments there is a thought that we could say something to them or we can  say nothing.  On the  freeway exits, there is that point where you can take the exit or continue on the freeway.  The  last moment you can take the exit is the “Gore Point”.  In the moment of deciding to acknowledge or not it is like that “Gore Point”.

What has you decide to remain silent rather than speak?

I don’t know what to say.

I might appear to be a fool.

I might feel uncomfortable

They already know how I feel.

It’s their job.

I don’t have time.

I would be too vulnerable.

They don’t know me.

I don’t know them.

I don’t care.

They would think I’m weird.

I might get too emotional.

I might cry.

I’m not a  touchy-feely type.

What happens at that “Gore Point” for you?

What if what you speak would create a world for another that would have them get that the gift they most want to give to the world is known, received and appreciated?

What was it like when your gift to the world was acknowledged?

Did you stand taller?

Did you want to give more?

Did you smile more?

Did you want to acknowledge others more?

How did it change your view of the world?

What  happens at that “Gore Point” for you?

What is the difference between a bystander and a hero?

Courage?

There are those occasions that we have an opportunity to cause a miracle in the life of another.

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do it consciously

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do nothing.

Sometimes we cause a miracle and have no idea it happened.

Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm  Comments (4)  

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  1. This is really beautifully written, Mike, and so true. I think that, most often, we don’t take responsibility for this kind of world-altering power. We think that conversation is just talk, and we don’t realize that what we say can transform someone’s experience. One minute the chef and his help were making steaks and salads and getting through the night. The next, they knew that, for at least one person in the world, they were stars! Thanks for getting me to see this.

  2. Oh Mike, As for me, this is the perfect culmination of all the years of Acknowledgement and Appreciation calls. You brought it ALL together with clarity and said it in a way that I think anyone can get it. You remind me, yet again, of my promise and what it means to me. Thank you for shining the light on the heart place so eloquently. You expressed your intention beautifully and brought me present to what I care about so deeply – yet forget. I love you for being authentically WHO YOU ARE! I’m grateful for you, dear Mike.

  3. Lovely, Mike! It is so marvelous to read about the adventure in the kitchen in Spain. You and Laura are very special. I remember when I first started speaking to the cashiers at the grocery store. For years when I checked out they did not “see” me and I did not “see” them. One day I stopped and purposely looked the cashier in the eye and said hello. She was surprised. But the next time I came through her line she smiled and said hello to me. Then as time went on I realized I wasn’t seeing the guy bagging the groceries and I started thanking them explicitly every time. And Mike, it feels so good. I get as much from it as they do. All those things you listed that could stop a person stopped me for a long time. I was mostly afraid they would look at me like I’m crazy. (smile) but every time the person being acknowledged is pleased in the long run. I think some people are embarrased for some reason when I acknowledge them, but they smile. I love your new blog and appreciate your goodness. All the best to you and Laura! Nancy

  4. The cool thing about acknowledgement is that it is so easy. It is a matter of being mindful and not walking around on auto pilot. For years I’ve heard you speak of acknowledgment and have somewhat incorporated it into my life. That is largely due to you. Thank you for this wonderful gift, your new website and the gift of you.


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