Guess what people are NOT hoarding? A natural immune booster: flowers! If flowers make you as happy as they make me, you’ll be delighted to know that the buckets were fully stocked at all three of my grocery stops tonight — Trader Joe’s, Sprouts and Ralphs.
So, if you brave the crowds and can shield your eyes from the glare of shiny empty shelves, don’t forget to pick some up!
If you are mostly vegan like I am, you too will be happy to hear that many of our delights — at least in the Pasadena area, where I live — are not up the hoarders’ culinary alleys.
In fact, I completely lucked out tonight. There wasn’t anything I was looking for — except Lysol spray, which I was actually seeking for a non-COVID reason — that was missing. Although I have to say as I looked at empty shelves I started having fantasies about missing foods that I rarely eat. Ridiculous momentary cravings that just made me laugh at myself.
Which leads me to my big “aha” moment which I got to learn only because of our current hoarding-inducing state of affairs.
The minute I pulled into the first store of the night, Sprouts, I knew I was in for an adventure. People were vying for parking spaces, cutting each other off. It was the same kind of mayhem inside the store, people reaching over and in front of others as if their lives depended on it. You could hear the disquieting symphony of their collective teeth grinding.
I was walking down the aisle next to the wall of frozen foods when I heard a tense exchange just behind me. I turned to see what was happening just as a young clerk who was nearly inside a freezer with the door close at his back said to an older gentleman behind him: “I’m right here. I don’t know where you want me to go.”
The older man replied softly with a tiny bit of attitude, but mostly understanding that the kid was just trying to do his job. As soon as he passed, though, the kid shouted out a nasty comment that ended with “angry old man.”
The man turned around to face him, obviously triggered. They walked toward each other, eyes locked. I was miraculously between them so I quickly put up my arms, one toward each of them, and spontaneously uttered “Hey let’s move towards love, you guys. Everyone’s on edge and we all need to move toward love. Let’s just move toward love…” Yes, I was that repetitive because I was trying to get them to unlock eyes.
The older man unlocked first and looked into my eyes and I saw the most magical flicker of a twinkle. His eyes then went back to the clerk, so I interrupted their show down by repeating it again.
Then, he locked eyes with me and I said “You’ve got this, see?” And then I said – and as I said it I was shocked to know that I really meant it – “I love you!”
The flicker became a giant twinkle in his eye and then a half smile. Complete diffusion of anger. He gently turned, as the smile grew, and walked away, as if he were literally an angel who had come solely for me to get the lesson that I can fully love every single person in every situation — if I choose to.
I should have thanked him. The lessons kept rolling in. I saw that I could finish shopping in this over-crowded store and have energy to go to two more over-crowded stores with the primary intention of spreading love.
At the next store, I had a long conversation with a fellow vegan who inspired me to try to make vegan corned beef. I told her she should run to Sprouts where our kind were celebrated with fully stocked shelves. We had so much fun sharing tips with each other!
The check-out guy at Trader Joe’s was clearly exhausted and cranky, as I would have been, for sure. I got him laughing — no small feat but it earned me a “Have a great night!”
This is not my norm though. I am a Superhero of Love in training and I’m guessing I will have these training wheels on until I die.
Usually when I grocery shop I am listening to books or podcasts. I am not particularly friendly to anyone, except sometimes when I checkout, but not always even then. I am often conscious that I am largely scowling when I shop because I am concentrating on listening.
I am pretty much the opposite of being in the business of spreading love when grocery shopping. And, when I have become aware of this shortcoming in the past, I have most often made excuses for not being the most loving version of myself.
No more. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I need to add way more love than I have ever added to the recipe of my life.
We can’t afford to be negative. We can’t afford to hoard our love when people need it more than ever.
I welcome you to join me in looking at how we miss opportunities to love, how we hoard our love like toilet paper.
Also, I welcome you to buy some flowers.
Flowers love to love.
They are a great reminder to follow our true nature which is, I fully believe, to be love. Sometimes we just have to clear away some of the debris that thwarts us from shining our true selves.