A few days ago, Chris and I were cruising around the salad bar/hot food bar at Whole Foods. When we’re feeling especially lazy, it’s nice to grab a quick dinner there.
If I had my way, I’d just pull a chair up to the salad bar and start shoveling stuff into my mouth. Gosh, everything looks so yummy when I don’t have to spend hours chopping it up myself.
Anyhoo, I was waiting behind 2 older ladies who were standing in front of the salad dressings. I just wanted a quick spritz of red wine vinegar and then I’d be on my way.
But I had to wait.
One of the ladies was shaking the almost empty container of ranch dressing into a condiment cup. Very slowly…
Shake, shake, shake…shake, shake, shake…shake, shake, shake…
And boy, was I getting frustrated. A bitchy voice inside my mind was screaming, “Hey, lady! Maybe the universe is telling you to stop eating ranch dressing!”
Damn you, internet. You’ve ruined me forever and given me the attention span of a gnat.
Shake, shake, shake…
Finally, I remembered some of my meditation teachings. Everything is here for a reason, including long, annoying lines. This situation was an opportunity for me to practice calming meditation.
I’m sure you’re stuck waiting for something at least a few times a week, whether that’s at the grocery store, the coffee shop, the pharmacy, or any number of places with long lines of customers.
Before you lose your cool, here are some easy waiting-in-line meditations for you to try.
Count Your Breaths
Concentrate on slowing your breathing by inhaling through your nose for 2 counts and then exhaling through your mouth for 2 counts. Try to exhale silently so you don’t annoy the other customers in line. No need to sigh theatrically like a drama queen.
On the exhale, count the breath in your mind. Imagine all your pent up frustration flowing out of you as you exhale. By the time you get to the front of the line, you’ll be as cool as a cucumber.
Count Your ABCs
Look around at the items in the store: magazines, candy, neatly folded T shirts, holiday knick knacks, etc. Find an item that begins with the letter A. Maybe Angelina Jolie on the cover of a gossip rag or an anorak hung on the clearance rack.
Then find something that starts with the letter B and work your way through the alphabet. You’ll most likely reach the front of the line before you reach Z (zippers?).
Count Your Blessings
You know I’m a gratitude whore, right? Of course I’d suggest you practice saying thank you for whatever situation you find yourself in! Instead of tapping your toes or glancing at your watch every 5 seconds, name all the things you can think of that make you happy.
How about the car that you drove to the store? The money in your bank account? The fact that you’re not as stressed out as the poor cashier? Count your blessings no matter how big or small they are. You could even race to come up with 50 things to be grateful for before it’s your turn to checkout.
“Life’s greatest comfort is being able to look over your shoulder and see people worse off, waiting in line behind you.” Chuck Palahniuk. Tweet this!
How do you stay calm when you’re forced to wait in line?