Hurry Up and Shop!

Lessons from a grocery store

It used to be that I could go to my local grocery store and do all my shopping in ten minutes or less. I knew where everything was and I could mentally formulate an optimum route through the store where I could quickly pick up everything I needed without doing any backtracking or searching. I could probably have done my grocery shopping blindfolded. I wasted no time looking at things that were not on my list and I went down no aisles that I knew had nothing on my list. As long as I didn’t run into anyone I knew I could shop with lightning speed. I was a lean, mean shopping machine.

My local grocery store is currently in a process of remodeling. They have moved everything around — and I do mean everything. Nothing is where it used to be. Don’t you just hate that? Shopping suddenly takes three times as long because I have to be consciously aware and search for things. If I were blindfolded I wouldn’t be able to find a thing.

While this is somewhat aggravating to customers, grocery stores know that this is a very good thing to do every now and again. Having spent far too many years in retail myself, I know the value of this. It forces the customer to shop “with eyes wide open” and therefore see more. How customers shop becomes habitual. They find the areas of a store they like and only go there, avoiding the other parts of the store. Mixing everything up forces them to search through the whole store enabling them to see things they might like that they normally wouldn’t notice.

While shopping for many is very habitual, the same can be said for our lives in general. We all have fixed routines and schedules and comfort zones. While our activities become habitual and conditioned, so does our thinking…. and so do our perspectives.

As we go through our daily lives following the same conditioned routines and activities, we think the same thoughts over and over and our thinking becomes conditioned. We may have some different thoughts now and again but we quickly slip back into our conditioned thinking patterns. Likewise, the way we see our world becomes conditioned and we see it the same way day in and day out — so much so that we often miss little subtle changes around us. It often takes wholesale change, like with the grocery store remodeling, for us to get out of our default perspectives and begin seeing all the changes.

Humans are habitual creatures. Our activities are conditioned, our thinking is conditioned, and our perspectives are conditioned. If, as all the new agey spooks claim, we create our reality through our perceptions and perspectives then to change our reality we must change our perceptions and perspectives. This is made difficult because of the habitual conditioned way we perceive everything in our lives. Habits are hard to break.

We could take ten minutes out of our day and consciously change our perspectives and see things differently and that can be very good but then we slip right back into our conditioned perspectives for the rest of the day. So it’s hard to create much change in our reality when we weigh those ten minutes against 23 hours and 50 minutes of conditioned perspectives. We say, “Hey, I changed my perspectives for 10 minutes but my reality didn’t change!” That’s because we didn’t change our continuous conditioned perspectives, most of which we’re not even consciously aware of.

Our perspectives are so conditioned we are, for the most part, not really even aware of them. We are often unaware of any perspective we may be embracing at any given moment. We may be holding a perspective of “life’s not fair” and we’re not aware of that being our perspective. But because we hold that perspective we attract circumstances that reflect that perspective. We see those circumstances and that reinforces our perspectives and we blame the circumstances. Our thinking patterns center on those circumstances and further reinforce our perspectives. Those thinking patterns become conditioned and we play those thoughts out over and over.

And our perspectives don’t change. And therefore our reality continues to reflect “life’s not fair.” This, of course, applies to all conditioned perspectives.

To change our reality we must change our perspectives and to do that we must become aware of our perspectives. We must become aware of the habitual conditioned way we see things. And then we must open ourselves up to seeing things differently.

One person can see life as a painful drudgery and their life reflects that. Another person can see life as a joyful, exciting, glorious experience and their life reflects that. It’s not life picking one person to be good to and another to be bad to. It’s the difference in perspectives between the two people. Life is a wondrous field of possibilities that we draw from and create from through how we perceive things.

And how we perceive things is a choice. We can choose to perceive our world through habitual conditioned perceptions or we can open our eyes and choose to consciously perceive things differently. We can choose to see the total remodeling of our grocery store as a joyful opportunity to see new things and venture down new aisles….. and an opportunity to drop old habits. Instead of shopping being a routine perfunctory task it can become an exciting, fun adventure.

Earthling — Lifelong novelist & essayist —

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