My morning has been riddled with negativity today. From the front desk attendant at yoga who scowled at me as she took my money (and we’re talking a three-figure transaction here), to the student next to me in class who kept repeating, “I can’t do that…. That pose is too hard… I can’t bend that way… I can’t get down that far… That is too much…. That is to difficult….” etc., etc., etc….. From the seven crying and/or screaming children at the grocery store (yes, I counted), to the three different customers who literally pushed my cart out of the way to get past me [and please bear in mind that 1) I’m not a big person at all, and 2) I always stay to the side of the aisle so people can pass me easily], to the cashier who snapped at me as I tried to pay with a credit card (a la, “Don’t scan that yet! It’s not going to work! I have to scan that here!”)…. From the rabbit who made his way through our fencing to munch on our trying-to-sprout flowers, to the dandelions that appeared today all over our yard…
Heck, even the store itself was negative!
And yet, throughout all of this, I didn’t get cranky in return. I didn’t scowl, didn’t push back, didn’t lash out.
Instead, I looked for compassion.
I found compassion for the desk attendant when I saw the redness around her eyes. Maybe she has allergies, and is just not feeling well? Or maybe she had an upsetting morning, and is doing her best to hold back tears? I wished peace for her.
I found compassion for the fellow student when I remembered that I, too, was once like that, full of self-doubt and fear. I wished strength and courage for her.
I found compassion for the various children when I recognized that it was probably close to their nap times; they were all probably approaching various states of fatigue – and were responding in one of the only ways they currently know how. I wished them all rest.
I found compassion for fellow shoppers when I realized that they were all probably operating under the mindset of our collective Western/American culture, a society that breeds excessive ‘individuality’ and hyper-impatience (among other things). I wished them all relaxation.
I found compassion for the cashier when I became aware that she was the only person at the front of the store, and that the line behind me was quickly growing with irritated customers. I wished her relief and ease.
I found compassion for the rabbits when I thought about the difficult lives they lead. In the wicked cold and the intense heat, in the rain and the snow, in a fierce competition for finite food resources – they are simply trying to stay alive. I wished them a painless existence.
I found compassion for the dandelions when I accepted that they weren’t personally attacking me or my property; they were simply doing what dandelions do. They were taking advantage of fertile soil. I didn’t wish them well (I still want them gone), but I did briefly smile at them.
By the end of this potentially crappy morning, I still felt good. Despite all of the pessimism around me, I was still smiling.
And I like that. 🙂
P.S. As a “reward” for keeping a positive attitude and air about me, in the afternoon things shifted, and suddenly terrific experiences came my way. From an impromptu chat with a neighbor, to an unexpected email of thanks from a colleague, to a laugh-out-loud moment on a podcast I was listening to, the day seemed to turn on itself, and the downward slope began to change direction. And I got to benefit all the more. 🙂