This is my contribution to the unique global movement called 1000 Voices for Compassion. Today, the 20th February 2015, over 1000 bloggers worldwide are publishing posts about compassion. It is an effort to spread goodness and compassion in a world torn by strife and violence. Spread the love using the hashtag #1000Speak. Join the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion group on Facebook.
Yesterday I started to talk about my incredibly boring peaceful first of January work day. And then I got off on a tangent or two and completely skipped over all the kind and loving things I spent my five hours doing, in the spirit of being a joy to the world rather than a pain in its ass.
Anyone who works in a retail setting will tell you (even if you don’t care or especially if you don’t want to know) that it is not an easy place in which to remain upbeat and positive and helpful all day long. People are demanding. They would like their every shopping dream to come true. Some of them do not deal well with disappointment. Our optical business is not normally open on a stat holiday, and the Christmas season is our slowest time of year. Nobody thinks of putting a brand new pair of glasses in a kids stocking. Unless they really don’t like their kid. So I was anticipating a few quiet hours alone, and for the most part, that’s exactly what I got.
However. Always, there will be the almighty ‘however’. It’s some kind of cosmic rule. Lights on in an optical shop on a stat holiday when you don’t expect it draws the weirdos out of a crowd. And I mean “weirdos” in the nicest possible way of course. Lovely people who felt sorry for me sitting there all alone doing nothing and were kind enough to think up some bizarre problem with their glasses so that I would have something to fix. A wobbly temple, a loose screw, the wrong tilt, a pinched nose. My left ear hurts. These things keep sliding off my face. I didn’t have time to clean my glasses this morning, would you mind doing that? And one thing after another, I didn’t mind. I booked some appointments. Sold some contact lenses. Did some filing. I told a little guy to grow his nose bigger so his glasses would fit better. We had a good laugh about that.
And then in walked the gruff and scowling disgruntled dad with more than a chip on his shoulder – more like the whole damned wood pile. Children cowering in his wake. If I could see auras, I imagine his would be gray. I listened to his story although I’ve heard many versions of it before and the ending is always the same. Something has gone wrong, it is causing me considerable distress, you had better be able to fix it because I’m ready to become a confrontational bad ass if you can’t or won’t.
I have a mantra that I started saying in my head awhile ago without any real conscious effort on my part. It just popped in there one day and it’s been hanging around ever since. “We are all Gods children….all Gods children….all Gods children…” Repeat as required. It helps me to keep my mouth shut. It helps me to remember that this person is not really upset with me or blaming me personally for all his woes. Because he surely has more of them than this one small problem with his childs eyewear. It helps me to keep this one small thing from being the straw that breaks his camels back.
The problem was resolved and his child was visibly relieved. He seemed a little surprised that it all went so well. He trudged off with his little entourage to be pissed off at something completely different.
The point I’m trying to make (ha! you thought I didn’t have one didn’t you!) is that there is negative energy in the air and it has the power to make us sick if we let it. If we add to it, it will grow and get out of control and consume us. Normally I hate January, but this year I’ve decided I’m not going to hate it. It’s such a waste of time. January doesn’t care and just keeps on being January in spite of my intense dislike for it, and there’s nothing I can do about that. I can’t love it, it’s just not in me to love this God forsaken month. But I can certainly work myself up to being indifferent about it. I don’t think you have any idea what a lofty goal that is for me! Almost like a resolution! But let’s not get carried away here.
So, whatever, January. I’m done letting you suck me in to being a despondent idiot waiting for you to go away. On your very first day I proved to myself that being positive and peaceful for an entire five hours is not beyond my capabilities. Life is just too short to hate all of your Januarys I always say. Yeah, it is the first time I’ve ever said that, but now I can see myself saying it a lot more. There. How easy was that? Another negative thing about me bites the dust. I will probably make it all the way to some kind of sainthood by the end of the year.
I have a big mouth and a terrible habit of talking about people when they’re not around, being sarcastic and rude, and pointing out all the things I find infinitely irritating and stupid.
It’s a nasty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.
I really and truly try to stop myself from being negative and judgemental. Especially when in the grand scheme of things it makes no difference what I think. Often the person I’m blathering away to couldn’t care less. So why do I do it? It doesn’t make anything better. It often makes a bad situation worse.
Before I start talking I try to imagine if I would ever say such a thing if the person in question could hear me. If the answer is NO, then I know it’s time to shut up.
Taotalk is a forum for the discussion of both the academic and pragmatic aspects of dao and Daoism, with participants expressing themselves on Daoist writings and pragmatics from their unique perspectives. It serves as a community for Daoists, and those interested in Daoism, to gather and talk dao.
To participate in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, create a Pingback to your post, or copy and paste the link to your post into the comments. And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other posts too!