He is standing at the Parking Pay Machine as I pull into the spot next to the “Pay Here” machine in the parking lot I use every day when I’m downtown.
I recognize his frustration. The hand moving forward. Moving back. Forward. Back.
Card in. Card out. Insert again. Remove again. Card in. Card out. A repetitive motion seeking a different outcome and receiving the same every time.
It’s not uncommon to witness this. I know. The Parking Pay Machine is a temperamental beast. It spits out annoying messages with ease. “Card not readable.” “Not valid.” “Declined.” It seems to have a repertoire of messages to thwart the most optimistic of parking payee. Maybe it knows to not pay gets the system more dollars…. 🙂 No. That would be nefarious. Underhanded. Parking lot owners would never resort to ticketing and towing. They’re not in cahoots with tow truck companies. Right? ….
As it is, the man at the machine is getting frustrated. It is rippling in the air around him as I step out of my car and walk towards where he stands in front of the recalcitrant Parking Pay Machine.
“Did you try the other machine?” I ask.
He sighs. “Yeah. But it won’t even take a card. It’s completely out of order.”
He puts his card in again. Takes it out. Steps aside. He turns towards where I stand, wallet in hand, credit card set to go. “Here you try it. Maybe if you use it you’ll reset it.”
I insert my card. Yes! The machine likes me. It really likes me. It also likes my $20 to park for the day.
It spits out my receipt. I turn back to the man. “I feel like I’ve just won at a slot machine you got all warmed up!”
He laughs. Steps up to the machine. “Ok. Here goes.”
He puts his card in. The message flashes. “Card unreadable.”
He does it again. I give him full marks for persistence.
Steps back. Glances at his watch. Looks around as if to say, Ok Universe. Deliver me a miracle. Steps back to the machine for one more crack at the jackpot. No go.
“Here,” I say, taking my credit card out of my wallet again. “Let me pay.”
He looks at me, surprised. “What?”
“I’ll pay for yours. It obviously likes me.” And I smile.
“You’d do that for a stranger?”
“I’m sure you would too.”
I put my card in and the machine decides to play it cute. “Card not valid.”
I try again.
Card not valid.
Third time lucky?
And it is. Suddenly, the machine likes me again. I pay for the man’s parking, he takes his ticket, thanks me effusively and we both go on to work out our day, our hearts lighter than when we first encountered each other at the Parking Pay Machine.
Last night, in my Living an Enlightened Life, we explored the question, “how would my life be different if I lived with the evolution of consciousness and culture as my first priority?”
It was a deep and meaningful conversation.
I’d be consciously taking action to bring the ideas of living from my authentic self, replied one of the participants on the call.
I’d live from that place that doesn’t ask, ‘what’s the payoff for me’ and instead operates intuitively from the knowing of ‘what really matters’, said another.
I would be motivated by a sense of the deep significance I bring to the world, said one man. In that knowing, he would transcend ego and take responsibility for his cosmic significance knowing how important he really is in the world.
I listen to the responses and wonder, how would I be in the world if I lived with the evolution of consciousness and culture were my first priority?
I’d pay for someone else’s parking because it is an opportunity to be of service.
We are all connected.
And when our ripple sends out waves of generosity, goodness, kindness, we create ripples of generosity, goodness, kindness.
It is, The Ripple Effect.
Creating a world of reciprocity in doing what we want to create more of in the world.
Creating a world of possibility where our focus on acting for the ‘greater good’ motivates our every expression of our shared humanity.
And just so you know, there was a moment where I wondered if I was being scammed. If maybe this guy did this all the time. But seriously? Is it worth it? To think ‘less than’ of my fellow human being?
I like the feeling of knowing I could make a difference in someone’s life simply by sliding my credit card into a machine and getting a ticket to spit out. In that act, I’m the winner. Because in that act, I let go of our separateness and move into that place where everything I do creates the kind of ripple I want to be in the world. And in that rippling place of our human condition shimmering in delight, miracles happen.