Red Light Meditation

In addition to seeing clients in my private practice I work 2 days a week as a barista at Starbucks.

Now I have been trying to bring meditation into the Starbucks space, in any way shape or form, for a while now, previously while I was a supervisor I would invite the baristas to do a 3 minute breath practice with me before we headed to the floor for our morning rush. I had nearly forgotten this quest until the drive through customer I will introduce you to below came through.

One of my favourite roles at my current location is drive through, the buzzer goes off to let me know there is a car there and I greet the customer with ‘welcome to Starbucks, how are you today?’

When I ask the question I mean it. I have been met with a whole range of answers, from customers who are elated to be there grabbing their beverage to those who are bereft having just lost their mother, I try to make space for whatever comes through.

One day a woman drove through who was stressed and I recalled a book I had read years ago called Peace is Every Step by the late Ticht Nacht Han where he talks about turning anything into a meditation even waiting at a red light. I shared this with the customer and invited her to use every red light as an opportunity to just pause and breath. She thanked me as I handed her order to her and she drove away, I went about my day completely forgetting this interaction.

Fast forward a few months and I was on drive through again and this woman pulled up and said ‘you were the one who told me about the red light meditation, you changed my life.’ I was taken aback and grateful that my suggestion had worked so well for her, I see her more often now and am always happy to hear that she is feeling more centred.

I love this red light meditation, I guess I will call it, because it just shifts the perspective on something we often find frustrating. Internally saying ‘oh man, another red light!’ possibly perceiving it as something that is slowing us down, when now it can be transformed into a gift and a moment of pause.

I hope you make time to pause and take a breath at a red light, at each subway stop or at each cross walk depending on how you travel or finding some other moment to use.

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