Excerpt #1 From My Upcoming Book
I promised an update this week on my upcoming book on Relationships. I’d like to report that I’m humming merrily along, and I’m about three-quarters of the way there! Yeaaa!
Here’s an excerpt for your reading pleasure.
On one of my recent trips to buy groceries, a loud child over near the mayonnaise and salad dressing was expressing himself quite fully! Right about then, a grandma with a slight limp, wearing a frumpy sweater and odd looking pants walked by me in the Italian food section and commented out loud to me as she passed, “Somebody oughta just whoop that child and teach him a thing or two.”
This grandma was a little scary, frankly. I found myself thinking that maybe she was limping ’cause she had whooped a few too many in her day. And she herself had probably been whooped a few times, too.
The moment I thought that, I noticed my inner guidance system kick in. Until then, my inner guidance had been humming quietly in the background. But in that moment, with that thought about the grandmother, I felt a negative emotion.
Because I was paying attention (good for me), I noticed that the negative thought (a judgment) was followed by negative emotion. The thought caused an “Ouch” in my heart. It hurt a little to think what I was thinking. Imagining her past actions and judging them caused scrunchy, ouchy heart pain in me. So my good and faithful guidance system alerted me to the fact that following my train of thought was not going to help me, or her, or any of those whooped children in any way (regardless of whether my ideas about her past actions were factually true).
So I stood still for a while after she walked on (I didn’t respond to her verbally) and I took a moment to deliberately remember love, so I could return to a more loving state within myself. It took some time, but I got there. No use having two people in pain! She reminded me that thinking unloving thoughts is like giving yourself a good whoopin’.
I thanked her silently, and said a little prayer right there in the grocery store, holding the pasta sauce that had not yet made it into my cart. It must have looked a little odd, me holding marinara sauce in quiet prayer. In these ordinary moments, a grandmother in pain becomes an unlikely angel. After all, she gave me one of the clearest reminders possible about how to be gentle with myself – and I listened. How beautiful is that?
It’s ironic that this unhappy, oddly dressed, limping, stern woman reminded me that I have access to wisdom within. Because of this grandmother, I began to think about masters like Jesus and Buddha and Mohamed and the blessed Mother Teresa, right there in the middle of my evening of food shopping, right there in my local grocery store.
I thought about how this grandmother might even want to be Buddha if she knew how — or who knows, maybe she is the Buddha in disguise, like a Saint disguised as a weary traveler at your door, asking for food and shelter. I thought about all that, too. But either way, she was doing the best she knew how with what she had.
I thought about how Mother Teresa is known for visiting the sick or the suffering and simply opening her compassionate heart. So, for a moment, I pretended to be Mother Teresa. Seriously, I did. After all, my given first name is Teresa, and I thought, you know, why not stretch things a little? So I stretched. And it was most helpful to pretend to be wiser than I think of myself as being. It certainly relieved the pain of my judgment in the moment. And while I was at it, the pasta sauce and I bowed to all the unlikely angels in my life who are doing the best they can with what they have.
Grazie, sei molto gentile. (Thanks, you are very kind.)