Sunday, March 10, 2019

Cold Honest Truth in a Parking Lot

It has been bitterly cold in my hometown. The temperature rarely reaching its fingers towards the norm. And with this sustained unusual freeze, behaviour has frayed. Common decency has declined, people are cutting corners.

The typically polite have become short-tempered, the usual joyous faces are strained. We are tired of bundling up just to cross a parking lot, and heaving ourselves and what we are carrying over the snow banks pushed towards the sidewalks. We are walking cautiously as ice lurks when we are not watching.

Appointments have been postponed. Running around errands still sit on people's lists.

But today the groceries had to be done.

As I started my usual hour-long ordeal I made my way across the parking lot to get a shopping cart. A mother and about ten-year-old son were finished their groceries and were retrieving their loonie as they pushed their cart into alignment to unlock the release. The young lad pushed with all his might and then stopped with delight as he saw the bag left behind in the lower shelf of the cart next to him.

Look Mom, he shrieked with glee. The bag that someone had forgotten in their haste held a big bag of potato chips, a couple of bottles of coke and several large chocolate bars.

We can't do that, his Mom shook her head. But they LEFT it, the young guy said. They won't come back! NO ONE will know. I LOVE those potato chips.

But those things are not ours, Mom said, as she looked seriously into her son's eyes. We might forget something one day and wouldn't it be nice if someone returned it to us. They might come back. And we will know.

I pushed my cart behind the Mom and son as they made their way back through the parking lot to return the bag of groceries to customer service.

And WHO would know?

I know. They know. And now you know too.

Simple cold honest truth in the parking lot. (Tweet This)

Life lesson on honesty from Mom to son in a parking lot. (Tweet This)

Now tell me, how will you pass on the life lesson on honesty?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Let it Alone

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things
which he can afford to let alone.

If we were more conscious of our Things, Emotions, Judgments, and Comparisons who could we be?

our Things
What do we keep? A common question when cleaning out our basement, garage or the home of the deceased. What the heck is important to me? Our task then becomes a combination of dust and sweat and a walk down memory lane. Why do we have all this stuff?

Let it Alone: Things, Emotions, Judgments, Comparison
When we decide however to not bring these items into our dwelling, when we have paused long enough to say “No, I don’t need this” or “let me think about it” we have chosen to increase the value of our belongings. Our cluttered shelves and closets, our arrangement of knick-knacks, and boxes of old photos and trophies have the ability to keep us tied to who we once were. They could even be blocking your path to whom we are on the way to becoming. Too many things slowed down the progress of the settlers travelling to new lands even back then.

If you had one trunk to take on your voyage, how would you choose? And then halfway to your destination, you were told to skinny up those choices, what would you then decide?

Once there was a man that had to leave his home quickly, his caregiver had died. This man packed his belongings in one box. Clean socks, a few pairs of jeans, a t-shirt or two. He walked out the door unencumbered. He was ready to start a new adventure. I saw it with my own eyes.

If only it were that easy, you think. Right?

Some of us have hobbies we will get to someday, items that we might need down the road and stored items of grown children. We comfort ourselves with these things. Why are we afraid to let go of them? We use these Things as an excuse to not look at our Now. Leave the accumulation of things alone.

our Emotions
I should be angrier, she said to me. I should just hate him for what he did to me. But I cannot. I cannot give him more of my energy, my life, my heart. She told me this and she could be anyone you know. She could be speaking of her father who ignored and then disowned her, she could be referring to her step-brother who was a little too touchy. She might be speaking about her neighbour who has late into the night parties or the volunteer leader who always knows best.

What she decided though was to move on. To leave it behind, she would not make it a part of her future story. Not easy right? But she got to choose. Only she was in charge of how she would feel. What she chose was to be Brave, to trust that she had been given a lesson. She would not give away her control to someone else. And hence the petty small office gossip and the loud abrasive person in line at the movie theatre did not enter her. She let it go because she’d been practising all this time.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Trading in my Parking Spot for my Future (some call it Retirement)

Trading in my Parking Spot
Some months ago I arrived one day at work and found this bicycle hitched to my parking spot.

