I saw an inspiring video about a young man with Down Syndrome who worked as a bagger in a supermarket. In addition to enjoying connecting with customers, Michael wanted to contribute to their day. So he wrote down his favorite inspiring quotations, had them photocopied, and each day he slipped a different quote in each customer’s bag as they were checking out.
After a while the supermarket manager noticed that the line for checkout at Michael’s station was three times the length of the other lines. The manager dispatched more clerks to equalize the lines, but the customers in Michael’s line refused to move. They wanted their daily quote. (Some of them came into the store daily just to get it.)
In a world that is becoming increasingly dehumanized, people are craving connection. As technology has reduced most business interactions to digital blips, the human contact element is becoming more crucial. I predict that the businesses that offer humanity, as well as technology, will be on the leading edge of service and success. For example, I recently phoned a computer business to order a part. I was greeted by a typical "all of our agents are busy" message, but then this message took a (welcome) left turn. A pleasant voice added, "So why not take a deep breath and relax, and we’ll be with you shortly." I was delighted to hear this human note in a highly technical arena. I, for one, will phone that company again.
The most powerful spirituality is to bring light to the world right where you stand. My friends Sylvan and Suzie Schwab direct the East Maui Animal Refuge, a sanctuary for injured and unwanted animals. The refuge houses about 600 critters, cats, dogs, deer, geese, pigs, birds, and you name it. The Schwabs and their volunteer staff are up before dawn and work until dusk feeding, medicating, bandaging and loving their honored animal guests. When a local magazine interviewed Sylvan, the reporter concluded that Sylvan was something of a saint, and told him that he would surely go to heaven when he dies.
Sylvan’s response: "I don’t need to wait until I die to go to heaven. I am already there."
I used to venerate yogis and saints who sat on mountaintops and meditated for world peace. I still do. But now I also venerate those who transform the world from within it. If you are searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, look again – you may be sitting in it.
I have been doing a new and deeper work with my coaching clients, based on looking within for the stuff that you are chasing without. For example, I was working with a woman who requested guidance to help her manifest her dream home. When I invited her to tell me about it, she drew this picture: "It’s on a high hill surrounded by tall trees, with a broad ocean view."
"Great," I affirmed. "Now please tell me what is the primary feeling that the house gives you?"
"Security," she answered. "Having that house would help me feel secure."
"And the trees?"
"Trees represent growth and expansion to me."
"What is the feeling of being on a hill?"
"And what does seeing the ocean tap you into?"
"Depth," she answered resolutely.
"So it’s not the house on the hill you are seeking, but security, growth, perspective and depth.
"And if you could feel all those good things without having the house, would you still need the house?"
I was not trying to talk my client out of her dream house; indeed, I would be thrilled to know that she manifested it. I just wanted to point out to her that while she seems to be on an outer journey to collect these goodies, she is really on an inner journey. I told her that if she could get the feelings of security, growth, perspective and depth right where she stands, two things would likely happen: she would feel fabulous; and the house on the hill would likely come quickly and effortlessly. That’s the power of claiming your good rather than struggling for it.
You cannot personally transform the entire world. But you can transform your portion of it. Connect with yourself, spirit and others right where you stand, and the rest will take care of itself. Then people will be lined up for your station, and the quotes you drop into their bags will be made not of paper, but gold.