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If there was anyone in the line at the post office who practiced mindfulness meditation, you’d never know it. Including me.
My breathing was shallow, my heart was racing, my body felt like a bag of sharp nails, and I was nervously drumming on the countertop with my fingers. So much for that great mindfulness meditation I practiced this morning. Guess I need a bit more practice in real-time.
The person behind me yelled in my ear, “What’s holding things up here? Doesn’t she know we have other things to do today? This is ridiculous. This post office is going downhill.” I nodded in agreement and we both cricked our necks to see what was going on up front.
Who was holding up the line?
Of all people, it was Fatima. She was one of the best postal clerks in my town. Experienced, helpful, polite, and efficient. Despite the hold-up, I remained confident that the line would soon move more quickly.
I was wrong. It didn’t move at all. They were short on staff, the wait became unreasonable, and everyone was agitated.
What was she doing? Why was it taking so long?
Fatima was focused on the distraught gentleman in front of her. After he mailed his package, he stayed firmly in place to share his troubles with her. He cried as he told her that he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and didn’t know where to go, whom to speak with, and had no family around. Instead of getting anxious about the growing line of annoyed people, Fatima made a different choice. She continued to listen to him and only him. She didn’t interrupt him, look at her watch, judge him, or point out the people who were waiting for her.
She simply listened to him with an empathic, compassionate, and open heart.
She could have asked him to hang around for a few minutes and she would speak to him after the line dissipated. She could have told him how sorry she was about his situation and then dismissed him. She could have been blunt and rude. That’s not Fatima.
This Earth angel chose to give him her complete attention and listen as long as it was going to take. She didn’t care two hoots that people were waiting in a long line and were feeling annoyed at her. Even if they were mad, and even if her boss fired her, Fatima was laser-focused on allowing this man to share what was in his heart.
Somehow, in her soul of souls, she made a decision that helping to unburden his heart was more important than anything else. Fatima was on human being time—not robot time.
I felt deeply moved and transformed by this moment and was profoundly honored to witness a human-to-human connection we don’t often see in this world. Open-hearted listening, eye contact, compassion, kindness, caring, and empathy.
To all the Fatima’s of the world who actualize the highest version of themselves and teach us to do the same:
Thank you. You are the essence of what we all desperately need to experience and become.
Fatima is a human being who embodies the spirit of loving consciousness, cares about the collective whole, and gives of herself from a place of heart-centered generosity.
There is “going to the post office” and there is “going to the post office.”
The first “going to the post office” has the intention of accomplishing the task at hand. Get the errand done, check it off, and move on to the next to-do.
The second “going to the post office” is transformational and life-changing. Fatima changed my life, and from this moment on, my personal growth intention is to graduate from too many moments of human doingness to more moments of human beingness.
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