There’s a Lot In-Store

I was out doing errands this afternoon and two of the stores I visited hit me hard.  Jody needed a small piece of foam to provide cushioning between sores on her chin and chest.  Our VON nurse Henry suggested the dollar store.  So I walked into Dollar Tree shortly after noon.  It had been years since I’d been in such a place and I was eager to see what’s what.

The overhead lights were really bright.  Oh well.  Lots of stores are like that. Then I started down an aisle.  I intended to scan all the offerings on either side, looking for foam or sponge or something that would give my dear wife relief.  Instead I stopped halfway down.  I felt assaulted by neon bags everywhere, hanging on hooks to a height of seven feet or so, screaming their brilliant rainbow selves at me.  I expelled some air in a ghastly cloud of revulsion.  And any spiritual energy that was bubbling inside me leaked out too.

Shoulders slumped and soul depleted, I wandered down corridor after corridor, trying to see what was in those bags.  Eventually, eight sponges of the genus red, blue and yellow drew my eye, if nothing else.  “That’ll do,” I muttered.  And $1.25 plus tax later, I escaped.  Exhausted.

“Just a little sensitive are you, big boy?” a voice inside intoned. Well, I guess I am.

Farther along on my travels, I needed to go to OK Tire to have Scarlet’s lugnuts tightened after the switch to winter tires a couple of days ago.  I opened the door onto a lower light situation.  No shouting bags, just some tire posters plus a few stackable chairs beside a serviceable coffee table.  But then there was Brian standing behind the counter.  A huge smile lit his face, and it got even bigger when I shared “I’m here to have my nuts tightened.”

I first came into OK Tire a few months ago, with a nail problem. Brian greeted me like royalty.  Glad to see me, whether the bill ended up being $20.00 or 980.  Brian is just folks.  I had been a Costco Tire Centre customer up until then, and those service reps were fine, but none of them shone like Brian does.  It is so worth it to me to spend maybe 10% more at OK, as long as I get Brian’s chuckles and soul.

Sort of a yin and yang afternoon.  There’s certainly a place for both shops, but only one feels like home.

The Slider Knob

Imagine a knob that can be moved to the left or right.  On the far left is the number 0. Then there are ticks on a scale – 1, 2, 3, … all the way to 10 on the far right.  I remember a similar setup on the dashboard of one of my cars, Jade perhaps (a 1996 Honda Accord).  Maybe it controlled the heat.  I can’t recall.

Jade’s sliding control started me thinking about my life.  I’d had moments of bliss, of a great unwinding, of peace.  They only showed up occasionally.  What dominated my head was the usual: feeling bad about myself, and being afraid of disapproval, aloneness, poverty, ill health, plus a large dose of etcetera.  As for the slider, I saw it set to 9 or even 9 1/2.  That huge length to the left was normal consciousness.  The itty bitty part at the right end hosted breakthroughs into something … different.

Then I got the idea to take hold of the slider and move it to the left.  Was 7 and 3 possible?  Sure, I could open myself to mystery enough to get there.  What about 3 and 7?  Ah … I doubt it.  Who could be that open?  (Well, I could, said the tiny voice holding up a tiny hand halfway to the sky.)  Then there’s 0 and 10.  Ridiculous.  After all, I have to live in the world – make a living, have normal conversations, stay healthy.  Not some little Buddhist guy ahh-ooming all day.  Okay, granted.  I have to place these feet of mine on the ground.  But can’t I also soar to the heavens?

Can I live my life 1 and 9?  Can I animate virtually every moment with Spirit, love, kindness and compassion – towards me as well as to others?  I think so.

And is it really putting my fingers on the knob and intentionally moving things to the left?  Or does that just happen by the grace of God?  Maybe both.  What I do know is that over the years the knob has headed west some, and the distance of better-worse, more-less, and this-and-not-that is less than what’s on the right: a letting go into bigness.

Words Hypnotize

I’m all excited about going to the CP Women’s Open on Friday.  It’s a golf tournament hosting most of the best women players in the world.  In contemplating the event this morning, I thought about the word “open” being used here as a noun.  Here’s what some unknown wise human had to say on the subject:

Virtually all the languages of the West are noun-oriented, which means that we have effectively fixed the experiential world into static solid boxes.

When I utter the words that society expects of me, am I falling into a trap which seems benign but perhaps is not?  I’d say yes.

I love adjectives.  When I’m feeling in touch with Spirit, I often describe myself as an open window, with the breeze wafting through.  Open – available to life, welcoming it, not resisting it.  I also love verbs.  How marvelous to open a present or to see a flower gradually open.  But turning such experiences into nouns, making them “things”?  No.  It doesn’t feel right.

A thing has a boundary, the point where thing becomes not-thing.  My property ceases to be that at the road out front.  Things stay put.  They don’t flow as a verb does.  They don’t enrich, as an adjective does.  And I want my life to flow and be coloured with the rainbow of the moment.  We folks need the movement and the zest.  Our nouns do seem to keep us in separate boxes, keep us analyzing and separating.  I want to wear a coat of many colours, not a business suit.

I wonder if I’m being ridiculous here.  Gosh, Bruce, it’s just a golf tournament!  Talk about navel gazing.  Or maybe not.  Perhaps we should tack an “-ing” on the back end of a whole bunch of nouns and see what we get.  “I feel love” compared to “There’s loving happening”.  Not something that A sends to B but something that’s there, between us, around us, potentially around everyone.  Smiling … Caring … Touching.

Maybe life can be like the ocean – ever changing, calm to rough and back to calm again, vibrantly alive.  Just maybe we can awaken from the stupor imbedded in our language.