Retailers With Soul

The small, well appointed cottage sits a few meters off a quiet road.   Just across the field where sheep graze in ever changing numbers, a cluster of buildings claim shoreline rights and provide accommodation to a world of well monied people.

It was February 18th.  After months of preparation, I was about to learn the meditative techniques used by our spiritual teacher and his forefathers.  The generations-old techniques, highly respected and freely given, are taught to those who are simply willing to do the homework.  No testing or qualifying exercises were involved.

The friend who was house-sitting the cottage offered it to a gentleman from off-island; the one who would teach me the new techniques.  A woman joined him and prepared an abundance of colourful, healthy finger food for our break.

In one afternoon, the two one-hour training sessions put me on the road to begin my own practice.

Master of Mellow Meditation

After a few days of applying the new techniques, I decided I needed a 15 minute timer.  When each 15 minute segment was finished, I wanted to be alerted.  The difficulty would be to find an instrument that would not require a re-set, re-wind or re-push and simply give a gentle signal; then carry on to the next 15 minute segment.

The hunt was on.  I visited the hardware store, the sporting equipment outlet and even our local pharmacy.  Each retailer understood what I needed, but could not help.

In the hardware store, a customer arrived and stood politely behind me.  I told him to step up to the counter, “I’ll be gone the minute she’s off the phone because I don’t think anyone on the island has what I need.”

“What are you looking for?” asked the young man who had yards of rubber hose wound around his body.

I told him.  His eyes lit up. “Buy a watering timer.  You know…like the one you put on a hose?  Yah!  Then instead of putting a hose on the timer, plug in some kind of thing that will ring.  That’d work!”  His enthusiasm prompted my sincere thanks.  It made up for the improbability of my jury-rigging a clanging hose timer next to my peaceful, meditative ear.

Next, I was sent to Frankly Scarlet Jewellery and Objects D’Art.  “They sell watches!  They sell Timex watches!” someone added.

Zany, zingy, wild-shaped watches at Frankly Scarlet begin about $259. each.   However, I remembered seeing a case of “cheapies” once while I drooled over a colorful necklace stranded through radical creativity and priced at $750.

The couple who own the shop make it so easy to visit.  Their inventory confirms their exquisite taste.  Cultured, educated, classy and delightfully deep, they appeared to have been matched by the creator of an Ashram.

“Do you both enjoy being retailers?  Of course, this shop is more like an art gallery.  But do you get bored?”  It’s easy to slip into meaty conversations with these retailers.  The beauty contained in the store, her flair for display, their beloved dog asleep on its cushion, the peaceful energy…it all invited a feeling of being in their home.

Mrs. FS nodded toward her husband and said, “I couldn’t do retail without him.  There are times when a customer will unknowingly sting my heart with some insensitive comment.  He’ll just come by and touch my arm.  Instant reassurance.  Or a customer will have some really silly request and take tons of our time.  That can be so frustrating.”

Finally found! A Timex watch that will do repeat count downs – at a price equivalent to a year’s supply of thyroid meds.

“Well, I’m just here to look at Timex watches.  Do you still carry some?”  I told him about the meditation so he knew exactly what I needed.

Mr. FS went to the “cheapie” Timex case, “I’m sure there’s at least one with a countdown feature”.  He brought a selection of styles to the counter.  Each one was a different style with different buttons and manuals.  After an hour and 15 minutes, in a conspiracy of “techless” maneuvering, we managed to work the buttons and dials sufficient to declare a test run.

Would it beep and automatically go on to the next set time?  He set it for one minute.

We waited. 46, 45, 44 seconds.  A customer came to his attention.  I was left alone for the countdown…2, 1, 0!  Nothing.  Nada.  Not a sound.  ‘Just as well,’ I thought.  The price tag was over $80.00.

Mr. FS came back with a confident smile, “Well?  Did that do it?”

“There’s no bell, chime, tinkle or vibration,” I told him.

