Bliss, gratitude, a cup of mocha latte and another attitude shift
Last Friday morning I arrived cheerfully at a “new” coffee shop… I’d not been to this shop before and had arranged to meet a business colleague there. I arrived early, before my colleague, found a great parking space waiting for me right in front, and walked into the bright, colorful interior full of anticipation. This was going to be a creative meeting of the minds and hearts, as well as a new java experience. A feast for the senses… yummy!
I approached the counter, looking up at the display board with all those wonderful choices of flavors and coffee concoctions. In front of me, a lady wearing a bright green jacket picked up and immediately dropped her thermal cup. She must have grabbed it by the top because she muttered out loud, “Damn, I guess I hadn’t closed it all the way.”
Her full cup had hit the hard ground, splashing its hot contents on the floor, on the side of the counter, and on me. As the barista who was working the cash register scrambled to get the mop, I grabbed a paper napkin to blot off my pants and boots. The lady in bright green who’d spilled the coffee suddenly went from self-annoyed and apologetic toward the barista to sounding horrified as she noticed I was wiping my pant leg, “Did I splash you too?” Apologizing some more, she retrieved her thermos from the floor, and a second barista worked on fixing her a fresh cup to go. The lady in bright green angled her head in my direction and said to the barista who’d returned to the register, “I’m buying whatever she is having.”
“No, no,” I said. “You don’t have to do that. Look my pants and boots are brown – it won’t even show.”
“I insist. It’ll help be balance out my karma.”
I looked at her. She was not just being polite. She looked back at me expectantly, earnestly. “Okay, I’ll accept. But I’ve never been here before so what do you recommend?”
The barista chimed in at that point, “Our lattes are really good.” So I ordered up a cup of mocha latte. The lady in bright green apologized again, handing over her credit card to the barista. I told her, “Oh, don’t worry about it. I’ll smell good all day since I’ll smell like coffee.”
She smiled. We introduced ourselves to each other. She went her own way, and I found my way through the crowded shop to a table so I could wait for my order and my business colleague. When it was ready, it was the most beautiful cup of latte I’d ever had… the barista had taken time to make a surface design with the cream. It was delicious, too. I couldn’t help reflecting about my own reaction. During the whole episode, I wasn’t once annoyed. There was never a moment of friction or agitation. How weird is that! Hot coffee on your pant leg and you’re still moving around in a state of bliss, a state of flow. Instead of being upset, I was grateful… grateful that getting spilled on by a stranger led to that FREE cup of beautiful mocha latte.
This reminds me of something I read recently about Byon Katie's The Work. In step three of the process, she suggests that you Turn it Around. This is the very stuff I've been doing with job seekers. I just call it The Attitude Shift. On her website, Byron Katie writes: "The turnarounds are your prescription for happiness. Live the medicine you have been prescribing for others. The world is waiting for just one person to live it. You're the one."
What do you know? I'm living the the medicine I've been prescribing for others!