I am in learning mode these days. From now until December 23, I am participating in a one and a half hour yoga practice every morning. Weekly, from September to May, I am journeying in a spiritual pilgrimage program at my church. In both, a major goal is to focus on the present rather than dwell on the past or fantasize about the future. This is a herculean challenge for me. But I think I am making some progress.
I dropped into my local No Frills grocery store last Wednesday, figuring there was room for the few items I intended to buy in my reusable cloth bag. As my cart began to fill with impulse purchases, it became clear I would need a cardboard box to get everything home. I live only a couple of blocks from the store and felt confident a sturdy container would solve the transportation issue.
Upon leaving, I struggled to lift the box out of the grocery cart, while keeping my purse strap on my shoulder and trying to clutch the cloth bag with the extra hand I didn’t have. “Do you want some help with that?” a friendly voice asked.
“That would be lovely,” I said, and we hoisted the awkward carton into my arms. To our mutual surprise, we recognised each other from church. I jokingly complimented the guy on practising his Christianity during the week as we parted.
Once outside, it didn’t take long for my muscles to complain loudly about carrying more than 20 pounds in front of me. That morning in yoga, the teacher had reminded us to let go of all the tension in our muscles between poses to rest up for more exertion. The same principle got me and the groceries home. Neatly spaced along the route, I found a retaining wall, a bicycle stand, and a raised flower bed where I could balance the box and relax my aching arms and back at intervals.
As I arrived home, a UPS delivery man who saw my load held the door open for me.
Giving my body a physical challenge focused my mind on the present. And noticing that two people helped at just the right time reminded me that I am blessed. I take hope in these observations. And in the fact I have learned I am no longer Hercules.
I will take my shopping cart the next time I go to No Frills.