The other day I was at the grocery store and there was a gentleman there who caught my eye. He looked like a cross between a pirate and Robin Leach. Robust, hair pulled back into a ponytail, white suit and gold chains and rings shining on his tanned skin. I thought he looked fabulous! He looked interesting like he had a story to tell. In my opinion, he appeared as though he was living his truth and owning it!
I saw him when I first entered and then I saw him again when I was going to check out. When he walked by me, I smiled at him. I didn’t say “hello” and smile, I just smiled. I thought my smile conveyed a warm greeting. He apparently thought otherwise. He sneered at me and with a tone of anger and disgust said: “What the h#@$ are you smiling at?!” My response was, “I’m smiling to say “hi.”” As he continued walking by me, I didn’t hear all of what he mumbled next except the word “B#$@&*!” I was surprised by his reaction. For an instant, I wanted to defend myself, say something sassy, or cower away. Instead, I stood there with a smile on my face and took a deep breath. I relaxed my body, which wanted to contract and opened my heart. I continued taking deep breaths to feel and let all the sensations arising in my body move through.
As I stood in line, I was trying to understand how someone could be so angry and upset by a smile. Maybe he was having a horrible day or maybe smiling reminded him of a scary clown. The more I thought about it the more I thought, maybe he was picking up on my internal opinion about his appearance. I didn’t think I was judging him, but, in a way, I WAS judging him. I judged his appearance as an interesting looking pirate/Robin Leach look-alike. I am sure to some people that would seem offensive, but I consider this a compliment. Maybe he just sensed I was thinking SOMETHING about him, which made him feel angry.
I think most people on the planet would agree that a smile is a kind gesture. This encounter was a great reminder to me that this is not always the case. A reminder that there are no absolutes in this life (except our transition from this body.) We don’t always know what someone is thinking, or where someone’s coming from and we don’t know how someone’s going to receive what we say or do. I was a little taken aback that a smile could actually create feelings of anger in somebody. I will never know his side of the story, why he was so upset when I smiled at him, and I don’t need to know. What is important to me is that instead of engaging with his angry energy, I chose to relax my body, stay open and focus on my breath, which created peace within me. It felt good to me to be able to create peace in that particular moment when I had a choice on how to react. Peace begins with each and every one of us, and we have a choice in each moment whether we want to nurture violence or peace on the planet.
I will ALWAYS choose peace and to smile.
Sending love, light and peace out to the world♥