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  • Writer's pictureJulia Cox

Lessons from the Coles queue

I’d just whipped around Coles, trying to be as efficient as possible – I prefer to spend the least amount of time in the supermarket as humanly possible – as I’m sure you do as well. I picked the shortest checkout queue, deciding that I had just a few too many items to run through the self checkout, and that I’d support real human employment.

Murphy’s law then ensued. The person being served was taking a crazy amount of time. So much time that my “shortest” queue turned out to be the “longest”. As I took a big inhale and felt myself sigh, I drew myself into my awareness of this impatience within me.

Then I took my awareness to the woman being served. When I really paid attention, I saw that she was trying to use her reward points to buy coles gift cards. I saw (and felt) she was quite desperate to get these gift cards and other staff members were called to help with the redemption. I thought of all the reasons for her desperation. It could be anything, she could need them to help a family member, or she could be the victim of financial abuse by her partner – ALL manner of things went through my mind, and it could have been anything.

A wave of calm came over me – and I realised, it didn’t matter. The supermarket queue didn’t matter, the reason for the delay didn’t matter. All that mattered is that I was here, immersed in the present moment, rather than in an emotional reaction of impatience.

I realised how lucky I was, to be there at that moment, able to send her a calm, understanding smile as she sheepishly looked at how long the queue was getting. Giving that small gesture of human kindness in the tiniest of moments. Being here. Now.

Mindfulness isn’t just a buzz word. It’s a practice that has the ability to stop our automatic reactions and create magic in our everyday.

The richness that can be gained from the most mundane of tasks.


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