Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grocery Store Wisdom - Heart Smiles

Today while doing the routine grocery shopping I wasn’t *looking* for any wisdom to pop out at me and interestingly 3 delightful experiences emerged that put a smile in my heart, and so wanted to share them with you.

I wound my way through the produce section and then to the fish counter. The “young kid” that I like to wait on me was busy waiting on another woman, so I hung back, circling, waiting. It appeared that she was going to take a while, so I went on to the meat counter. While there, the “young kid” from the fish department found his way to me through a back walkway between the two departments. He poked his head out from behind the wall and asked if I wanted my usual… I had intended to go back to the fish counter after I got my poultry. I lit up like a Christmas tree. The fact that he would remember “my usual” and make an effort to find me was such an exquisite delight. This simple act of genuine friendliness put a smile in my heart and on my face, and shifted my whole perspective. It opened me up, took the focus off my blind-folders-on approach to grocery shopping and made me aware of the “others” that I was encountering.

Then at my next grocery venue, I was getting some Taco Bowls from the bakery department for our Friday Summer dinner – a big Taco Salad. The girl behind the counter was new. She was most mindful in trying not to break the delicate taco shells as she stacked them in a sturdy plastic container for the ride home. I always buy a couple extra, just in case. The other woman there was just getting off duty – at 12noon. For some unknown reason she struck up a conversation with me as she rounded the bakery counter, coffee mug in hand, coat draped over her arm. She had the most lovely German accent. And I listened amusingly as she explained that she was just getting off work, because she comes in at 3am to bake all the baked goods for the next day. And that on Saturday she comes in at 2am because there is more to bake because of the Sunday crowds. We engaged for only a brief moment, and she was off. And hear came that smile in my heart again that just delighted me.

My steps were getting lighter, my outlook brighter – needing sunglasses now instead of those blinders.

Finishing up I went to the check out stand. There was only one cashier open and there was a line… While waiting, a woman appeared and stepped in between me and the woman waiting in front of me… Hey – no cutting in line lady… (No I didn’t actually say it, but I was thinking it – my little kid “dibs first” nature takes over in these situations sometimes). She then “realized” I was standing there and made a face and started to go to the back of the line, which was me, when the woman in front of me said to her, with a full faced smile, wearing a big straw hat: Since you only have one item would you like to go in front of me? Oh gosh, I was feeling just a tad embarrassed at my thought that she needed to wait just like the rest of us… Then the woman in line in front of me turned to me and said: You don’t mind do you? (Maybe she had been reading my mind!) And so of course I said, no not at all with a smile – and by this time meant it.

The other woman, who cut in, beamed from ear to ear. She was obviously in a hurry. She thanked the first woman profusely, and then thanked me as well. We were all bowing and thanking. The kind woman in front of me turned to me and exuberantly went on about how there’s only one way out of life – we’re all going to die eventually – so why not be kind. Interestingly my heart opened just a little more with a smile at this woman’s obviously genuine offer of kindness. Although, her exuberance about explaining it was a little over the top, it still put an amused smile on my face. And as she left, she turned to me and said – thank you for your kindness. Okay, now this nearly did me in folks. It was totally unexpected, and a bit undeserved. And I responded, well actually you started it, I was just passing it on. With that she was off… In her kindness and, yes, even in her over-exuberance she managed to light up two hearts today. That’s more than I can say for myself most days.

I wasn’t *trying* to be present, or focusing on being particularly *aware* today, and 3 “strangers” unexpectedly emerged and made a difference in my life today. Three strangers lifted my heart and made me smile… Wow – “The Mystery” in disguise, touching hearts in the everydayness of life…

So what lights up your heart? What puts a smile in your heart? What hearts are you lighting up?

Heart Smiles – MeANderi


  1. Great stories of connection! I have always found it instructive when I'm with my friend the Zen monk, how she asks people's names and engages in a chat. It is so clear here that you are connecting at a human level in situations where we often don't bother (because we are in a hurry or lost in our own little world) I especially love the last story. That was a wonderful teaching from the other shopper and you were open enough to "hear it". So often we feel miffed when someone cuts in in traffic or such, but in the grand scheme of things what does it really matter! Yay for grocery store wisdom!

  2. Yes, and I especially love how it all just seems to come to me - the teachings, the people, the cricumstances - when they need to be seen... So now the grocery store has become a place where I listen a little harder :)

    Thanks for you comment!