“What?  Here, let’s look at it.  Hey! It’s what you want.  It’s counting down again…3, 2, 1, ZERO!  There it goes!”

“There goes what?”

“The ringing!  It’s ringing!”

I could not hear a note.  No decibel penetrated the upper range of my hearing.  Tinnitus had stolen my ability to hear the higher ranges.  I stood in silence, embarrassed and wondering if I could swiftly teleport to my car.

“I’ve been searching for months.  How many times have I’ve found what I needed without even knowing?” I said.

Mr. FS responded.  “You know…,”  his smile alarmingly tender, “I bet by now you have your inner clock working just fine.  Don’t even peek at a clock.  Go with your gut.  So what if you are over or under!”

So what indeed!

Funny how the kindness of retailers can cause eyes to leak.

35 thoughts on “Retailers With Soul

  1. Indeed a second one way or another really shouldn’t matter as much as the meditation…glad you found someone who could provide appropriate perspective. 🙂

  2. What a lovely post. It’s reassuring to know there are such people in the world. Of course you could have hooked up the timer to the hose and let it spray on you…then you wouldn’t need to worry about the tinnitus issue. (Isn’t it maddening?) Blessings, dear Amy.

    • Never thought of that, Victoria! That’s so funny! I’ve lost track of where you are and how you are… My Reader is becoming better honed all the time and you are now back on my radar.

      • I’m back home in Reno, working on a volume of poems to submit for publication. My blogging is a bit sporadic right now because of that. Just read a new post by Jamie Dedes that’s inspiring me to want to re-organize a bit. I’m in a mist when it comes to marketing my novel…it’s a daunting task for me. Does not please my spirit. :0)

        • So, Victoria, we’ve both been sporadic. Yes, I needed to take back some of the abundant time I dedicated to blogging. I’m sure the time will ebb and flow with life.

          I empathize with you about marketing. Have you thought about offering to speak voluntarily for different purposes?

          I belong to PROBUS – known worldwide, but very “unnoticeable”. We are retired business people who meet monthly to network, enjoy companionship, and be “fed” something interesting. Thus, we are not supporters of any causes, nor are we money raisers. Instead we invite a speaker a month to (voluntarily) give us an hour’s talk. The interests and backgrounds of people are wonderfully diverse. But many speakers have written a book. Their talk is not a sales pitch…it is about their work or life or interest – but the presentation gently points to the book. Authors have copies on display, front and center, if they choose.

          You have had an interesting life, Victoria. How many people have the opportunity, for example, to hear a Hospice person tell about what it’s like for them?

          Or, poetry readings…join or start some. That’s a good way to inform and tantalize people.

          I used to invite authors to come and give a talk about themselves to our Seniors. Since it was an Independent Seniors residence, the residents loved hearing personal stories – whether the guest was an author, comedian, pianist or vocalist. I’d make sure to set aside time for the person to tell something about themselves so the seniors could interact with questions and humour. They LOVED the two way conversation…though I’d often have to throw out the first one or two questions to kick off the “openness”.

          I was always amazed at how willing some seniors were to buy a book or a CD. I suspect it was a treat for them to be able to conveniently buy something they would enjoy. They didn’t mind spending the money!

          Likely you’ve thought of these types of subtle self-promotions. But, I would have you at our Probus in a heart beat. And you may have other subjects you’d want to talk about, but I’d ask if you would be comfortable telling the story about how a nun ended up getting married, living in RENO and writing a book!!! Your nursing and hospice years hold tons of fodder for folks like us who have lived life and appreciate good life stories. One never knows where that may lead.

          You may not like presenting, but I am most sincere when I say your story would be very interesting.

          • I think I should hire you as director of marketing, Amy! I have no problem with public speaking–if it’s something I believe in or am passionate about (I actually was a community educator for hospice at the end of my nursing career). I like your ideas…especially the one about giving a reading in a nursing home or assisted living facility!

