Sunday, 13 May 2012

Going Spiritual Shopping

Spiritual materialism irks me.  Partially, because I'm not really sure if I know precisely what it is.  I know I don't want to be it, but I find when I can't fully define things, I have a hard time recognizing when I'm doing them.  Am I clinging to some practise that doesn't serve me?  Some image or idea of spirituality that is somehow false?  Am I making a God out of a demigod, a symbol out of a human?

My worries compounded when I put the word "spiritual" together with the word "narcissism" and wondered if that was something I was experiencing in and around me.  I looked it up and people seem to use it in a way that means a kind of spiritual one-upmanship.  I mean it more in the way of putting your spiritual journey ahead of your spirit - ahead of people - community - general wellbeing.  Or a kind of dogged pursuit of some elusive enlightenment principle.

Yesterday,  I went to the food coop.  I find the Co-op to be a good place to get food with a strong life force in it.  It's a great environment for the people who work there and its a positive business for the community.

However, the parking lot is a challenge.

So there I am, patiently waiting for the next spot, watching the car pull out, with my blinker on.  There's a parking attendant (cause the lot is really that bad), I've had to wait for several other cars to go through this process just to even get out of the street.  As I'm waiting for the outgoing car to pass me, an old Jeep Cherokee slides into the parking lot from the other side and without even breathing pulls into my spot.  The parking attendant looks flummoxed, starts waving her arms, realizes she is powerless.  The driver  is gone and inside the store and as I look around,  I realize that was the last spot for a long while.

This is the moment - right here - what am I going to do?

I have been known to give up a shopping expedition altogether under such circumstances.  (But today I really want those red lentils from the bulk bin.)

I have been known to get very very angry.  (But I"m hoping that I won't start road raging today.)

I have been known to go elsewhere  out of a sense of giving up, wasting lots of time.

I have been known to park on the street, cause it's a lot easier.

Today, I pulled through the parking lot, and was kinda mad and was about to wonder about going to Whole Foods when I just went around the block, and decided to start the entire process again.  The lot was even more backed up now.  I parked at a meter really close to the lot and decided not to care about putting change in next to a free parking lot.  This seemed like a good choice.

By this time, I really had to use their bathroom.  Of course, as I went through the store, I was going against the grain of shoppers who seemed to be sightseeing.  I was beat out for the bathroom by a woman who edged in just before me.  More patience.  I decided not to give up.

As I tried to get a cart, a guy had a toolbox in a shopping cart, and that cart was blocking all the other carts.  I felt...peeved.  "Excuse me, sir?  Might this be yours?"  In my best inoffensive girl voice.

He moved it.  I took a cart.  I turned around.  Immediately the cart was too big to navigate in the store.  I turned around, almost hitting someone.  Tried to get the smaller cart, and it was blocked by the same guy and his tools.  I decided, despite toting computer bag and purse, that I would get a hand basket.  I didn't leave.

I seemed to be on crossing paths with the same two people about five times, which made me continually feel like I was going the wrong direction.  I just wanted to make red lentil soup.  Does it have to be this hard?

Sometimes I just feel like I'm on some other frequency altogether from other people.  Shopping often brings this out in me.  Did everyone else get a memo about which checkout to stand in?  Why am I the only one who doesn't seem to know that we go up the cheese aisle and down the frozen?

But you know - that's just too easy.  (And I don't like it when things are easy.)

Truth is - we are so incredibly lucky to have supermarkets to get anything we want anytime all stacked on shelves and waiting looking pretty.  We are lucky when we have cars to drive there.  We are even lucky when we feel like we're in a rush - it means we have things to do that feel important and rewarding.

I tried to take this trip as an opportunity (at the Co-oportunity) not to lose focus, control, or sight of my goals.  Cause it's just too easy.  It's easy to feel connected when you're doing your art, or performing, or in yoga class, or doing mantras.  But all that is just practise for real life situations where you are, quite frankly, supposed to be keeping it together, accomplishing something and not hurting people along the way.

Save the drama for in front of the camera.

I felt like I did alright today.  When I got to the checkout, before she finished, the lady pulled out a piece of paper  and scanned it.  I asked what is it was for - she said, "the tea - there's a coupon for it this month - you can go get more they're in the aisle."  Her mindfulness and generosity saved me $1.50.  Much more than I put in the meter.

I still don't have a really great definition of spiritual narcissism.  But I think it's alright to just tackle the whole narcissism thing first.

Currently Reading:  Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believers Guide to the Uses of Religion

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