I have been joking about my goals of practicing mindfulness in the grocery store line for years. Maybe I have remembered to look at a few more people and smile on and off.
I used the chain supermarket as my challenge because it represents to me a place where I zone out going up and down isles of foods, feeling pretty separate from everyone else doing the same. I recently read that supermarkets are designed to trance people out so that they would indeed wonder up and down isles and buy more.
Per usual, I ended up collecting more food than planned, forgot a basket and my bag, and carried loose ends of peaches, apples zucchini, carrots, coconut water and almond milk, barely making it to the counter without dropping something.
At the register, was a man who had a forgetful and difficult time pulling together all the pieces needed to pay his bill. The minutes ticked away, and my unrully pile was telling me it would be crazy to attempt picking it up again. At this point he was calling people to try to get his ATM pass code.
The cashier and I looked at each other and breathed. I heard inside, “Just be mindful and be in loving neutrality.” For whatever reason, he struggled. I then heard the words, and said, “We all need to be patient for each other sometimes.” The tension eased.
It was my turn to bag up and pay. I stuffed an amazing number of veggies into my small green purse, and joked with the cashier. She looked at me, verbally reminding me that as women we can do all kinds of creative things with our purses. Any remaining separation dissolved.
We were joined as human beings and women with patience. My heart opened, grateful for this reference point, this everyday grocery store piece of mindfulness and Grace. I am reminded of what is really important.
After years of good grocery store intentions, what was different? I wasn’t rushing. I didn’t try my super woman routine, grabbing falling vegetables to go to another counter. I breathed, and listened inside.
These are all small things that can be taught and modeled to kids. And, it starts with breath.
Check out the Fundamentals Class at mindfulschools.org. It’s for everyone, not just teachers or parents. Mindfulness in our kids starts with us.