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Lucy Buffett, Restaurateur and Cookbook Author

Published on 01/30/2018

What is your life’s purpose?
My life’s purpose has been to connect my physical life to a spiritual life that gives me meaning, comfort, and sustains me so that I can contribute positively to society.

How are you living your purpose?
I do what I call my “inner work.” Self-reflection is tantamount in my process. Sometimes, I enjoy long easy periods of meditation and prayer practice. I am constantly following spiritual mentors or reading inspirational material that speaks to me, searching out current influencers with regard to spirituality, wholeness, and oneness. I try to put myself into nature frequently to get grounded and connected to my “Source.”

Other times, I can barely get to my “inner work” because my “outer work” as a restaurateur, author, mother, grandmother, and partner is so incredibly demanding. So the time I may have to connect may be as fleeting as a few minutes to light a candle, read a short inspirational thought for the day, or listen to a podcast as I drive to work. But there is always a knowing and a clear mental intention residing in my heart, mind, and soul to connect to the Divine mystery, whose activity I believe is creativity and whose nature is pure love.

How did you find your purpose?
I learned a long time ago, that having an open and curious mind is key to personal success. Luckily, I grew up with a very open-minded, intellectually curious, and smart mother, so I was imprinted with that from a very early age. However, I was also living in a traditional Southern city and attending the Catholic school system. My curiosity got me in a lot of trouble. When I got expelled for being pregnant in my senior year, that inspired a hopelessness that moved me to abandon all religious practice. I became busy with survival as I had two baby girls by the time I was 18 years old. Those children saved me because they were so incredible; even in my wanton youth, the mystery and beauty of life kept tapping at my heart when I would look at them and kept me persevering to keep searching for what I could only define at the time as happiness.

It was hard. I was so young, I didn’t have great parenting skills. Yet, something within me, some spark of wanting a better life for both of them and a happier life for all of us kept me going. With a lot of help from my family, my life continued to unfold and yet, I was stuck in an “Oh poor me” victim consciousness. There is nothing more miserable, even if self-inflicted, than being attached to an attitude that life has “done me wrong!” So, I went into therapy. I dove into all of the self-help literature that was booming at the time, and it really spoke to me. I joined Al-Anon because I had this crazy pattern of marrying alcoholics, and that taught me a lot about co-dependence. It also sent me on a spiritual quest to connect with the “God of my understanding.”

It is there that I discovered that my search for happiness was truly a search for meaning and a spiritual connection which is the foundational building block for a “happy” life. I began voraciously reading and studying spiritual teachings. Native American Spiritualism really inspired me with an emphasis on the natural world. Creation Spirituality healed my Catholic wounds and showed me the beauty of their rituals and mysticism based on the actual teaching of Jesus and not the catechism of organized religion. Metaphysics taught me to take responsibility for my life and gave me the comfort of a philosophy rooted in self-reliance, creative receptivity, and “Oneness.” Buddhism opened me up to a world view of fierce compassion.

There were and continue to be so many more people who have influenced my “inner work.” I learn something new every day. I change my mind constantly with no shame or regret. And I must be diligent in practicing love, forgiveness, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, and gratitude on a daily basis-or I can easily, quicker than a sneeze, fall back into self-pity. But what I do know from the depths of my heart and soul, is that the success I enjoy as a person-and for me that means being at peace with who I am-and the success I now enjoy with a thriving business were only possible after I shifted from trying to make things happen in the outer world and turned my attention to connecting with a Divine presence in my inner world.

What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
The best advice I can offer to purpose seekers is find a “quiet practice.” Whether it is prayer or meditation, or gardening, jogging or beach walking, creating a practice of solitary self-reflection is key to finding your purpose. Also, know that having the intention of finding your purpose is the first step and the journey along the way is as critical to the process as the revelation of what your purpose is. Relax and trust your higher self to guide you along the journey.

What resources do you recommend?
Matthew Fox‘s work inspired hope, joy, creativity and healing. A former Catholic priest, he is now a practicing Episcopalian priest, scholar, historian, and mystic. His book, Creation Spirituality, restored my hope and faith.

