The grocery store in my town is huge, and it’s always really crowded on weekends, which is when I usually have to go.
I am by nature a pretty impatient person, and everything about that store triggers me. I used to go there and just hate every minute of it: From the full parking lot, to the rude people, to the narrow aisles and the long lines, to running into nosy neighbors, you name it. I just hated it.
I realized a few years ago that my thinking was a huge part of what made grocery shopping so miserable for me. Think about it, what a terrible way to do something that I have to do all the time, right? To go there in a crappy mood made it even more crappy! So now when I go, I try to practice being mindful, and just stay in the moment and try not to run away in my head with negative thoughts.
It’s still a challenge, but it is getting better…
Today when I was getting ready to check out, I was surprised to see that one of the lines was much shorter than the others. Naturally I went there. I saw the “Lane Closed” sign that the cashier puts out at the end of their shift. But it wasn’t in the usual spot, it was off to the side. So I went up to the cashier and asked, “Is this lane closed?”
She looked directly at me and said a loud “No!”
Oh ok, cool. I thought maybe the other stoppers saw the sign and just assumed the lane was closing. Glad I asked! 😉
So I started putting my groceries up on the checkout belt. I was practicing being mindful as I recall, trying to keep my focus on just putting the groceries on the belt. First the heavy stuff, then the dairy, then the meats, etc. I did ok getting through the store. I was careful to say ‘Excuse me’ when I had to squeeze by someone in the crowded aisles. One person was kinda rude, but it was cool. Ok, just stay focused…
I had about half of my cart emptied when I heard the checkout lady yell, “THIS LANE IS CLOSED!!”
I looked up and she was glaring at me. She looked like she wanted to kill me.
“I asked you if your lane was closed!”
“YOU CAN’T CHECK OUT HERE. YOU HAVE TO MOVE!!”
Oh my god she was mean!
I put all my stuff back in my cart and went to the next lane over. While I was standing in line, I tried my best to stay focused on the here and now, and not go off in my head about how stupid I felt being yelled at and how that lady was such a jerk.
It’s not about me, it’s not about me. Put your things on the belt one by one..
While I was doing this I thought of how, when my shift is over at work, how I can’t wait to leave. I’m like a homing pigeon- and don’t get in my way! I could actually understand that lady being frustrated with me. Maybe she thought I was just being a bitch. I would have been mad too.
When it was finally my turn at the checkout, I swiped my Price Plus card and went to the end of the counter to bag my groceries, but there was an employee there all ready to bag for me.
Normally I hate having someone bag my groceries, because I have this meticulous system based on weight and stuff and whatnot.
And this bag person was a special needs employee. I’ve had him before. He goes r-e-a-l-l-y, r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w….
Normally this would have irritated me, but today I remembered to breathe and just be kind.
“Thank you for bagging,” I said.
“It’s…. going…. to…. rain… later…” he said
“We’re… going…. to…. have…. showers…. later…today….”
“Oh wow, I didn’t know that. Thanks for letting me know!”
All at once my heart opened up. This boy was doing his job and making small talk with me. What a cutie.
I felt myself relax and just let myself be there, witnessing this special person interacting with me. It was pretty cool actually. He was really sweet. I hoped he was healthy.
As he continued to bag my groceries, we continued to have our little conversation. It was nice…
And then I saw the mean checkout lady walk up to me.
“And I’m sorry,” she said. “I thought you heard me.”
“Oh it’s ok!” I said. And I really meant it!
That was just so cool!
I left that grocery store feeling amazing.
Can I tell you, those pleasant, serendipitous things used to never happen to me! Before I started practicing mindfulness, I would have been so pissed at that lady. I might have carried it around with me all day. I might have even said something sarcastic to her when she yelled at me. And yes, I probably would have felt irritated with the special needs boy who was bagging my groceries too.
But maybe because I slowed myself down and was able to be there and be in the moment to the best of my ability, I guess I didn’t emanate any negative energy.
Anyhow, I’m thankful I am learning not to be a bitch anymore. And I am learning not to hate grocery shopping too. 😉
Mindfulness and Kindness Rock!! 😀
xo, Lisa Arcelia
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