  3. I was kinda liking the problem solving of the first young man……I think a sprinkler timer woulda done it for me…….connected to a hose, of course. A little splash of water during meditation would move me from one state to the next….LOL Oh….I wouldn’t get a whole lot of meditating done once the water switched on, though.

    What a lovely fella and it sounds like a lovely shop to have a wander around in, especially with such awesome shopkeepers. Gentle souls like that are worthy of revisiting.

    Go with the internal clock.
    It seems to get me where I need to be just fine–I’m thinking that’s the same for you as well.

    • Oh Mel, that young man was so excited – his eyebrows were flying off the top of his head and his eyes sparkled like polished glass. I bet he’s telling all his buddies about how he helped an old gal with his brilliance! 😀 And his buds will come up with even better ideas…until the beer runs out! 😀

    • I haven’t worn a watch for years either. When I need to ask the time, the people usually look at their cell phones.

      The Occupy is now up…I suspect you were checking when you found this post. Look forward to yours!

  4. When it comes to meditation we all have what we need inside us. I have meditated on and off for years and yet when i practice daily i really do reap the benefits.

  5. Amy, I do not think it matters if you go over your time, just let your heart take you through the whole process, of course it could take you more time than you want or have to give on that day.

    • Thanks, Dee! BTW…I currently have the sweetest little rose blooming outside. I saved it from the tent caterpillar plague and, so far, the deer. A gorgeous coral pink, it’s tiny, but bursting with bloom. The leaves of the tiny bush are deep, deep green – all shiny and robust with health. You gave me that plant. It was amongst the variety presented in the birthday basket. So, another reason to think of you daily! (The winter will be a gamble. I’ll talk to gardeners who know our “zone”. I’ve tried all sort of plants in my house and because of an insufficient amount of light where plants can sit, they don’t do well. The minute I put them out, they flourish.)

  6. Amy, that indeed is a very clever post.

    ” How many times I have found something which I needed without even knowing.” To me this is an awesome line and embodies so many powerful aspects of who we are, who we want to be. Does this quality come from intuition or is it a heightened consciousness of here and now? How do we develop this ” being present” mental discipline? Easier said than done I guess as our minds usually play truant….



    • Shakti, you amaze me. Thank you for your welcome depth. My breath retrieves my wandering attention from the present. I ride it within. I suppose it’s my mind that reminds me to do so – the very thing that takes me away helps me remember to come back.

      I hope the messages are correct…that our world is being brought back to being heart centered. Look at what the mind had done for us! 🙂

    • Charles, you’ve just told me that this is what you do. I am not surprised and I am very impressed with your wife being able to spot such grand husband material when she met you!

    • Around here, Linda, if you talk “big box” retailer, it’s a reference to the guy delivering a new fridge ordered from the catalogue. 😀 Seriously, it is wretched seeing small shops go under – for so many different reasons. The loss of livelihood for families is one issue, but the loss of soul is dire for the community.

    • Wisper, you are so gracious…I added that to the wrong forum. I was looking for Weekend Link-up and inadvertently added it on the “Fate Challenge”. My apologies – but maybe it was fate… 😀 (It was over the word limit, I’m sure!)

  7. Those brief and unexpected interactions add so much to our daily lives. I bet they enjoyed the exchange as much as you did. Our lives pass by so quickly. How wonderful it would be if everyone took the time to have a chat with the shopkeepers in their daily activities.

    • Yes, Rebecca, it is grand to be able to tap into the humanness of these hard working retailers. The “big box stores” have taken much away, but these “little guys” still exist, thankfully! Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  8. I’ve been searching for a watch to count down my running and stuff…wonder if this one would do? I don’t usually like a watch on my wrist though. hmmm

    • No, I don’t want to have anything on my wrist either. Our little Sports store told me there are countdown gismos galore in larger stores. They clip onto walkers or runners somehow. They told me that’s the key word – countdown. Not timers. Good for you looking after your health, Anna.

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