She was me. What? Yes, I've held this piece for a month hesitant about 'going public' because the day prior I had completed the story of lessons learned through Farm-aceuticals, growing and eating my own vegetables. Within 24 hours, I stood in the kitchen betraying my garden, my body and compromising my integrity. Before you jump to judgment, let me explain.
After downloading a boatload of photos for the aforementioned epic blog piece, I decided to get a few photos actually developed at a nearby drugstore. I'm one of those people that still enjoys the feel of a photo as well as a book or newspaper held in my hands.
After realizing I couldn't get the size photo I desired at this particular store, I walked down an aisle not seeking anything in particular but just to experience wandering. I had been focused all day and needed to get out. I don't recall ever in my life just walking down an aisle of a store to be wandering. I think this might be what people who shop actually do. Usually my idea of shopping is entering a store only if I've a predetermined item in mind.
Here I was engaging in one of America's favorite pastimes. One aisle led to another then another. I know you're thinking, 'Uh-oh. She's about to become a shopper.'
I wasn't tempted to buy anything but I was offered assistance by a courteous employee. It was just about this time, that I saw the Burt's Bees products. I wear minimal makeup and sometimes none at all but the one thing I do wear daily is Burt's Bee's lip gloss. The cave woman in me has been known to purchase and store 4-5 tubes at a time so I don't have to buy any for a year. Knowing my supply was low, I thought I'd check the price and possibly replenish my stash. There was raisin, fig and two supposedly great new colors but no, merlot. I stood before a 'new' display or at least that's how the advertising read so I suspected I was in the wrong section of the store and just needed to find the appropriate display since there wasn't even a slot for merlot.I found the nice employee assisting someone else and waited until she was free in hopes she would direct me to the correct area. When she walked me back to the same display, my radar went into alert mode but was calmed as she offered to order what I wanted. While she scanned the computer, I learned she was somewhat distressed by the upcoming Monday milestones as one of her children entered middle school and her youngest entered kindergarten. The longer she took scanning her computer, the harder it became for me to be empathic to her distress.
Sincere listening turned to faux listening as my internal tension built. My distress couldn't be contained when she said merlot was no longer in stock. I seriously put myself in harms way as I said aloud: "This is why I hate being an American.....at times." (I was conscious enough to add 'at times' for safe measure in case confronted by one of those tea party people concerned about my patriotism.)
What was I thinking? I had temporarily forgotten I was in America where everything has to be new, improved and better. I did not want one of two new exciting colors nor did I want raisin or fig, two of the regulars. I had accidentally purchased fig once and it just didn't work. I wanted tried and true merlot. It could not be improved upon. Merlot complemented my skin tone and gray hair. Merlot popped. (I can't believe I'm thinking that phrase, much less writing it, but it's true.)
The young woman was apologetic and wanted me to have a nice day. I quickly pulled myself together as she asked me to pray for her on Monday. I could do that, but in the meantime, I was headed to my nearest big box retailer and to call my own prayer partner of sorts.
I needed an Emotional Sherpa or in this case my friend LJ (See Playing with Pain-Emotional Sherpas for Hire) who although she didn't answer, did have voice mail into which I rambled on mid-meltdown until I arrived at Walmart.
I walked straight to the makeup section where I combed the BB products and discovered here too Merlot was missing. I started that walking thing again, but this time without the energy of a slow wander. I was on a mission. The problem was my mission did not have an item on which I could focus. My mission was to relieve my distress. I made my way through school supplies for old times sake. I had always loved the newness of art supplies, pens, pencils, paper tablets. My distress persisted. I walked through bathrom decor just in case a shower curtain grabbed me. I had been postponing buying a new one. I then prowled my way to the grocery section where I truly needed orange juice. It was what I picked up enroute to orange juice that was so disconcerting. By the time, I found the OJ, I had accumulated cheese dip, chips, hot dogs and canned chilli. My one saving grace is that my bag did not hold the can of vienna sausages I briefly considered.
I needed comfort and regardless of how much I love my little raised bed, squash, green beans, tomatoes and beets just aren't comfort foods at least in my culinary repetoire.....yet.
Upon walking in the door, I immediately scooped three chips in dip. As the chlli warmed, I ate three more. As I turned on my laptop, I ate three more. I was mindfully and intentionally eating the corn and dairy foods I typically avoid not because I've severe reactions but reaction enough to know I feel better without them.
Instead these processed foods, helped me process my predicament while I also scanned the Burt's Bees site looking for contact info. When that couldn't be found, I hesitantly clicked on 'lip products.' I had avoided this part of the site for fear I'd see "No longer available" by my color. Instead there it was for only $5 a cylinder. I quickly ordered three and keyed in the necessary information until I got to my shipping choices. The cheapest path to my door was $7. What?!
I was pissed off and clicked off. I went from meltdown to mad bypassing gratitude for the fact that I could still find what I wanted. More revealing was how mad took me out of the flow and into struggle which led to stuck.
Stuck is where I've resided for nearly a month, stuck, disconnected and intermittently angry. Angry that things are always changing. I know as Buddhists believe to not be attached. I know that change is inevitable, but it seems in our materialistic world things are constantly changing just to keep us thinking we must have what we don't have. All I wanted was my lip gloss.....without such exhorbitant shipping costs.
In the meantime, it took me three weeks to realize I had been walking around with the writing on the wall as to my predicament, not the literal walls of my home, but metaphorically on the walls of my guts. This too was something I hesitated 'going public' regarding.
I determined I was being presented a beautiful gift. As I railed over our materialistic society and wondered what people were thinking as they bought into buying, I avoided looking in the mirror. As a result, my body became my mirror. I unknowingly blocked my creative flow, not to mention the ordering of merlot, thus my body's flow was blocked. It took three weeks to realize I've this beautiful mirror with or without lip gloss, a mirror within that shows me in not so subtle ways what my issues are, what I'm feeling and doing or in this case not doo-ing.
Meltdowns in our must-stay-in-control society (or at least look like we're in control) are highly underrated alongside naps and wandering. The magic lies in going with the flow even when the flow holds queso and chili. Going with the flow allows the meltdown to be what it is...a temporary reaction to something, at least for me, usually disappointing and beyond my control.
So what's the message in my meltdown? There's a magic in meltdowns when we allow them and go with the flow.
Meltdowns can lead to laughter when you've an emotional sherpa. LJ and I ultimately traded messages. I found comfort in the fact that she could relate a bit to my predicament because a local grocer had quit carrying her coffee. We also pondered whether I was the only person wearing merlot in the world or were there other women and maybe even a few men panicked as I had been.
At times meltdown are sorrowfilled, like my recently coming upon a fawn on the roadside in the country. I had heard there was a doe and two fawns in the area but had not seen them until I found one hit by a car. For sometime after burying it, I felt life was just too hard. Now days later although I feel a sense of honor that we were the ones who got to bury it, I'm still aware of a low level sadness when I remember the feel of the tiny animals beautiful dotted coat. Sometimes life still seems too hard and then the emotional sherpa, in this case my friend Merle, agrees, "Yes, life is harsh." My sorrow finds comfort.
A few mornings later, I awoke with a thought like a shooting star crossing my mind's field. I realized merlot represented everything I take for granted, my family, friends, home, pets and plants. I unknowingly move into auto-pilot forgetting everything truly is temporary on this plane.
In getting back into my flow, I finally ordered Merlot. It arrived within days. I opened a tube and put some on just to see if it was the same. I unfolded the paperwork in the box. Merlot had arrived free of shipping charges. I smiled. I smiled with lips that popped.