On opening night of Tales, I had the opportunity to chat for awhile with Gary “gaz” Regan. We were both on a bus taking a group of Tale-ies (not the same as those on the TV series “Lost”) to a gigantic party hosted by William Grant & Sons at the New Orleans Museum of Art. gaz and I see eye to eye on a lot of things besides bartending. One of them is what he calls “mindfulness”. To bring the concept down to just one sentence, it could be summarized as “Live in the moment”. It sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s not easy to put into practice. Just think of how much of our lives are spent living in the past or the future.
Some examples that I’m sure a lot of bartenders can relate to:
That jerk of a customer or boss who set you off, and even hours later is still affecting your mood for the rest of your day. Living in the past of the moment they sent negative energy into your life, and instead of moving beyond it, you absorbed it.
Or, you have a job interview, cocktail contest or seminar you have to present, and the thought of what might go wrong makes you obsess to the point of where you inevitably will not perform at your best. Living out your fears of the future.
By living in the present on the first night of Tales (gaz said to me at one point, “It doesn’t get any better than this, Blair”) we were both experiencing all that life had to offer. We weren’t shortchanging our lives in the regrets of what we did or didn’t do in the past or worrying about what we needed to do in the future.
With an event like Tales of the Cocktail, there are literally hundreds of options offered at any given time for spirits enthusiasts. Don’t worry if you can’t make all of the seminars, or don’t meet all of the “bar stars” you’d hope to, or even make all of the parties. Because in the end, it’s all about appreciating where you are at any given time. Be there now, to paraphrase one of gaz’s favorite philosophers.