On one of my recent shopping trips to my local supermarket, I somehow managed to pick up a crooked trolley from the row outside.
The trolley had a mind of its own and kept going at almost ninety degrees from the direction I was pointing it at. As I found out soon enough, one of the wheels was misaligned.
I persevered with this trolley as far as the vegetables rack and was about to start filling up when I decided that enough was enough. I took it all the way out again through the way in aisle, much to the consternation of the security staff etc and got a replacement. I did also point out the rogue trolley to one of the shop assistants and it was promptly sent off to presumably some sort of a sin bin for misbehaving trolleys.
The rest of my shopping adventure was a breeze and the new trolley served me well. (Incidentally, supermarkets do spend a fortune on shopping trolleys as they do cost a lot and are easily damaged. They even employ staff to go out and recover trolleys “borrowed” by customers, or discarded in parks etc)
On the way home from my shopping trip, I reflected on how this ordinary experience had so many lessons for us in our daily life.
For how often we continue doing, having or even being something, when it is longer right for us.
We can all remember being led up the wrong path by someone or simply going astray from our chosen path. The trick is to recognise this sooner rather than later and taking corrective action.
I imagine that my crooked shopping trolley would have been really awkward, difficult and a real pain to maneuver had I persevered with it and filled it up with my groceries.
In life too, how difficult and how painful it gets, once we have collected “baggage”, and especially baggage on a path not aligned with us.
Also, often others will want you to continue with what you have and are afraid of breaking their set rules. So in this episode, I had to convince the supermarket staff that the trolley was indeed faulty and I had to get it changed. Of course they did understand and were apologetic.
The lessons to be learnt from this simple, ordinary episode are these:-
1. Recognise quickly when you are going the wrong way or even slightly going astray. It is a question of asking yourself and reflecting on any life situation and asking if it still feels right for you.
2. Take corrective action sooner rather than later. Take a step back, reflect and do whatever is necessary, even if it means “upsetting” some people.
Be clear about what you want and you will find that those people will be understanding, accommodating and co-operative.
3. Remember not to collect baggage as you go through life. The more you have the harder and more painful it gets to maneuver through the journey of your life. Shed your stuff as you go along – better still just don’t collect it.
4. When you discover something broken or crooked, share your lessons with others. At the very least make sure that they do not have to go through what you did.
5. There are many lessons to be learnt from simple everyday ordinary events if we just allow ourselves to be open to them, and apply them in our life.
So to end, ask yourself:-
Am I aligned with my life journey?
If not, what corrective action do I need to take?
What baggage can I let go?
Next time, you are shopping in a supermarket and you see a trolley, remind yourself of these questions and reflect on them as you carry out your shopping.
Perhaps your life will begin to change from that moment on. Perhaps you will even review your shopping habits there and then and buy more healthy food and environmentally friendly and fair-trade products.
Ultimately, we are all going to go the same way of shopping trolleys as the picture below demonstrates. What is important is that like these trolleys, we perform our duties and fully live our lives along a straight path, taking corrective action as necessary.