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Fear and Unworthiness

The guest house visualization for wisdom

I set the scene at the dining table in the guest house. I was the innkeeper observing Fear and Unworthiness sharing their struggles with Love and Wisdom. Fear and Unworthiness were young siblings both under the age of ten and stricken with this desire for the guest house to be like other guest houses and hotels, to be orderly, well structured, professional yet warm and to be ranked by the international travel review sites like Fear was speaking out of concern that if the guest house lost relevance, nobody would come and it would eventually wind down and they would not be able to visit in future. The family came frequently, they felt so comfortable here that sometimes their parents would drop them off at the guest house just so that we could care for them while they were busy at work.

Love and Wisdom were adults. Both men had early on build a strong rapport with the two brothers and they would often play basketball and video games together. The kids felt at ease with them and looked to them for support and mentorship. It was then that I heard Unworthiness remark that the guest house was not known by any of his friends in school and he felt discouraged even embarrassed to share about his vacations to the guest house with his classmates. The inn was simple though homely, it would not rank high for its aesthetics or the ambience and high ceiling lounges in five star hotels. It was a quaint and eclectic place with a mesh of different guests.

Wisdom and Love listened with empathy, Love in particular acknowledged their feelings of unease and affirmed them for being loving and concerned for the guest house and its guests. Wisdom pondered on their concerns and thanked them for the insightful feedback. He went further to ask them what they loved so much about the inn that they could not help but show that much concern for the inn's survival.

Unworthiness opened up to say that he had never experienced such complete and unconditional acceptance of who they were, and who the other desolate guests were and where they came from. He never truly felt recognized at home by his father, and grew dependent on Wisdom and Love and sometimes other older guests, as a father figure. Because we encouraged diversity at the inn, there were all sorts of people here, readily accepting of everyone, without judging, and without being judged.

Love thanked Unworthiness for this piece of honesty and acknowledged that indeed, this was the truly unique character of the inn. As I observed their conversation, I felt affirmed because I too was wondering what the inn stood for, and how it differentiated itself as a unique inn, in a modern world with expectations of modern comforts. I had no budget for a complete makeover and the owners were merely financial investors who were bottomline profit driven, mindful of the costs yet loyal in keeping its employees financially stable. In fact, I had worked for nine and a half years up to this point and was questioning what I would do, what I could do, and should I just decide to leave for somewhere else to gain more experience in the hospitality industry.

My mind wondered back and I caught onto what Fear and Wisdom came to consensus on. Fear remained concerned that there ought to be a viable and competitive suite of facilities and services that the consumers normally would expect from a reasonably well established boutique hotel or hotel chain. At the same time, the uniqueness of the inn was its openness to welcome everyone, and that everyone here made the inn unique. That was its differentiation.

They ultimately agreed on blending towards being more mainstream and losing a little more the rustic charm and heritage of the inn, while continuing the keep the inn open and hospitable to all guests. It would be a modern home for everyone, but a home nonetheless, and not a hotel. Nobody was expected to stay permanently, but it would still feel like a home away from home. They felt good after this conversation and left together to fill in a feedback form to be emailed to the guest house owners.

After they left, I felt inspired, that the inn's qualities were clear to me now. Those qualities were rich like a mother dough for making sourdough bread, handed down over generations for over a 100 years but kept in a modern silicone container and kept in a modern chiller. I needed an upgrade internally, and I knew it did not matter where I would work in future, but that I too had to have this blend of retaining the qualities in me which I value and modernizing aspects of me that would allow me to continue to grow as a person and be relevant at any stage in my life, to the trends of that age.

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