The day before Thanksgiving I stopped by the local Whole Foods Market on the way home. It was in the afternoon so there were traffic directors, the cart cache was nearly empty, and the parking lot was full. I deduced from all this that it was going to be somewhat crowded inside. I had just a few items on my shopping list so I stood up straight and tall, grabbed a couple of reusable bags from my car, and nabbed one of the two carts resting in the returned cart station.
Once I had the cart in hand leading the way to the entrance, I felt myself tighten up a bit. Hmm. I was feeling nervous, as I’d heard stories of grocery shopping on days like today. Mayhem. People in a hurry, nearly running other shoppers over. Maybe I better ask Wolf, one of my main protector spirits, to accompany me. Geez, it’s going to be a madhouse.
Then I caught what was going on in my mind and my body, so I changed my mind. I realized I was at choice here, that I could go into the store and be very competitive, rush through the shopping just to get out of there quickly, and keep a scowl on my face to let others know I really meant business. Instead I decided to go about the task at a leisurely pace, put a slight smile on my face (Mantak Chia suggests you smile “as if you have a happy little secret), and if somebody happened to look at me, I’d make eye contact and give them an even bigger smile. I came through the entrance by the produce section and surveyed the scene before me. Yep, basically it was like I imagined it would be. The place was buzzing with ambient sounds of shoppers shopping, classic rock playing in the background, people with carts dancing around one another. I took a deep breath and casually joined the dance.
Not surprisingly, the whole experience went quite smoothly. I got all the items I had on my list plus a couple others. It’s hard for me to stick just with the list, especially when I pass what I call the temptation aisle, where all the chocolates are. The chocolate caramels called my name so of course I had to snag a couple of those.
Now at the checkout stand waiting patiently for my turn to come once the three parties in front of me were taken care of, I went into observational mode and looked all around. It occurred to me that this was a modern day harvest! These days we don’t typically grow our food nor if you’re an omnivore do you have to sacrifice the animals raised specifically for food. I suspect most people who eat meat think that it comes from the supermarket and have no felt connection to the beings that existed prior to ending up in the deli case.
Further, I felt grateful that there was such a means to “harvest” our food in spite of calling it “grocery shopping.” Leading into not only Thanksgiving but the winter solstice season, I was filled with appreciation for the coming together of family and friends, much like our long ago ancestors did during the season of darkness. I am so thankful that my family and I can appreciate and enjoy the bounty and abundance that is available to us.
I also realized that I can rise above my judgments about the heavily commercial aspect of this season and hold in my mind and heart the more profound values of love, gratitude, and compassion, practicing these principles as consistently as possible. Oh, yeah. And slowing down to a more relaxed pace that is congruent with the slower pace of the natural world during this season.
Have a great Solstice season and share the love!