Something More Ennobling Than Fear
On an unexpectedly bright morning, I walked into a coffee shop.
It had the instant familiarity of the big chain that it was - colors, lighting, sugars and milks all just so.
A woman with blonde hair came to the register. What can I get for you? she asked.
I ordered a coffee. Then, because it made me uncomfortable, I added, Any discounts today?
I didn't need a discount. I probably didn't need a coffee, either. What I did need - what I've always needed - was to gently push my own edge.
The woman looked at me with surprise. I was tempted to say, Just kidding! or laugh to show I wasn't really serious.
Then, she tilted her head, touched the register screen, and said, Sure! It's beautiful out. 15% off.
Oh my gosh! That's lovely of you, I smiled at her. Thank you. I got my coffee, thanked her again, and walked out feeling victorious.
But the discount wasn't the victory; it was a fringe benefit. The victory was in doing the uncomfortable thing, in pushing that edge we've each got.
Asking for discounts is one of my many edges. And I don't always push them. This turtle can often stay safe in her shell.
But when I do stick my neck out, no matter the outcome, I get this incredible surge of vitality and aliveness. Which, I've come to believe, is how it feels when we choose to act from something more ennobling than fear.