This week during a seemingly mundane trip to the grocery store, I found one of those seemingly “ugly” parts of myself.

While I was innocently finding what I needed at the store, my shadow was unknowingly lurking, ready to make it’s appearance.

To any innocent bystander – the events that follow would look like a random and inconsequential happening.

I know better.

And I share these events with you – not as a confession, not as a teaching, but simply as an account of the subtle ways that our old unconscious stories play out and have a very real effect on our world.

You see, I’ve been hearing so much lately about the harm “they” are doing to our world.

Who is “they”, you ask?

“They” seem to be everywhere.

"They" are the corporations.

"They" are the nuclear power plant.

"They" are Monstanto.

"They" are our governments!

The infamous “they”!

Perhaps you have been hearing about “them” too – “their” evil actions creating a doomsday that we are the victims of.

Well, I’m not so sure, but I’ll get back to that…

So there I was at the grocery store, grinding my own delicious almond butter in the bulk food section.  I noticed the peanut butter grinder next to me.  And I noticed that it was a whole $3 per pound cheaper than my almond butter.

I watched a thought – usually lurking in my subconscious – come to the surface.

“I wonder if “they” would notice if I marked my almond butter as peanut butter?”

Whoa!  Where’d that come from?

Even after years of bringing awareness to my limiting beliefs – there it was… a thought that was still in lack.  A subconscious belief that there is not enough, so I need to get something for nothing in order to have what I need.

Whew.  Glad I caught it!

Well… I almost caught it.

(What happened next is the part that I still feel some shame around sharing with you.)

The next thought that arose from my shadow was much sneakier!

“Oh well, I just won’t write the product number on my almond butter.  “They” can ring it up for whatever “they” think it is.” Maybe I'd get lucky.

In the moment, I let myself rationalize that these thoughts weren't from the very same shadowy belief system.  And I took it one step further to bring the innocent cashier into the story as another "they" to give my power to.

(Ohhh… this is what we call a sophisticated defense mechanism.)

I hate to say it, but I went on my way, with my unmarked almond butter in tow.

I’d all but forgotten these quiet thoughts I’d had while grinding my almond butter by the time I made it to the register.

I watched as my cashier rang up my groceries and I paid my tab.  $81.79

“$81.79”, I thought.  “Hmmm… what did I get that cost $81.79?”

“Oh well, groceries in Maui are expensive.  It’s part of the deal,” I thought.

I took my half bag of groceries out to my car and rushed off to meet a friend that was waiting for me.

On my drive, something hit me.  Wait a minute… seriously!? $81.79!?  That didn’t seem right.  I pulled over and took out the receipt.

$43.35 for cardamom seeds!!  What!?  I didn’t purchase cardamom seeds!  I certainly didn’t buy $43.35 worth of it!   This one mysterious item was accounting for more than half of my total bill!

Feeling frustrated that I had to go back to the crowded grocery store on a busy Sunday afternoon, I turned the car around and returned with my groceries in tow.

I explained the situation to my cashier.  I thought she might see the error and just reverse the charge, but she very diligently went through all of my groceries and compared it to the receipt to see what the mistake was.

Bless her heart.

What was the error, you ask?  My almond butter, of course.  Yup.  Without the product code written neatly on the side, as is protocol, she had entered a code that was one digit off.  As a result, I was charged for just over a pound of cardamom seed instead of almond butter.

Instant karma!

In a very subtle and sneaky attempt to not have to face into a place within me that still experiences lack, I had a huge lesson shoved in my face.

Cause and effect in action.

So many times we can’t SEE the effect of our actions.  But the universe was generous with me on this particular day.  I was gifted with the opportunity to experience that even when I am unable to SEE the direct effect of my actions, they have an effect.

On this day, the effect was only a $38 difference on my grocery tab and an extra half hour of my time. For that I am humbled.

In attempt to save a couple of dollars, I had gone out of alignment with my very own integrity and quickly rationalized my actions away.

I went back to my car with a deep sense of humility and gratitude.

As I let a wave of shame move through me, I was able to hold myself in compassion as I realized the wounded child within me is sometimes still in the driver’s seat of my life.  Sometimes she doesn’t feel safe, and I have to continue to be with her and let her know that she is.  So she doesn't manipulate in subtle ways or try to get something for nothing.

I know this isn’t pretty.  And I know you may or may not judge me for it.

But either way, I do hope that my almond butter story reminds you that there is no “them”.

It’s me.  And it’s you.

You see, corporations, governments, and nuclear power plants are organizations that are made up of humans.  Humans like you and me.  Humans who are not consciously trying to harm “us”.  They are trying to do the best they can.  They are trying to stay safe and be loved.  And like you and me, they have wounding.  And to try and stay safe or loved, we sometimes make choices that contradict the very essence of what we seek.  A healthy planet.  A sustainable food supply.  And so much more.

“They” do this, just as I contradicted the very essence of what I want and who I am by leaving the product number off of my almond butter.

The scale of this experience may seem small, but the impact of any place where I do not take responsibility for my actions – even when they are unconscious- is the same as for our governments and our corporations.

Something within me is different because of the lesson my weekend grocery shopping taught me.  Not only did it bring awareness to a place within me that needs my love and awareness so I can make amends and new choices going forward.  It also brought home my deep knowing that we are all doing the best we can.  And as long as we make the problems of our world about what “they” are doing, we are moving away from the very essence of who we are and the solutions that we seek.

YOU can make a difference in every moment that you choose to bring awareness to the place within you that you have been blind to and honor this place with your self-responsibility, compassion and love.  WE can make a difference in every moment that we remember there is no “they” to fight against.

I don’t share this to be all “sunshine and fairy tales love is all you need.” I believe our world needs real solutions to real challenges.  And I see that I am part of the problem as long as I pretend, cover-up, and move away from my own shadowy places.

As we each learn to love the shadowy places within ourselves, we release the fight against what the other is doing and what isn’t working. We can get busy creating lives that are in alignment with the essence of our very own being.  Lives that naturally bring forth creative and unifying solutions to the challenges we face.

Maybe, just maybe, that is all we're being asked to do in our awakening.

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