A Dance of Kindness
This Friday I went to secure supplies for my Annual Costume Party in a tiny, crowded market on the East Side of Providence. About 45 seconds after I swooshed into the small store, it was clear I would need to utilize all my maneuvering skills to keep my shopping visit from turning into an ultra-serious game of bumper carts. The place was packed! A mini pulse of tension energized my limbs. It was immediately piggybacked by a question/concern–how was I going to get the things I needed with grace, when there was barely any room to skillfully navigate the aisles? You see, my mother had taught me to be kind and gracious so under these circumstances, my positive sense of self was challenged.
To calm my nerves, I found a tiny space to park my cart, take a deep breath, and summon forth my yoga skills. I can do this, I thought. It’s just like dancing, except now strangers and grocery carts are my partners. A smile slowly found its way to my lips. I let my shoulders drop as I tried to find some ripe avocadoes to make into guacamole.
The produce section was a veritable tango of near misses, apologies, smiles, and thoughtful cart “parking”. After several more of these flowing interactions, I realized I was having fun–what a nice surprise. My multitude of dance partners and myself were doing just fine in our truncated space.
As I guided my cart through the store, each experience became more and more pleasant, like a rising crescendo. Tangentially to my contentment, I began to wonder if large supermarkets take away our training ground for good manners. Let me explain. In the small quarters of the tiny market, shopping can only be done effectively if everyone is aware and considerate of the others around them. It was a delight to witness how well humans can work together when we are aware of those that share our space and when we choose to be kind and gracious to one another (of course, sometimes we do not). Perhaps, with so many roomy mega-stores to shop in we have less opportunity to practice and hone these essential skills.
Dismissing my ponderings, my heart skyrocketed as I checked off items from my list. I also garnered other things that I hadn’t thought to jot down on my piece of scrap paper. These included: a lovely smile and giggle from a pretty elderly woman, helpful advice from the resident butchers regarding the preparation of kebobs as they offered me a profusion of complimentary skewers. Additionally, I received skillful assistance from a grinning florist, and much needed help selecting desserts for my guests–they all like different things!
My shopping experience reinforced my belief that we can easily live our lives on this planet being simultaneously thoughtful and considerate of those who live here with us. I learned that we can all come away with what we want. Our kindness to others isn’t a sacrifice. It is a blessing that makes the journey for all successful and fun! Each one of us has the ability to weave through our daily tasks in harmony with those around us and to experience joy at the same time. Life can truly be a delightful dance!