It's odd ...the things we notice first about new places... Albuquerque has made its first impressions on me as a series of endless Walgreen pharmacies and lots of tattoo parlours. Mountains in the background. Not much traffic. Lots of sunshine.
Had breakfast at The Frontier - an institution here. As a wuss, I couldn't even handle the red sauce (most prefer the hotter green)... though I did have white bean and green chili soup for supper. In between, I did some calls for work, got an internal campaign kicked off and finished my slides for my 1st presentation. I walked the campus (so I know where to go tomorrow) and did some networking with a few conference attendees. I'm very glad I came a day early - arriving now after the 15 hrs to get here would have been cutting it too close!
I also took a stroll down a few streets and talked to shop owners... finding out where they're from (met someone from Quebec!), why they came here, what they love about this neck of the woods. It's amazing how willing folks are to share their story if you just ask. One fellow drives in 4 hours every day to sell silver bracelets on a blanket. (they're exquisite) He explained his entire process and how each piece was made. I could have sat with him all day. One shop owner told me about each trip she has taken this year - where she went; what she bought - and how she needs to be surrounded by beauty. Another woman made her studio into her sanctuary and it was a priviledge just to stand there and appreciate the warmth and silence in which she grows her art.
We talked about 'mentoring'... since many asked why I was in town. The word "mentoring" has no real meaning in the worlds outside business towers and academia. I explained it as a form of teaching and sharing between master/student or equals - depending on the need and the approach. Many of them explained how many "mentors" they have had to become proficient on their chosen path and thought the idea of a conference dedicated to talking about mentoring sounded kind of silly. We don't need to be taught to be mentored or to mentor, was the general thought...only to listen. "Unless, of course, you want us to follow a bunch of rules and all do it only one way," said one woman.
I like it when the world lets me know it gets along just fine without me and my ideas. Makes me laugh. Makes me have faith that goodness and sharing exist and it's really only a struggle if you complain about the delivery mechanisms.