In a kind of half daze, Roselyn, fixated on the interaction between a somewhat crazed woman and a humble cashier, from her place in the checkout line. Here she was in her pristine suburban natural food store with a chrome buggy overflowing with over-priced organic items, watching this individual in front of her berate this cashier about a simple price discrepancy.
How has the world come to this? Roselyn thought. Here she was observing one human being reprimand another for the sake of a 95 cent price difference. Yet, here this crazed woman was spending a crapload of money at this 'elite' retailer. This woman appeared more like the top of a tightly-held together lid that had just snapped off. It was almost like this woman couldn’t take even one more thing in her already full-to-the brim life.
Yet, as Roselyn gripped the handles of her grocery cart, she stared with equal amazement - the presence and calm demeanor of the cashier involved in this fascinating Sunday morning exchange. Roselyn smiled in delight at the fifty something cashier, swaying in her yellow and green apron, calmly listening to the crazed women rant like a petulant child. The cashier had an almost compassionate gaze about her which Roselyn found stunning to observe. It was as if she was able to hold space for this crazed woman’s rage, allowing the top of her lid to pop off like a 'PEZ Dispenser' and at the same time there seemed a space of understanding in her deep brown eyes. The cashier simply offered a compassionate smile.
“This must be terrible for you,” she uttered calmly to the woman. “Let me call over a store manager and we’ll take care of you right away”.
Roselyn, could almost sense both playfulness and understanding in the cashier's tone as she addressed the woman sporting lululemons and a Canada Goose jacket - blowing her lid for a silly 95 cent price discrepancy on a can of kidney beans. Wow. I have to get some of what this 'Zen cashier' is on, she thought to herself.
Roselyn stared in fascination as the event unfolded in front of her and noticed how eager she was to be next in line and to be in the presence of this 'grocery goddess'. She also found it so freeing, in that moment, that all she wanted was to be in the presence of this calm energy. It really did feel so good, that all she desired was to step in front of this small-framed cashier and marvel at her calm way of being. There was no other end goal in mind but to simply connect with her.
As the store manager calmly led the crazed woman away, Roselyn stepped forth. Even after that exchange, the cashier looked her in the eyes and greeted her warmly. For some reason, in that moment Roselyn felt as if she was the most important being in this woman’s life. She noted the name “Liv” on her name tag and thought that sounded so suitable for her. As she began to slowly unload her organic items, Liv calmly scanned them through and it was almost as if both of them were involved in a kind of meditative tango - unload . . . scan . . . repeat.
“I’m so sorry you had to go through that,” Roselyn whispered to Liv.
“How do you remain so calm? I couldn’t do it. I’d have totally flipped my lid and given her a piece of my mind.”
Liv simply smiled and looked at Roselyn serenely. “Believe me, that was my life, not so long ago. I was always giving my life energy away. It didn’t take much for me to get upset and take things personally. I discovered that this was because I wasn’t living my own life to the fullest.”
So here Roselyn found herself with Liv, the lovely little cashier, telling her about living life to the fullest. Roselyn nearly gasped with utter amazement. For it seemed to Roselyn that no one, in this 'insta-success filtered life' would look at Liv and think that she was living her best and fullest life. It was preposterous but at the same time Roselyn whispered to herself, Why did I think this outrageous? Was it our “get rich” culture that kept blasting images of perfect looking people in jeeps, parked outside large manicured suburban homes that represented societies ideas of fulfillment?
“OK, Liv you have my attention,” Roselyn muttered. “What are you drinking and where do I get some?”
Liv chuckled and after scanning the last item and carefully bagging it, she reached down under the counter and pulled out a book. She handed it to Roselyn with a kind smile.
“This book among a few other things in my life, has made a huge difference. It’s my story and everyone else’s story. All of us are lost in some way, looking down and missing the signs. It gave me hope that no matter what, I could change. Like Lilly, the heroine in this story, I too felt lifeless for so long. My non-stop life was way too complicated and I had no clue how to get off the wheel. Reading this book and meditating has renewed my sense of hope. That is why I am sharing it with you. Hold onto it, if you wish, till the next time you come in and tell me what you think. I also have more copies at home, as I love to gift this book, so feel free to keep it. I just love sharing it with others.” Liv smiled graciously appearing in that light like a little Mother Teresa at a local natural food store.
Roselyn was stunned. She graciously received the book and stared at the title for a few seconds: “The Life I Didn't Notice”. Well, doesn't that just about capture my life, Roselyn thought to herself.
Roselyn glanced over her shoulder, noticing that the checkout line had started building and as she began to walk away with the book in hand, Liv uttered a few more words of wisdom to her. “Don’t forget to REACH UP, sweetie,” and she gave Roselyn the most wonderful heartfelt smile she had ever received from a stranger, who in that moment felt like the best friend she ever had.
As Roselyn walked to her car, she had the feeling that what she had just experienced was not random and though she had that feeling before, she never really paid attention in those other moments. She typically sloughed it off. But her life right now felt like a highspeed train and it was like someone had placed this adorable cashier in front of her for a reason. Roselyn glanced over her shoulder and then down to the book cradled in her hand.
Reach up, she whispered to herself.
As Roselyn plopped into the front seat of her car she just sat there for a few minutes and then opened the first page of the book. The opening words took her breath away…
You’re almost there.
I’m trapped. The cold metal closes in on me. The voice above fades into a whisper.
A whisper that pleads for me to look up. Reach up - up toward the light.
The light grows dim with the moment. I can’t see.
I can’t breathe. How long have I been here?
When all seems lost, I hear the whisper followed by two strong hands pushing up from below.
Reach up, Lil.
Sitting in her car, Roselyn knew then and there that the most important thing in her life was not a car full of groceries, her perfectly-styled home or the need to capture the moment on an Instagram post, but to get her sweet ass to a local coffee shop and read:
“The Life I Didn't Notice.”