Thursday, September 17, 2009

Soulful Shopping

Yesterday I went grocery shopping-- something I do two or three times a week. This particular shopping excursion was a frustrating experience because both stores I went to didn't have the roast chicken I was seeking. I was told that I would have to wait at least 1/2 hour for them to be ready. However, I wasn't defeated by this delay; I found a cold roast chicken that could be reheated!

After leaving with my cold chicken, I wondered: Could grocery shopping have a spiritual dimension? At first glance, grocery shopping seems pretty boring. You walk up and down the aisles, looking for the items on your list. Then, you stand in a checkout line of varying length. If you’re in a hurry, grocery stores are places of delay and frustration.

I used to hate grocery shopping. I disliked it so much that Donna and I would make out a weekly menu and shopping list so I would only have to shop once a week. However, over the years I’ve learned to tolerate and even enjoy the experience.

One thing that helped change my attitude about grocery shopping is that I began to think about those I was shopping for. I thought about the members of my family whom I loved and would be eating this food over the next few days. Visualizing the end product of shopping can help you see it as an act of love.

Another thing that changed my attitude is that I slowed down. Instead of rushing through the aisles as quickly as I could (and often have to go back because I forgot something), I began to shop at a more leisurely pace. This allowed me to notice the multitude of products sold in a grocery store. What I began to understand is the abundance embodied in an American grocery store. I once heard a story about visitors from Russia marveling at the plethora of produce and products available at a U.S. grocery store. This abundance is something we take for granted.

Introducing love and gratitude into shopping can change the experience into something soul-nourishing. Do I always shop soulfully? Of course not. Do I think it is a worthy goal? Yes!

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