"Everything is material for the seed of happiness, if you look into it with inquisitiveness and curiosity. The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment. There always is the potential to create an environment of blame -- or one that is conducive to loving-kindness."--Pema Chodron
I love Pema Chodron, and I think she gives some of the best guidance out there for living life in the moment, but sometimes I find it kind of hard to put into actual practice. At times I find myself wondering if your average seeker (i.e. me) can ever really get it or if you pretty much have to be a Buddhist nun.
Today I got confirmation that eventually these things do sink in and make a difference in ones everyday life.
Seven months ago we began a bathroom remodel that was going to take a couple of months.
We decided not to use a general contractor because we wanted to use our favorite plumber, our favorite electrician, our favorite flooring guy, etc. The upside of this decision is we get to work with people we trust and whose work we admire. The downside of this decision is that seven months later we still have to go downstairs to pee.
Today was supposed to be the day we had waited for. The toilet, sink and shower were to be set and installed.
The plumber arrived and got to work. He got the toilet in, the water turned back on and then he looked in the bowl.
And there, right where everything lands, was a crack. An imperfection in the porcelain just where you don't want an imperfection to be. Crap!
We peered into the bowl together, trying to convince ourselves that this was something we could live with, but his expression and my gut said otherwise.
So he pulled the toilet, cleaned off the wax ring and got it ready to go back, while I called the store we had purchased it from.
The woman who answered the phone did not instill confidence. Her voice was more "get lost" than "how may I help you?" and I braced myself for a fight. I would return this toilet or get my money back come hell or high water. I was not going to live with this defective bowl.
Then came my Pema moment; time stopped and Wisdom stepped in.
Today Wisdom spoke through this Pema quote: "What if, instead of getting all uppity and demanding, you just wait and see what happens? What if you were curious instead of bolshy?"
So I was. And the woman surprised me. After asking if I had my receipt she confirmed that they had my toilet in stock and told me to come on in and grab a new one.
Even more surprising? When I got to the store she was the one to help me, and she not only gave me an exchange without any hassle, she took me right through the back of the store and had the guys in the back help me load it up right away.
If I had met her with the defensiveness I felt when she answered the phone I am quite certain things would have turned out differently, but because I brought curiosity and not blame, what I got in return was courtesy and great customer service.