Oh, having your purpose to your gathering need not make your gathering formal.
I think what I am really talking about is when you want to have a more meaningful gathering with your friends or, um or any type of group, uh, there are ways to increase the level of meaning, and that's by increasing the level of focus.
And so I'll give an example.
I was speaking with a woman who is a journalist, and she was assigned by Real Simple magazine to do a piece on how the art of gather if I her dinner party.
So she called me up, and I think she thought I was gonna say, like, put your fish knives this way and put the wine glass here and George and wine is all the rage And I said, Well, what is the need in your life right now that by bringing a specific group of people you might address and she said, for a dinner party, Just work with me here.
And she said, and she said, Well, I'm a worn out mom.
The other day I was at a friend's house.
She cut me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into triangles.
She fed me and I burst into tears and I said, Why did you burst into tears?
And she said, Because I realized that how worn out I am and how beautiful it was to feel taken care of in that moment.
And she said, What if I hosted a dinner party for my other worn out Mom's said, That's great, given a name.
All right, Make it sealable the worn out mom's hootenanny Give it a rule.
If you talk about your kids, you have to take a shot.
Andi started getting excited.
I could hear her on the phone like, Oh, so what do I do?
I send a paperless post poster and even and I said, Just put in an email put worn out Mom hootenanny in the subject line.
Tell the peanut butter and jelly story sandwich.
Give them context to your life.
Invite the other worn out moms in your life.
And she did this and all six women RSVP'd yes, within the 1st 45 minutes, and she's like I've never had response rates like this and they didn't take out.
They did not cook right?
It was embodied all the way through When they walked in, she thought about the opening ritual, and she didn't call it that.
But when each woman walked in, she we like, thought up this idea.
She had them rummage through their person, take out anything child related and put in a basket.
So, like there's like discussing old Gummy bear, you know, packs having packs.
And it was this joyous, hilarious, beautiful soul filling night.
And it's just taking your real life and not pretending it's not your life.
It's actually saying, This is my life, right?
This is not a B formal and don't open the kimono.
So part of this this gathering is not so much saying, Become tight and closed and like No, no, no, it's saying, like, what is what is the need right now around which I'm willing to show you my need and invite you in to basically create something new together to mark, to witness, to remember, to invent, rather than saying, Let's come together, be in the living room and blow out birthday candles?
You could still have a cake, right, but it's more starting with the need, not with the format.
I think of every gathering as a social contract, which basically means it is an agreement between that promise of as a host of what it is you're going to provide both materially and psychologically and anak actual opportunity say yes, yes, I am willing to receive that as a guest.
Yes, I am willing to take that risk of the guest and many of us, whether it's you live in London or live in New York, like me, or in many cities around the world.
They're getting more and more multicultural.
So we all have different ways of gathering right and a huge part of, I think, the reason why, whether you are introverted, extroverted or whether you are honoring forward or honoring recessive or whatever you wanna call it.
We are vague in our invitations, and so we don't actually represent what it is we want to do.
In an evening six or seven years ago, my husband and I got married in India and I'm half Indian and he's Indian American, and we went back for the first time to India to meet our families or extended families.
But we knew that the context of our family culture was that if we just got everyone together for dinner.
The cousins would talk to the cousins.
Uncles would talk to the uncles.
Both sides would kind of keep to themselves after the formalities, and we really wanted to have a different kind of night.
We did it in like a neutral area.
It wasn't on either person's house and invited everybody and said, We're going to do a different kind of night.
It's called 15 toasts.
Get ready, Thio.
Share a story.
And so everyone knew what they were coming for, and they behaved in part because of each other, right?
The other family well kept them on their best behavior.
And at the beginning of the night, we've done our glass and we said, Tell us a story, a story, your experience from your life that no one around the table has ever heard and how it affected your lens on the world.
And for three hours, to our their credit, they were game and they told stories.
And we heard stories like my grandmother, who is now 92 rarely speak.
She spoke in Hindi.
I did it through translation, who was one of the first women to go to Banaras University Banaras Hindu university And how she went in a covered up carriage with a blanket and her Her father said that he she should go and apply, But he was gonna go out of town to be at a cousin's wedding and purposely wasn't gonna be in town when all the families complained so he could pretend that he didn't know mhm.
And then we said So, Nanny, how did that change your view?
And she said, I understood how change happens.
And we said Why?
And she said, Well, for me, I understood that change can't happen without at least some of the powerful consenting to it.
So part of this and and all everyone was willing to do it because we set them up to understand that this is what this thing waas.
I think a lot of the pushback and a lot of the terror comes when you spring things on people or when the purpose is illegitimate, right?
Like, why are we doing this?
It doesn't make any sense.
Think about how you prime your guests think about naming your invitations and ways that, you know, even in a work meeting.
Is it a brainstorming is a laboratory.
It is a workshop, right?
And if you make your title your name of your gathering, do your work for you or your actually then bringing people in.
So your prime ing them in a way where they already know what they're going to be talking about.
And we tend to under host because we think the gathering begins when people walk in the door.
But the gathering begins at the moment of discovery, and you're hosting people all the way through to the moment they walk in.
And if you do that well, there's much less to facilitate in the room because people already are kind of on board for what it is you want to be doing.