The yoga pose that wraps you up like a pretzel,Garudasana, is supposed to mimic a mythological bird that never lands.
Like a bird pulling in its wings and then unfurling them again to take the wind, we also experience episodes of contraction and expansion, moving inward but also stretching for limitlessness in our thinking and in our lives.
Birds also take in their view of life from every angle–perhaps the ancient yogis were suggesting that we open our eyes more?
Contraction and expansion, narrow view and wide angle view.
Life requires us to strengthen both.
I had just that kind of big picture “A-HA” at the grocery store last week.
It was at my nearby Trader Joe’s where upbeat music was playing in the background and energized shoppers, fueled by the free coffee samples in the back of the store, were lingering and chatting with each other over products and produce.
I was wondering where I put my grocery list when I suddenly got this wide-angle view of the entire scene—kind of like when the camera starts to pull back to take in more of the movie scene—
It suddenly seemed to me that the shoppers were all behaving like a carefully choreographed ballet that really didn’t know what they were buying, or most importantly, from whom they were buying.
Trader Joe’s, or any other grocery store for that matter, was just the smaller container for the much bigger pool of companies that make up the giant Food Industry. And this particular machine would rather we didn’t look at the bigger picture, particularly the ways it’s produced and shipped to you. They are counting on all of us to just buy and eat.
And how efficient it all seemed.
Grocery stores are stream-lined loading docks for corporations to set up their wares and influence how we consume. Even the glossy apples, the ripe mangoes, the lemons, the cucumbers– all are grown and delivered by corporations.
I stood there awhile taking it all in with shoppers navigating around me.
Heck, we do have to eat, though.
And if we’re not raising it or growing it, then we have to make the grocery trips.
But what a Food Machine we are all participating in.
It’s time to be conscious. It’s time to be reminded.
We can start to wake up again as we make our usual walks through the grocery aisle.
We can talk to our grocery store manager to ask that locally grown foods be made available where we shop.
And with the warmer weather we can expand our vision to search for the farmer’s markets and exercise more freedom of choice with our purchases–which turns out to be a vote for the environment, not the conglomerates.
Last week, I made a call to my bank’s customer service department.
I know I should keep better track of my purchases (hey, here’s another awakening!) but this time I was on the road and just needed to know quickly what expenses I had made over the past week since I was a bit surprised at my balance being so much lower than I expected.
The chipper gentleman on the other end almost shouted into the phone, “Good afternoon, Miss McGeary! How can I put a smile on your face today?”
We went over each purchase I had made over the past two weeks.
There were no pedicures, no spree through Nordstrom’s or Sephora, no “Finishing Touch” car washes, not even a haircut.
None of my purchases was what I would call a luxury (at least here in the US, anyway).
It was just grocery store,
drug store (mascara, toothpaste, contact lens solution)
I need to time my car trips better or perhaps just learn how to live more sustainably.
Grow my greens.
Raise some chickens. (I’ll have to check the ordinances in my area.)
Perhaps get into some good reading too — like gardening books.
Expansion and contraction. Mouse vision and eagle vision, as life coach Martha Beck calls it.
We need it all.
Especially the big picture.