I’m currently working in a cafe not far from my home. It’s not my ‘big vision’ for my life but it’s a great practice ground to be the best I can be. Each day I challenge myself to be the best barista/sandwich maker/seller/table cleaner, whatever it takes and I’m sweetly surprised at how I’m excelling and how much I’m enjoying the job.
Until yesterday…at the end of every day the left over food gets thrown away. I rescue what I can carry and give it to people sleeping on the street between the cafe and my home, a stretch of half a mile. There are a LOT of homeless people here and during my time at the cafe I’ve developed relationships with many of them. I share food with them and they come and taste samples when I’m offering them outside the shop.
One homeless woman has begun to come in to the cafe to ask me to charge her powerbank so she can run her mobile phone. I plug it in the kitchen and give it to her after I have locked up and left for the day. Yesterday the business owner followed me in to the kitchen after she had left to go back to her tent (she and her partner have an amazing makeshift home in a shop doorway) and told me how we couldn’t do that, because she didn’t spend any money in the cafe and she threw her cigarette butt on the floor outside and he didn’t have to give any other reason why we couldn’t charge her powerbank. I felt deeply upset and angry, furious actually.
About an hour later a couple of homeless guys came to taste croissants I was offering outside the cafe. Tiny little pieces that we offer to anyone as a way to invite people in to the shop. Lots of people also stop to try the food, I’ve noticed, as a way of connecting, to have a conversation with someone (me), to engage. I see it as valuable PR and do an excellent job. So as I was chatting to the homeless guys and they were tasting the food, the business owner left his seat (I saw from the corner of my eye) and was hovering behind me ready to send these two chaps away.
I felt really angry after these two events and noticed myself start to behave in odd ways, but mostly I was plotting, seriously plotting, how to invite ALL the homeless people in the city to come to the shop and spend even £1 and stay in the cafe all day to charge their power banks and use the bathroom!
My model went like this…
C – Life
T – it’s not fair
F – Angry
A – Subversive, disruptive, argumentative, undermine authority and rules
R – Inequalities seem very clear
My new model still feels a little clunky, though perhaps that is common whilst I practice the new belief? I’d appreciate your feedback
C – Life
T – I can let people be who they are and as they are ( I noticed that whilst I valued the homeless people that I wasn’t valuing the business owner and crazily my brain was making them unequal. They’re all human beings, right?)
F – expansive and peaceful
A – I can let people be who they are (is having an action that is the same as a thought correct?)
R – I don’t have to interfere, control, fix or manipulate (I notice I was trying to fix things for the homeless people and also do nice things so they’d like me, and so they’d think better of me that the business owner – crazy!)
I can relax and trust that it’s all as it is meant to be.