Last year I took on a seasonal retail position. The management at this store is amazing. It was. It is. I learned so much about life from the two and a few months on the job. Lessons. Sometimes questions are much more powerful than statements. Being vegan. Someone I once knew told me that instead of telling people why they should be vegan, I ought to explain why being vegan is important to me. That stuck with me. Now. Let’s take this story and put it in your point of view. You. Thank you for your contribution to the universe by the way. Our universe. You say to someone. Each someone. After realizing how your words can come off as harsh or bossy, you pay more attention to how you word your statements. Make them more self-reflective. So that those listening do so with curiosity perhaps, rather than defense.
“I eat plant-based foods because…” “I noticed a change in my health when I…” “I feel the spiritual weight and suffering within my own body when I eat someone else.”
What about work? Now you are me. Remember. For now at least. You worked at a retail store. You enjoyed helping people make life changes. A new belt. The very piece of clothing that seems to unite your upper half with your lower half. Though, not everyone must wear a belt. Frankly, you haven’t worn one in a while, though perhaps you should, and it could be because you have yet to find one today that feels like you. Anyway. Someone who has worn the same belt for more than five years has come to buy a new one. Actually. Not even. Someone came in to buy pants. Well. If you are already going to change your bottom half, update it. Then perhaps it is time to adjust the piece that connects the top to the bottom. Some people have many shirts, less pants. Some people have fewer shirts than pants. What does this say about someone? The person with many pants and few shirts may have a taste to switch his or her grounding perhaps. Our legs. Some pants allow one to move more flexibly. Yoga pants. Workout pants. Shorts. My favorite departments were Men’s and Textiles. Men’s because I really like helping guys see themselves in something beyond their imagination, showing them that what they were looking for was right there in the store, and helping the ones with a vision for sure, get what they knew was possible, within our limits. Textiles, like bedding because the bedroom is such a reflection of self. There is more to life than a Bed-in-a-Bag. Though, the Bed-in-a-Bag is a great thing for some people who want it all done. It’s true. Sometimes it is nice to think less of things at times in order to make time for more important things in life. Still, for the Princess and the Pea, taking the heart to decide the sleepwear of one’s future’s bedrest is essential. Especially because today, sheets and blankets and comforters are treated with many chemicals, and come in many fibers. Allergies. Sensitivities. Colors. All affect the way we rest. To sleep well… you know, it is your preparation for living well.
Back to Pants: Here is our brief summary…
Above the knee = Roam free. (think running shorts)
Below the knee = Breezy. (think cargo shorts)
Tight pants with elastic = Mobility without nudity. (think yoga pants)
Pleated pants = Hiding something, or creating something, with a tent of additional space. (think navy pleated dress pants)
Flat front pants = This is me. I am here. (think black straight leg dress pants)
Tight pants with support = Some pressure on my body keeps me contained, secured, my nervous system is hugged, like a Thunder Shirt. (think Levi’s 511′s)
So what does this have to do with being vegan they ask us? That is when you say… “Well, sometimes, I would sell leather belts. Sometimes I would suggest the non-leather belts. Picking one up and showing off its unique features. Other times, I did not. Someone special came into the store one day. He had a condition where it was becoming more difficult to put on pants. To put on belts. Because his hands moved more than his heart wanted them to travel. Meaning, shaky hands. Tremors. It was not getting better. It was coming over his being… You met him early on in the season. You were with the other managers finding the perfect size for another customer. We noticed one customer sifting through the folded khakis. You and another manager helped this customer find the size that he was looking for so devotedly. A permanent store manager pointed out the abundance of assistance that we had for him as a customer in the store. It was in a supportive encouraging way. At that moment, a head popped up. The customer shifting through the khaki pants right behind us looked at this manager as she spoke. His eyes. Those eyes. Those Eyes! You have seen them before.
Remember when you feed bread crumbs to ducks as a child. You wouldn’t want to feed them breadcrumbs today because an assortment of complications from health problems, to a reduction of oxygen in the waters which may be correlated with the feeding, anyway… these are brief references, surely there must be peer-reviewed articles out there in the universe if you still want to know more about bread-free bird feeding… Let’s get back to the REASON why We Began this STORY. Remember when you used to feed the ducks as a child by the lake. Your mother would take you and your brother to the lake by the mall and share your pita bread with the birds. Yes. In America. In Israel, they make pita so soft and sweet. Not sure what they use to soften the dough. Most likely has lost it’s vegan roots. In America, there is no Wonder Bread Pita. It is thin. Soft when microwaved, but who wants to do that. After a few days, pita turns into croutons. And then opportunity. Remember how there is always that big duck that eats all of the breadcrumbs. Actually. Back in Maryland, bucks would ram into fawn to get a piece of the salt-lick. Your neighbor would laugh about it with you about it as you walked your dogs in the woods, which never settled well in your heart.
What about the dogs waiting so patiently to chase after a ball. There is one who just starts running. No regard for the rules. A fair system. You went to Arnold’s Wildlife, an animal sanctuary in Okeechobee, Florida to celebrate your birthday. The day after. You made little grass packages for the fawn. For the big goat made it known that he was the best. So you fed him by the hand with little pieces at a time, making eye contact with him as your right hand spoon-fed him grass, and your left arm extended out to the deer that was a bully in his own right, but not quite the alpha-male. It was in between these feedings that you slid your head into corners to grab at the yummy young bright lime green grasses and mashed it into a snowball like you used to make with the insides of a slice of soft spongy bread. You tossed the grassball across the fence and then grabbed the green grass below your feet quickly to feed the goat and the deer that turned their heads towards the fawns with jealousy. With a cooing and a “YAAaaAAYYY” you were once again eye-to-eye with the goat. Giving him what he wanted, all the while taking care of the rest of the crew.