My aha moments that turned my world view from a “glass half empty” to a “glass half full” came with Reverend Michael Beckwith and the Agape International Spiritual Center in the Los Angeles area. http://agapelive.com/

During that same time that I was attending the Agape Center, I was also attending Marianne Williamson‘s lectures on a Course in Miracles. She is a no-nonsense yet loving and powerful woman who has helped so many people.

I frequently sign up for Oprah & Deepak’s 21-day Meditation Series. It’s easy and so powerful to be remotely connected to a community that is practicing at the same time.

I read the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh, both Buddhists who write so beautifully yet with practicality and humor.

When I can’t get to a yoga class, I do an at-home yoga practice with Gaiam’s Yoga Studio App on my iPad.

Daily Om has a fantastic course and is an inspiring site.

On Being with Kriista Tippet has some wonderful podcasts and articles.

Panache Desai has a great and inspirational take on this crazy thing called life with a very contemporary approach. I love listening to his meditations. He uses technology to connect and to create a community.

Connect with Lucy Buffett:
Facebook Page
Twitter: @LucyBuffett

Gumbo Love: Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life
LuLu’s Kitchen: A Taste of the Gulf Coast Good Life

Lucy Anne Buffett, also known by her childhood nickname LuLu, and the official “Crazy Sista” of the Buffett clan, is a self-proclaimed gypsy rebel, having come from a long line of sailors, salesmen, storytellers, and generation after generation of staunch, Southern matriarchs who were stellar cooks. The little sister of singer Jimmy Buffett, Lucy was born in Mobile, Alabama, to her Mississippi coast parents who both worked at the local shipyard. Education was an important mandate in the Buffett home and Lucy’s mother chose to work so that the children could attend private Catholic schools. “We got our passion and drive from our father but it was from our mother that we got our talent and curiosity,” she explains. Lucy cites two central themes that have molded her journey and made her the successful restaurateur that she is today: “First, that I am Southern-and not just Southern but Coastal Southern. And second is my love of food, cooking and entertaining.”

Through many adventures-and she would say a few misadventures-Lucy has raised two daughters, traveled, lived, worked and cooked her way on all three coasts. From her hometown in Alabama to New York, New Orleans, the Caribbean, Key West and Los Angeles, she has left a myriad of jobs in her rear-view mirror – caterer, copywriter, office manager, production coordinator and even personal chef and personal assistant to a couple of movie stars along the way.

In her forties, Lucy answered the call to return to her Gulf Coast roots to help care for her elderly and ailing parents and opened a little dive on Week’s Bay in Fairhope, Alabama called LuLu’s Sunset Grill, a combination bait shop/burger joint bar. The restaurant was a hit and became a beloved local watering hole until five years later, when her land lease was not renewed. But gumbo love runs deep, and everything that wasn’t nailed down was loaded onto a 150-foot barge and taken to a larger location on the Intracoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores, Alabama where it became a well-known coastal destination. Continuing to grow and thrive, there are now two LuLu’s locations, the second in Destin, Florida and a third on the way, opening in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2018.

What has moved Lucy Buffett and her LuLu’s brand into a favorite spot in the hearts of people all over the country? It’s all about love. The food is always good, the service is exceptional, the hospitality feels like home, the music is always live, and the fun is always present, proven by the more than one million visitors each year. So what is her secret ingredient? It’s quite simple: Lucy cares! Her passion in providing an authentic Gulf Coast experience translates into her cookbooks as well, serving an equal helping of delicious recipes and memorable, often humorous, stories from Lucy’s own life. With her most recent book, Gumbo Love, Lucy reveals what’s really behind the mind of the Crazy Sista, LuLu: Lucy Buffett.

HeleneTStelian Musing
I’m Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Mentor with a passion for facilitating personal development in women 40+. Through my THRIVE Courses, I help introspective, curious, action-oriented women 40+ deepen their journeys of self-discovery and growth—and create their next chapter with courage and intention.



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  1. Gary Gruber

    An inspiring story and I believe the essence of Lucy’s journey is in this revelation: “I learned a long time ago, that having an open and curious mind is key to personal success.” That resonates with me and also with so many other people whom I know and admire. As a committed lifelong learner I celebrate Lucy’s continuing process of exploration and discovery.

    • Hélène Stelian

      I agree with you and love that advice too. Thanks for reading Gary!


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