So at this very moment I am really irritated and I am trying to find my compassion button. I have been working my compassion button a lot lately, sometimes with greater success than others. Below are some real life examples of me trying to move past my irritation with people and try to view them and their actions through the loving lens that covers my eyes and mind when I press that compassion button.
For miles we saw the big flashing signs telling us the left lane was closing. The right lane is backed up with all the people preparing for the lane closure. We are one of those cars. Well, along comes Joe Cool flying down the left line seemingly oblivious to the impending dead end created for him by construction barrels. What does Joe Cool do…oh we all know…he (or she) non-shalontly whips their high end vehicle into the right lane just inches between two inspecting rule followers. Yes, I admit, the situation, which by the way happens ALL THE TIME, sends me into the spirals of road rage even when I am not one of the impacted rule followers of the right lane. When it happened this past week, I really dug deep to find my compassion button. I think I finally located somewhere near my left ankle but none the less, I pressed it, I pressed it hard. I had not energy to waste begin ticked off and irrupted that some person I don’t know cut in between to other people that I don’t know. So, my loving lens lowered across my eyes and here is what it showed me. Joe Cool was actually Joe loosing his cool….Joe was actually loosing his mind. He didn’t see the signs because his mind was focused on the minimum needed for driving and the maximum of prayers for his granddaughter who was injured at at the hospital. All he was trying to do was get to his granddaughter the fastest way he could. With every person he cut off he said more prayers asking for safe journey to get him there to see her before she went into surgery. He was praying and he was driving on auto pilot. How cool would you be in the same situation? I decided having to wait a few more minutes in traffic was really not big deal because I knew my family was safe at home waiting to have dinner with me.
The Online Shopper
I have posted a simple desk and chair set to an online market place for CHEAP. I really just want to get it gone so I have my sun room back now that there is sun in Michigan. I have already worked through person 1 and 2 and am now on to number 3. Person 3 is interested but says nothing else to advance the conversation to an actual sale. I ask if there is any additional information I can provide to help her make a decision. Hours go by before she asks where the I am located, which, mind you is clear, VERY clear in the original post. I restate this information to which she responds, can I meet her half way (when she is only 10 minutes from me). I respond that no I am not available to meet however if she is interested in pick up I can send her the address. She accepts the offer and agrees to pick up the following day before 4pm. Wonderful, I make arrangements to work from home so I can be here for the exchange. I sent a quick note at lunch to ask for an ETA as I have meetings all afternoon and want to ensure I can step away to meet her at the door. An hour later I get a message that she totally forgot. Mind you, it has not even been 24 hours since we made this agreement. She can’t come today. Can she come tomorrow night. No, that won’t work, I have plans. I offer the following afternoon. The following afternoon doesn’t work for her, she requests morning. I ask for a time range so I can ensure I will be awake and home. Crickets…..even through she just messaged me, I hear crickets. The following morning comes and goes and still do not hear back. I am irrupted that I have wasted time with this person who has no respect for my time and I feel my frustration grow. I step back, reach for my compassion button, finding it near my right ass cheek. My loving lens goes into place and this is what I see. She is a single mom who is struggling to provide for her son, often having to work multiple jobs. She has been dating a really nice man for over a year. It just so happens that nice man has asked for her hand in marriage. Her world is now all aglow with love, excitement and anticipation for her future, the future of her son and the new life she is going to enter into. That really cheap desk and chair set is really not that important compared to the wonder that she is filled with at this time.
The Costco Sampler
I realize that going to Costco on any weekend is like risking my own life and sanity but sometimes for the sake of the family it has to be done. To prepare for the crazy, I always have a list, generally a very short and specific list of things that can ONLY be purchased at Costco. Browsing Costco is for date night on a Wednesday 30 minutes before they close…NOT a weekend during prime time. So there I am, I have my 5 items, 3 of which I am buying for my mom who lives no where near a Costco. I am angling for the checkout, cruising down the main isle between food and clothing when I spot them….the samplers. Not the cheery Costco workers handing out little cups of boom chick pop or cranberry apple pear juice but all the people taking the samples. The stop at one, step back, pretend to be interested in the brand, chat a moment, linger to snack and slowly turn and be line to the next sample stand. What this means for me is…no direct route to check out. Chances are very high that I will be stuck behind Wanda and/or her husband Fred multiple times as they make their way from fresh mozzarella to frozen fish sticks to brownie brittle to latest juice cleanse health drink. They will not step to the side, they will not move forward. They will stand and sample, zig zag and chat. Chances are high they might even see some folks from the old neighborhood that need to know all about the organic tomato basil soup sample 4 rows back. I am ready to run over Wanda with my cart and throw my mothers crackers at Fred just to get out of the chaos, but this time, before I start increasing my speed towards the back of her too tall wedge sandals, I do it….I push my compassion button. I am getting better, this time I found it near my forehead. Up came my loving lens and I realized that Wanda and Fred are a retired couple whose kids live out of state. Their circle of friends is getting ever smaller with the passing of years and their fixed income budget is shrinking like their height. Wanda and Fred are on a social call/date. They are enjoying some great appetizers at no cost, exchanging conversation with each other as well as all the great people they are meeting along the trail of samples. This is their social time. I have to admit, now I am kinda jealous. This is looking way better than my social time lately!
The bottom line here soulsters is that we are ALL put into these moments that brew our irritation and we ALL have a choice to either get really tweaked out or really compassionate. I have no idea what the real story was with Joe Cool, Person 3 or Wanda and Fred (who probably have much cooler names) but in my mind, they all deserve grace, even if just from me. I’ll keep working on it because my kids and husband may need me to purchase some loving lens glasses to wear all the time. This Soul Circus business is tough!
Spread your Sparkle!
FYI – The desk and chair when to Person 4 who picked it up within an hour!