The eyes of the goat are not Those Eyes. The eyes of the little duck that just isn’t getting any treats. The eyes of the fawn that do not want to accept that life is like this. Because it is not. How does one become a great buck without bullying his way to the top? It happens because someone else sees something greater. A bigger picture. The buck will get what he wants. No need to fight him about it. Just give it to him. The reason why you are here is for that little duck. For the fawn. For the one who does not ask. Does not ask you a thing with words. Rather. You are here for the someone whose scream is piercing so strongly in your heart. You cannot turn away. This is the reason why you came here. Today. Truly. Every moment has a reason. Sometimes it is so apparent. Sometimes it is for someone. In those eyes. In his eyes. You could feel that this was about more than pants. It always is right. Something was not fair here. So. As he is looking at her, and she is looking at someone else, you are looking at him. The shelf inside you shifts. Your gear moves from observer to activist, to authority. I am here for you. You initiate something. Another manager becomes part of the power force. As a team, you find this man pants in his size. They existed. It only takes one pair of pants to prove that they are in the store. The great thing about finding one is that another will pop up, and then wow. You go from nothing to many. Abundance. After trying on the pants, you mention a belt. He mentions the type of belt that has no notches. It is a woven belt. Like he has on now. He tells you that it is easier for him to put on. You look at him because he is here. In this moment. Just because you are here to see him, and show him what he needs, which may be more than he came in for when he walked into the door. You move from being a salesperson to being a healer. You take a sacrifice. You make a sacrifice consciously. You look through the belts on the rack, pick out one that is his size. It is woven. It is leather. It is the only one. To suggest another belt is to disregard his need. You silence something inside of you because at this point. You know what. I really cannot justify it. Rationalize it fully. I was there. He confessed. Parkinson’s. Big eyes that shared pain that you have never known. You know pain. So well. He held his back in attempts to go shopping. His pants were falling off his hips; what was he to do? You know that this is why you happened to be here today. Because you feel the honor of being present. No one is just allowed into a place. Someone has to open the door for you to walk into the present world. To have someone hold the door open for you is a privilege. To be invited into the room is an honor. Being busy is a reason why someone may invite more people into a workplace. Still, the reason is beyond rational. Beyond physical. It is an honor to be accepted into a moment. It does not feel good to beg to be somewhere. When one is holding a world of suffering behind a pair of eyes, asking for assistance may trigger a sense of desperation. Though, sometimes we just need to speak. Somehow.
So when the mention of a belt came into being, and an acceptance was granted to proceed, or you just proceeded and knew that you just had to go with it because this person was in need of more security around his waist. Something new to remind him of how the world supported him throughout, all-around, a circle of hope hugging his hips. You offered the only belt that he asked for from what you had in stock. It was made out of leather. Animal skin. Made from Someone. Afterwards, we picked out socks. He made his purchase. You still have mixed feelings about this all. Like the day that you bought a shawarma in Jerusalem to feed the wounded street cat. If you were asked to buy someone a hamburger from McDonald’s, it would not be the same for the human. The human would not benefit from eating the hamburger really. Regardless. You still killed an animal for a human. There are so many things to do in the world. Being in this position was amazing for you in so many ways. Amazing people. Amazing experiences. Lessons. A test. Tests of the heart.
Everyone is unique.
Someone who is vegan may be able to handle working in a non-vegan food establishment for the very ability to promote non-vegan foods. Perhaps someone can do so effectively. Perhaps this person’s spiritual purpose puts him here. For you, as a Sparkle. These moments are not in accordance to your purpose. What is your purpose. It has something to do with these hands for sure. For they create. They speak with touch. Like typing. Or cutting. Gluing. Touching the world through the sky. A vision. Somewhere out here, even in Florida, the universe is in perfect harmony. Thank you to Macy’s for sharing your beauty and bounty with me, us, your purpose.
Liife is a dance. An orchestra. A flamingo. A peacock! A peahen. Striding. Wobbling as it jogs by cars. Elegant as it laughs. Cute as it catches its breath. Tired as it wakes. Life is slow to smile so that this first smile takes extra long. Eager as it sleeps. Life lets itself keep dreaming. Drooling with foolish plots for fruit soaked storylines, life is but a sheet in between nudity. Life is quiet as it tries to surprise you. And silly like a foiled hide-n-seek spot when you really search for it. Wanting it to be with you. At that moment. Life is you. And you wonder what it is about life that makes you pause. To reply. As if, life is an empty line. Maybe it is. Maybe you are ready to be told. Because if life was so full. So very full. Then why would there ever be room for you to walk in. So maybe you step up because you know that life is expecting you. Not waiting. But awaiting your return. Because right now you are living backwards. And you’re really just stepping into page.
wanting to express my feelings at thie moment, I wrote this in a text message to someone dear inFlorida…. and I actually liked it. so I am sharing it here. thanks Ed2y De La Cruz