Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Picture a supermarket, let's call it Food Mart. As you look around, you are disappointed because there isn't much to choose from, and what you see doesn't look great. You are utterly underwhelmed. However, you're hungry, your family likes to eat, and your cupboards are getting pretty bare. You really need to shop, and this is the only place in town.

You head over to the produce department. There is a man standing behind a counter, the liaison between you and the fruits and veggies. He is there to help you, but first he requires your driver's license. For some reason, handing your identification to this man feels kind of shameful, as if he is a police officer pulling you over for a traffic violation. Although it doesn't feel quite right, you hand over the I.D. without question, automatically resigned that there is no other way. You start telling this man what you want. When you ask for bananas, he hands you a basket with three bananas in it. They're spotted and bruised; definitely not what you'd choose for yourself. And you have four kids for goodness sake - three bananas is not enough! Yet you say nothing; you simply accept the basket, which is really cute, and put it in your cart. The same thing happens with everything you want; the man consistently hands over poor quality produce, and he never gives you as much as you'd like. Somehow, the cute baskets make you feel a little better, which makes no sense! Who cares about the outer packaging when what's inside a)isn't enough, and b)is not quality? When you're done shopping in the produce department, you wait for the man to return your driver's license, but he doesn't. Though it feels strangely illicit, you reach back and retrieve it yourself.

By the time you get to the check-out, your basket is sort of full, but there really isn't enough and it's not really what you want. As you unload your cart, you feel dissatisfied, but you continue with the transaction. You're hungry and your family likes to eat, after all.

The lack of selection in the Food Mart is a metaphor for your perceived lack of options in your life. The man is an authority figure, your self-conscious, deciding for you what you deserve and what you are permitted to have. You hand yourself to him willingly when you give him your I.D. This is you telling him has permission to run your show. The cute little baskets represent your outer self and your physical surroundings. They don't look half bad, so perhaps it's best not to upset the status-quo, not to argue with the subconscious man. But you do manage to bravely reclaim yourself when you snatch your driver's license back from him - there is hope! Yet you continue with the transaction, thereby accepting your slim pickings and taking what you can get.

Now imagine instead that you are walking into a huge, gleaming clean supermarket, let's call it Super Food Emporium. There before you is aisle after aisle of every food you can imagine, and many you've never heard of. Everything looks so good, so fresh, so delectable! You start filling your cart, but there are so many lovely things you want, everything barely fits. In fact, you have to get a second cart. Everywhere you turn there are friendly, smiling store clerks standing by to help you, and encouraging you to try everything that looks good to you. You are filled with happiness and gratitude because shopping here is such fun!

If you had a choice between shopping at Food Mart or shopping at the Super Food Emporium, the best decision would be obvious, a total no-brainer. You do have a choice. Choose the better store, and bask in the endless array of options and opportunities available to you. Choose well, and accept guidance from positive influences along the way. This is your life. The only thing stopping you from having, doing, learning, and experiencing anything you can imagine is you. Step out of your own way.