Reverence for Those You Serve

Christina Frei Generosity Practice, Generous Marketing

Sometimes I forget what it looks like or feels like to live in a truly generous way, especially as it relates to marketing. Prospects can feel far away sometimes. Generosity can turn into a nice idea that doesn’t really change anything.

But a few days ago, I saw a woman embodying the full radiance of generosity and it brought me right back to the power of this work.

Jeong Kwan is a Korean monk who lives in a Buddhist monastery in the mountains outside of Seoul. She cooks. She also happens to be one of the best chefs on the planet. Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York City invited her for a command performance at his restaurant.  A New York Times food critic was so impressed that he went to Korea to get to know Jeong Kwan better.

There are lots of great chefs in this world.  What distinguishes Jeong Kwan is her total lack of ego. When she kneels down to pull out long-fermenting kimchi from a pot in the earth, she looks like she is praying as she gently inspects the long-awaited food. As she infuses small bowls of water with different flavors from her garden, she smiles a small smile of thankfulness. When she welcomes the surrounding community to her banquet (generously offered), she invites people to not take too much or too little.

She. Does. Not. Rush.

Her garden is a beautiful chaotic mess in harmony with life. She doesn’t spray her plants from bugs. She sees the partially eaten lettuce leaves as natural. A wild pig visits and takes carrots now and then.  And the garden gives back to her in abundance.

In her every move, you get the sense that she is in step with a higher rhythm, a higher order. The New York Times food critic said that if he could eat Jeong Kwan’s food every day for a month, he would be a very different person.  People often find themselves transformed after only one meal of hers.

In the West, the pressure to wear a friendly smile makes you forget the kind of smile you see on Jeong Kwan’s face, so gentle and natural.  She simply loves her work, loves humanity, loves life, and makes her life an offering. What could be more generous than that?

What would happen if you infused your communication, ALL your communication, with this kind of generosity? Even beyond the marketing, what if your client work is done from this deep reverence for those you serve?  You have this in you.  And I’d love to talk with you about it.

May you find the reverence, grace and generosity of Jeong Kwan in your own service to others.

As seen on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Season 3, Ep. 1