Last week, I had an uncomfortable experience at Target. It started when I noticed a guy in glasses staring at me as I walked in the door. I thought maybe he was an employee and I came in the exit door by mistake. There was an awkward moment of eye contact when I realized he was just another customer. I looked away and continued in the direction of the items I needed to purchase. As I walked away, I distinctly heard him say from across the store, “Don’t give me that look in your cargo shorts.”
For a moment, I couldn’t believe what I heard. Did a stranger just make a rude comment about my clothing choice? I’m aware that cargo shorts are no longer in style. My last partner liked to tease me when I wore them. However, all those pockets sure are handy for carrying my phone, keys, wallet, and mask. I didn’t think there was any need to “dress to impress” while buying contact lens solution. Not that I’ve ever been very fashion conscious, as my wardrobe clearly indicates! Still, this judgment from someone who did not know me stung a little bit.
In that moment, I remembered a tool from A Course in Miracles that I often share with my coaching clients. I stopped and asked Spirit to help me see this situation differently. Whenever I remember to do this, something always drops into my mind that I wouldn’t have thought of in that moment. In this case, the thought dropped in that people in pain often unconsciously inflict pain on others in an attempt to make themselves feel better. Perhaps this guy was having a bad day and felt I had somehow offended him by looking away or by wearing unfashionable clothing. The Course is very clear that everything is either an expression of love or a call for love, and the appropriate response is always some form of love.
That doesn’t mean I searched the store to give this guy a hug. No, I simply took a moment to extend love from my heart to his with my mind. It helped me feel a little better so I could continue shopping. I found the items I needed and made my way to the self-checkout area as quickly as possible. Although I had seen the situation differently, I did not want to run into this guy again. Thankfully, I made it out of the store and to my car with no further incidents, but some of the icky energy remained.
Back home, as I was putting away my purchases, a text message from a friend came in. The message had a link to an article about “Dog the Bounty Hunter” in relation to a national news story. I had never heard of this former reality television star. When I clicked the link, I was taken aback by his unique appearance. This guy has long bleached blonde hair that reaches the middle of his back which he brushes back. He often wears clips or earrings (I can’t tell which) with strands of dangling feathers that frame his face. Dog completes his look with dark or mirrored sunglasses and some sort of black shirt or jacket that he leaves open exposing his chest and whatever necklace he’s wearing. “That’s an interesting look,” I thought to myself.
Are you noticing a pattern? Barely 30 minutes had passed since my uncomfortable experience at Target, and there I was judging this guy based on his appearance and clothing. Granted, I wasn’t making comments out loud in his presence, but A Course in Miracles reminds me that all minds are connected. Whether I speak them out loud or not, my thoughts have an impact on others. It was interesting to observe myself exhibiting the same behavior that had hurt my feelings a short while earlier. Instead of beating myself up for my judgment, I decided to take a moment to extend love to everyone involved in this situation…including myself.
It felt important to share this story that night during my weekly online A Course in Miracles study group because it illustrated just how sneaky the ego’s thought system is. One longtime member insightfully pointed out the incident at Target was also a reflection of my own feelings about my cargo shorts since I had been teased about them. It never ceases to amaze me how everything can be traced back to our thoughts. I’m extremely grateful for the teachings of A Course in Miracles that remind me if I want to return to a peaceful state of mind, all I have to do is change my thoughts. Thank you, Target Guy and Dog the Bounty Hunter for being my teachers!
Do you often feel judged by the people in your life? Would you like some assistance in relinquishing the judgments you have toward others that are causing you stress? As I was reminded last week, letting them go is a very freeing experience. Please explore my website to learn more about my Spiritual Coaching sessions as well as private and group Family Constellations sessions. Both can help you see things from an expanded perspective so you can return to peace. To add a plethora of mindfulness tools and practices to your self-care toolbox, please join me for a Virtual Wellness Reset Retreat the weekend of October 22-24. To find out more, click this link. For a limited time, use coupon code JOHNLOVE20 at checkout to receive $20 off the registration price.
This coming week, I invite you to notice how you feel when judgments make their presence known, and then ask to see the situation differently. You just might experience a miracle!
You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment.
A Course in Miracles ~ T-3.VI.3:1