When Jim and I were travelling on the East Coast in June one of our stops was along the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia. Jim’s brother John, and his wife Donna, spend their summers there and John had recommended a few must-see places to Jim. One of them happened to be the Doryman Pub in Cheticamp. Cheticamp is a beautiful fishing village on the west coast of Cape Breton. Since we had planned to be on Cape Breton Island, and since we planned to stop overnight somewhere, we decided that while we were in the neighbourhood we should investigate the Doryman Pub. John had told us about the amazing musicians who perform there.
From what we observed on our trip, the East Coast is brimming with incredible musicians. We had heard that the Doryman welcomes such musicians as Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie McMaster and that fish and chips are often served with a side order of Celtic or Acadian music and some step dancing. This kind of music speaks right my heart so it wasn’t hard for Jim to convince me to spend an evening at the Doryman Pub. Never content to just show up somewhere without doing his ‘research’, Jim looked online at the Doryman the day before we were set to arrive and told me excitedly that there was in fact, to be a live fiddler, Mike Hall, playing the following night. Even more exciting was that the reason Mike Hall was live there on a Tuesday evening was because his music was going to be used in a documentary they were going to be filming about Harley Davidson riders on the night we planned to be there. From the moment we drove into the parking lot in our rented Toyota Corolla, wearing my Keen sandals, I knew I would blend right in!
Jim’s research had proved to be correct. There was, in fact, a film crew on hand and there were, in fact, passionate Harley Davidson riders in the pub. There was also still room for some locals and for us. As the evening wore on, we discovered that the film being made was called, ‘Common Ground’.
The basic premise of the film was that Harley Davidson riders are connected, no matter where they are from. This documentary follows three Canadian riders. Each of them meets a rider from another country and spends a week showing them their part of Canada.
On the evening we were at the Doryman, the rider from Cape Breton, Daniel Ross, was in the midst of his week of riding the Cabot Trail with a rider from India. The stop at the Doryman was one of the planned events; a chance to show off the Canadian rider’s local stomping ground.
The evening was great fun and we loved hearing the music. It also turned out that the rider from India, Vasanth, is an illusionist and so they asked him to perform. It was an awesome evening. As the night wore on, the film crew captured Jim and I enjoying the show and we were asked to sign wavers in case the footage was used. This past week we happened to see an advertisement for ‘Common Ground’ and of course we had to watch it. And there we were. Now, of course, we are famous. The same kind of fame we got used to when we were extras in Superman 3, when it was filmed in High River in 1982. But now I’m just name dropping.
What I loved when I watched the documentary was the reaction of the Canadian rider from Nova Scotia, Daniel, as he talked about his week. He described how he had been so excited to show his country off to his new friend, Vasanth, from India. What surprised him was not that Vasanth had loved meeting his friends and seeing his world, but how much he loved looking at his friends and his familiar world through a whole new lens. As he introduced people and places that he had very likely taken for granted in his daily life, he presented each to Vasanth with a narrative of love. As he talked about each one, the great pride he had for each shone through. Prior to this, I don’t think that he had ever stopped to vocalize what he loved about his family, his friends and his home. He said that he had expected to show off his life to Vasanth, but that he ended up realizing that by showing it off in it’s best light to someone else, he gained a whole new appreciation for what he has.
I’ve been thinking about how to use this in my own life and I’ve been quietly practicing this. As I go about my normal routines, I imagine how I would introduce my ‘people’ and my places to a stranger. When I look at the people in my life, I think about what I would say about them. Because I get leaky eyes whenever I talk about things that mean a lot to my heart, I suspect that my introductions would involve tears. But I also know that it would be so meaningful for me to really find evidence and to voice support and appreciation for these people in my life. I could do the same with my job and with where I live. If I was telling someone about it, and highlighting all the strengths, I couldn’t help but look at these things in a new, positive way. I can only imagine how good it would be for my people to hear these things being said about themselves too.
As you go about your week, choose a couple of people who you may have been seeing through ‘familiar eyes’. Imagine that you were going to introduce these people to a stranger, on a documentary. You will be amazed at how this simple shift can change your whole perspective.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What is my new script?’
Book a coaching session with Elizabeth to help learn how to write new scripts. Elizabeth provides coaching for individuals and for groups. She also facilitates custom workshops for teams, groups and businesses.