I have a new relationship with the grocery store. Woodman’s is now a place to intentionally practice; to be aware, mindful, and kind. If you’re unfamiliar with Woodman’s, it’s a huge supermarket with towering, crammed aisles and little open space. Navigating a cart isn’t easy. This situation used to annoy me, but now I enter Woodman’s prepared to slow down.
In my Gmail inbox, I’m given three automated, short responses from which to choose. For example, “Thanks, I’ll check it out!” “Awesome, thanks!” “Got it!” These same automated responses appear in Skype chat, as well as social media. None of the automated messages sound anything like me. They’re brief, generic, and bland.
It’s been a gray, rainy, dark autumn in Appleton. The past few weeks, I allowed external weather to overly impact my internal weather. I’ve felt crabby and frustrated, even angry. I’ve felt constricted inside: my throat tight from wanting to control the uncontrollable, my heart closed to joy and wonder. I saw clearly how this doesn’t feel good.
Humanity has been in my heart and on my mind. I sit with the suffering of humanity: natural disasters, acts of violence, discrimination, injustice, and abuse. I also experience the sea of humanity. We live in communities yet sometimes don’t interact. We can get lost in our busy lives, important tasks, or personal dramas.
A quick glance at the news tells us what’s wrong with the world: political wars, violent acts, and natural disasters. These are not to be ignored. We live in a complicated world and to make a difference we must face hard truths. But if we focus solely on what's wrong, we become scared, frustrated, and hopeless.