I was a pledge to do the dreaded Costco run for groceries for my family this week. Even pre-Rona, I deliberately scheduled any necessary trips to this wholesale madhouse during off-peak times. Crowds make me nervous and I am not even mildly good at keeping my spot in a long line or grabbing the last of the latest chemically-laden germ fighting product. And the people at my local Costco are savage. They have no patience and seem to be pushing their carts through the aisles like race cars. Not caring much for apologies if they run their carts into the back of my heels. In Core Energetics, we call this the Lower Self or our more primitive reactions which can include rage, fear, hostility, greed, materialism. We all have this part of ourselves. I have it too. And we might have seen it showing up more in recent weeks during this crisis.
I live in an inter-generational household, this includes grandma, my parents, and my siblings. So this grocery run is not about stockpiling but getting what we actually use for the week. Normally my parents make this weekly trip to the store together. But right now we are not letting my parents do grocery shopping anymore because of the risk of Rona. My father is not happy having his offspring tell him what to do. My mother is not having the only time she actually goes out with her spouse (weekly grocery run date?).
My sister volunteered like a pledge in The Hunger Games. This love and generosity is her Higher Self showing up. She then asked if I would go with her because she "did not want to go alone." I was filled with anxiety and dread at the thought of it. I said we should go first thing in the morning before it got too crazy. My sister had a divide and conquer strategy. I think she thrives and also enjoys getting into her Lower Self in these situations. So she handled the aisles where there may be a need for aggression, possibly pushing and fighting (toilet paper, paper towels, and Clorox wipes). While I was to pick up the items from the places where there would be few (if any) customers to confront (ie fruits and vegetables aisles).
We brought gloves with us. We weren’t sure whether we were suppose to wear them. It reminds me of when I go to parties (remember those) and am not sure if I am overdressed or underdresssed. I don't know until I am actually inside. As we walked up to get our shopping cart, we saw that everyone was indeed wearing gloves. They placed alot of signs around the store, telling us to socially distance in the store. They had some limits on some of the items (eggs, cans of tuna..). Had we been 20 minutes earlier we might have gotten Clorox wipes before they ran out but no shot in hell of getting toilet paper or paper towels this time. It did not feel like the same time or country anymore. Things look different and I felt myself touch into my fear of what this means and could mean.
Well it rained that Saturday morning and so we think that is why it was not crowded. People were a little edgy but were civil. And these are our first world, middle class problems right now. But that does not mean we can't, shouldn't and won't experience fear. We do feel fear. If we are not in our Lower Self, we can be in our Social Mask. Which is an inauthentic outward showing of peace, love, or power. We can also move through our Lower Selves to get to a Higher Self where we are in touch with our true love, true peace, true leadership, and generosity. As we move through this crisis (and our lives) we will show up in all three of these, sometimes in our Social Mask, in our Lower Selves, and in our Higher Selves at different moments throughout our days.
This experience actually made me thankful that my family and I are healthy and that we have the means to get groceries we need and want. Thankful that people were civil and that the store was stocked with most of the items we came for. Thankful that I live with family so I am not completely physically isolated from people during this time.
Today my mom called her mom (my grandmother) in India. They are facing the threat of this virus and are being put under restrictions. But things I imagine are different there. I am concerned. And also am lucky to be in the United States. Things are not perfect here. But are alot better than a number of other places to live. More feeling of gratitude and also love and concern for others.
What are your grocery store stories during Corona? Share in a comment below.
Zeshan Mustafa, JD, CCEP, RYT (200) is a Somatic Practitioner of a creative and transformational body-based modality called Core Energetics. Her focus is on intimacy, relationships and cultural competence. She offers individual sessons in Washington, DC and also online. She also facilitate groups and workshops on Core Energetics and Cross-Racial Healing for Mental Health Professionals, Teachers, and Organizations. You may reach her at Zeshan1226@gmail.com