With apologies and thanks to Ella Fitzgerald, I want to share about my first visit to the recently opened Harlem Whole Foods today. The song came to mind soon after I walked into the store and was unexpectedly hit with a wave of sorrow.
Ms Fitzgerald sings about feeling all alone and unloved because Spring reminds her of a departed lover. Today, my feeling of being alone and unloved surfaced because the sun was shining through the windows of a bustling, spacious, clean, fresh-food and grocery store.
That sense memory is connected to me tagging along with my mother to these kinds of stores. I grew up in Australia, so it was pretty much always sunny, even in Winter. It wasn't a particularly traumatic experience, per se, going grocery shopping with my mother, it was just that my whole experience of my parents was lonely.
And I kinda knew that sharing a trip to the grocery store was supposed to be sort of intimate and happy and silly—full of sacred ordinary moments; the kind of moments that make up a day, and a week, and a life. But traipsing around in the grocery with my mother was not full of contented, easy, loving intimacy, it was flooded with loneliness because of the abusive environment at home.
When I grew older and went grocery shopping for myself, it wasn't better, it was worse. I had thought it would be better, but it was worse because those feelings were still there and I hadn't expected them to be. I had expected the feelings to vanish. But feelings do not die unless we express them. And these feelings of loneliness and sorrow were demanding to be expressed. I would suddenly be crying in the store, or so anxious I couldn't remember what I had come in for. Cigarettes helped to stop me feeling so much, so they were definitely in the shopping cart.
Today, in Harlem Whole Foods, I didn't sob or forget why I was there; and I'm not smoking a cigarette right now. These days, when these sense memories surface like a sea monster ready to swallow me alive, I greet them peacefully, and turn the moment into a sacred one, for myself.
If you'd like my help to learn how to turn every moment into something sacred; to take control of your own happiness after trauma, I'm here for you.