It has been a really weird week, and if you know anything about how bizarre my life is normally – then you know this is a big statement.
Was it the full moon? Because I noticed I wasn’t the only one remarking on the overall weirdness factor .
Monday it began with the man who came in dawning a Tilley hat, Hawaiian shirt and massive smile. He was a rare person who seemed know exactly what he had come to the store for. Most people walk in and turn a circle at everything there is to see. But this man made a “B” line to the spiritual Tibetan stuff.
The shop was full of people and my attention went to others until a while later he appeared at my counter with three Tibetan amulets. I could see from what he had chosen that he must be familiar with Tibettan spirituality, so I said:
“Oh, you know what these are, I can see.”
“Oh yes yes!” he had the happiest face I had ever seen. He looked at me as if we both shared some sort of wonderful secret, then said, leaning over towards me sort of conspiratorially:
“You do realize this is ALL pretend, don’t you?” Big smile. “We are all in a dream and I have been your mother, and you ahve been my child or we ahve been friends or something – we have all been together before! and this isn’t the end…there is no end. there never was!”
He was declaring this to me as though he had just won the lottery and needed to share his good news with someone.
“Yup. And it’s allot more fun now that we do, isn’t it? ” I said to him smiling, feeling like I really did know him.
Maybe somewhere else this conversation would have sounded a little wacky, but in the little shop – it was pretty much a daily thing. People often like to talk about the bigger things, in life; I guess they get the feeling we are open to that sort of thing, in all our tye dyed splendour.
We do get some people who come in to buy a dress or clothes or normal things. Sometimes our conversations confuse them, like the woman who had appeared to the man’s right, across the counter from me looking a little befuddled.
“Life is fantastic!” He said finally.
“Yes I agree”, I smiled at him. I wished he would stay.
Suddenly he pulled up his sleeve to show me a big white bandage, where they had done his chemotherapy.
“Eight months, they said,” he smiled. “I’m gonna love it all!”
“Oh, I bet you are”, I said to him.
Then I asked him,
“Is it better to know?”
“Oh yes yes”, he said. “I am having so much fun! I can’t believe all the things I worried about that weren’t worth my time! trust me” he said “everything you’re worried about – is fine. Just fine. Enjoy your life!”.
Standing there with him, his big wide smile and open childlike wonder of everything around him made me feel amazing.
Full of life, indeed.
We spoke a little more and I found myself light and happy for the next few hours. Later in the day another client I remember from the past few weeks, a woman who was recently told she was in remission from cancer – had an entirely different energy from the first man.
Where the first man had been given a sure date of his demise, she had been returned to her previous state of uncertainty – like the rest of us – not know when or how she would die when the cancer she suffered from went into remission.
Now she was having other issues, and she was angry.
But, like so many people, instead of talking about her anger, she acted it out. Even when she talked about things that made her happy, like her obsession for musicians from the 1980’s, she was adamant on being right, on stating her point, on her valuable opinions.
Oh, she had a lot of opinions.
She reminded me of someone I used to know (pointing clearly at myself…)
And she was very smart. And she liked to talk about how important that intelligence was. Allot.
In fact, it seemed her brain was sharp it had completely severed communication to her heart.
She spoke about loneliness.
About how shitty the world was.
How she had a lack of resources for fulfilling basics in her life.
How she felt abandoned and angry.
I listened. I tried not to speak but hell – I’m not perfect.
After her lengthy two-hour visit I was entirely exhausted.
I had kept the store open an extra hour and a half to allow her space to talk. I figured if anger creates cancer and she talks about it will be like a big giant emotional zit and her anger will dissipate and maybe she will not die of cancer – which given her current route she would obviously go back to.
And this is where I need to learn a thing or two (or three ;)) .
I was absolutely exhausted by the time she left – I had allowed her to suck the life out of me.
People are like that- as much as some want to share their happiness because it makes it feel even better. And others want to shed their unhappiness off themselves onto you equally to try and feel better.
Sometimes it all comes out crooked. LIke with the lady, who offered me a soap box diatribe on 80’s music for TWO HOURS.
I hate 80’s music.
I put up with it because I knew that everything she was saying was like a “code” for what she really felt inside, and just didn’t know how to talk about it.
We get all kinds of people and the best part of the job is the stories and experiences we exchange. Some days, actually most days, it is very intense. Let’s just say, people don’t come into a little Indian spiritual shop for milk and bread. They come in, very often, for some very special reasons.
Like Manon the beautiful purple haired lady who spent two days very carefully choosing pristine white clothing because she works with the dying and wants to bring as much light to their experience as possible.
Like Max the incredible martial arts genius who reinvented a form of martial arts in the 70’s which, instead of aggressing, allows movement and dissipates violence.
Like Joseph the modern philosopher who coaches world-wide on mindful presence and Buddhist concept.
Not every day is like a good Dan Brown novel, but mostly it is. Filled with drama, relationships, philosophy, politics, intrigue, symbolism and magic.
The store reminds me that we never know where we are going to end up, and that saying “yes” to what makes your heart feel good, is always amazing. It reminds me how the view of our lives can change so much as we grow up.
I remember when I was a kid wanting to be a lawyer.
I was actually heading towards law school, in university and working for a law firm by the time I was 17.
I was going to defend the world with my opinions.
I was also going to own a condo and cats.
Fly to sunny vacation spots three times a year with my 2.4 kids and handsome cable knit sweater wearing husband.
We would walk places with our golden retriever, like in an Old Spice commercial.
My hair would be fluffy like Farrah Fawcet’s – like in a shampoo commercial.
Our children were perfect.
That was the extent of my life vision when i was younger. That was the bar.
It makes me giggle when i think about it.
My unasked for advice?
Leave your life unpredictable.
Stay open to what pulls your heart.
In french we call it a “Coup de coeur” – when something hits you in the heart
Just say YES.