Ah, I thought, perfect for my goodbye. Oh, don't get me wrong. I have absolutely no inclination to trade in my 4 wheels for something with no protection going down hills. But somehow this bicycle sent me images of a wicker basket filled with flowers, a baguette, a bottle of wine. A winding country lane even maybe.

This bicycle spoke to me about my future.

It filled me with a sense of awe. It reminded me of how the years have flown by, how certain things have broken down, how some scenery has been fantastic and of the surprising potholes that have shown up. 

You know, those deep ruts that make you lean and hold on to the handlebars tightly. The ones that form (it seems) almost overnight. The bad habits along with the better ones. The unexpected turns in your career, in your health, the dead halt in your ambition as you take care of the necessities. How you kiss your creativity farewell and put it in your back pocket hoping that it will stay put safely...until later. (Tweet This)

Monday, January 21, 2019

Still or Scream?

A writer I know told me that she did her best writing after her parents died, they were in their nineties. She finally had the freedom to speak from her heart about the dysfunction that lived in the house that she had grown up in.

Still or Scream?  Courtesy Arno_M Pixabay

Someone else said that she found her husband in bed with a girl young enough to be his daughter. She, a seemingly contained person, walked into the closet they shared and cut up every one of his dress shirts. They became all short-sleeved. Then she went to the kitchen and made a list of what she’d take in the divorce.

Why is it that we need a catastrophe of some sort, in order for us to abandon our limits and to tell the truth? Our feelings belong only to us, we need to recognize that when they start rattling us that they are telling us something. They are trying to get our attention by making us uncomfortable. We don't need to wait for a disaster.

No one, not even those who know us the best can understand our deepest emotions. They have not lived each day in our skin. They have not hidden in corners with our tears or laughed with us in the darkness at what we consider the absurdity of life.

One of our biggest fears, unfortunately, is what would happen if we were to be “too honest”. If we actually told the ones who offend us how much they annoy us or that we see through their lies. Because we are for the most part governed by good manners and kindness even when we walk away in frustration. 

We don’t want to be the bad guy. We don’t want to be the one who is perceived as mean. Although through experience most of us know that sometimes being direct, by being brutally honest is the only way to save our selves.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

How Yoga Put Savings in my Wallet

Each week I look forward to my evening yoga class. As each teacher I've had has told me, yoga will become a part of your life, you will take your practice with you off the mat.

And indeed that is true. I found out how true in a shopping mall.

Fitting in a practice takes some juggling. We are running between our expectations and our goals and rarely have time to relax. But Yoga put savings in my wallet one day and let me tell you how.

Before I head to my yoga class, I often walk for half an hour in a shopping mall across the street from where the yoga class is held. A January clearance sale (don't you love those 70% off signs?) in one of my favourite clothing stores stopped me in my brisk walk.

By the time I walked out of the store I was "richer" and could Celebrate! If you have been following along, you will know that Celebrate! is my word for this year.

In this store, I met a very assertive salesperson and because of what I have learned through yoga, I was able to walk away peacefully. We've all experienced someone like this, someone who won't stop talking, who follows you around constantly making suggestions. So annoying.

I'm a minimalist, I said. I choose carefully. She had not heard of Courtney Carver's Project 33. Wearing 33 items or less for 3 months would not make sense to this salesperson.

Oh, a person can have more than ONE pair of black pants, she said as she thrust another pair towards me. I'll just put this in the changing room for you, it will be PERFECT with whatever else you have at home.

And so it went on, and on, and on.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good sale. But minimalism and yoga have taught me about simple things. About calm, and making choices. About considering and not rushing decisions. About knowing when you are right to walk away.

I did try on a number of pairs of pants, all in various shades of black! But as I kept my eye on the time, I knew that I was already too late to get to my yoga class. We don't always have time to decide on our own time. (Tweet This)

I need time to think and decide, I said to her. Which we all know are words that no salesperson ever wants to hear.

Not long ago, I would have struggled with saying that. I would have opened my wallet and bought at least one thing just to get out of the store, or so I didn't appear rude, or unappreciative of her attention. And I like many of us would have ended up with one more pair of black pants!

That day, although I missed my yoga class, I was able to walk away "richer". Not only in my wallet but also in my soul. 

I was able to acknowledge who I was inside and to not need more outside. (Tweet This)