Putting the Mind in Neutral
I am not an advocate of bulk buying. I know there are times that purchasing items in 10 lb. increments is necessary; but on average, I have a hard time getting enthusiastic about going to these types of stores. Here’s why: I find that these warehouse-filled places of massive, super-sized quantities, bargains, and discounts feed our national obsession with excess. We, as a nation, buy more than we need, more than we have room for, and more than is humanly possible to consume. So, we as a nation seem to waste more as well. But that is beside the point. I am not going to ramble on about my opinions of the Sam’s Club’s, Costco’s, and Walmart’s of the world; in fact, I actually discovered some unexpected health today…at a location near you.
Parking lots. Yep, there is health to be found in parking lots. As I reluctantly drove into the Costco parking lot today, I turned off my car, rolled down my window enough to give the dog some fresh air, and made the long trek to the store’s entrance. Health tidbit #1 (not unexpected): these massive stores always have huge parking lots, giving us much-needed exercise while strolling from car to cashier. Health tidbit #2 (unexpected): parking lots are full of healthFUL elements. Today I felt healthy at all sorts of cement slabs. While I was strolling toward Costco, I had ample time for my ears to tune OUT the cars passing by and tune IN to the hundreds of birds that seem to perch themselves in Costco’s parking lot trees. It actually never fails; every time I have ever been to that Costco (the Concord, C.A., one in case anyone is interested), I hear these little black birds chirp chirp chirping in the trees. And no matter what time of year, time of day, or temperature, these little feathered friends are singing away. They sing as though it is springtime, even though we are in the middle of winter. As soon as my mind quiets enough to pay attention to my surroundings (which again, I have Costco’s huge parking lot to thank), I am reminded that nature is everywhere…even in the cement jungles we live in. And nature breathes health into us. Nature provides us with oxygen to live and thrive. Living organisms blossom in their surroundings…even asphalt, white-lined placeholders of vehicles.
The other unexpected health tidbit I found while wandering through a parking lot was how genuine love should not be hidden, no matter who or what the receiver is. I captured a moment with an older man who was putting his enormous, orange and white, Garfield-resembling cat that was almost too big for his kitty carrier into his car. I watched, and of course smiled, at how he picked up the crate and placed it directly in front of his face, so his little buddy could see him. I heard him speaking gently to soothe his scared feline friend. This man obviously saw me: I was standing 4 feet away from him. But he didn’t care that I was there. It didn’t seem to bother him that I might have overheard a full-blown conversation he was having with a four-legged animal in a crate. Love should be this way. Expressing love should not be reserved for the comforts of our own home. It should not be outwardly expressed only to our animals and to children, although both are in dire need of TLC. But why is it that when we grow up, it becomes easier (and less humiliating?) to smooch our pets on the corner of an intersection than our loved ones in the street? How did we get so fearful of giving and receiving love? Showing love–of all kinds and to all beings–creates health. I challenge us to show love with reckless abandonment of all pride, of all fear, and of all past hurt. And the next time you drive into a parking lot, park a little further away; not just for the exercise…for the insight as well. -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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