August 1, 2006    The Steps To My Store


It is one of those Saturday nights where everything is quiet and nothing is really happening. Arnold's Way had just finished one of those weeks realizing that what is really important in this world is establishing true world peace. It is disheartening to read the newspaper, listen to the news and realize that no matter what you do nothing will change other than your personal world of what exists within yourself. It is in my opinion that if one changes their diet from an animal based diet to a plant based diet then world peace can become a possibility.

It was the violence of the Middle East, the bombing in Iraq, the continual war in Afghanistan and the violence in Philly which inspired these thoughts, inspired this action and inspired this newsletter. I know deep down I am just a dot in the big scheme of things. I know deep down that these world confrontations are also just the tiniest of dots in the big scheme of things. Nature has a way of handling these events and placing them in proper perspective of what really is important and what it actually appears to be. I take all these negative news events and just twist them in a little ball and blow them away. They are just news event that could happen anywhere, anytime and even on my front door. It was on such a high consciousness of violence and world peace possibilities that I begin this newsletter. The reason being is you never ever really know what awaits us on a moment-to-moment basis. There is no givens of well-being. There is no givens of safety and there is no givens of certainty to the next destination. This became my topic of choice about the humbleness and graciousness of a given life and to be the proud recipient for every moment, every second as a blessing because you never know what the next moment may bring.

In fact, up until a week ago, I had chosen a completely different topic. I wanted to write of farms. I wanted to write of weeds and how they are silently disposed of without ever a thought of what more can be done with them. All these thoughts, all these weed possibilities and all these things that I am willing to share. The joys of making a scrumptious dandelion smoothie from weeds that gather on the edge of green bean plants. The euphoria of being gallantly rejuvenated with every swig of this exotic blend of dandelion weed, banana, date, apples, pears and lemon juice and all these mind boggling possibilities of what can be done with weed. All these things I would have written other than the fact of what happen to my store, to me and to all those who were effected by both.

My mind was racing like a NASCAR high-speed white tornado trying to create a relevant topic for this month's newsletter. I also thought of facial diagnosing. Wow, what a topic that would be. It is like I look at people and I see their every organ. Not that I want to do it but it just happens. Yuck: I feel their pain. I see what exactly they need to do in order to heal. Time after time my vision of their well being clearly comes into focus. In my mind being rock and rolling healthy until the day we die should be easy. To be able to dance, jump and run well into your nineties just like you did in high school is possible. In my mind being sick is abnormal. Diseases like cancer, which according to today's standards in the United States is our number 1 killer affecting one out of every two people. In my mind being radically healthy is so easy to attain without all those damn tests, without all those prescription drugs and without all those doctor visits. This, my friends, is my reality, my vision, and my mission. Most diseases clearly show up on your face before the doctor visit, before the test and what most important you already know when something is not right. The major question remains, what to do.

Diseases like liver, kidney, heart, constipation and colitis are all diseases that begin with clear indications on your face. Every line, every wrinkle, every dark spot and every movement of your body to a particular part of your face is an indication of an organ in the beginning stages of trouble. Our body strives for supreme perfection. If it has to create a happenstance that forces one to continually touch the lips to get the juices flowing in the stomach area it will do so. Keep in mind, like Holy Bats and jumping jeepers in the body, there are no accidents, ever. If it has to create deep dark circles under your eyes to show dehydration or an intake of heavily spiced food or too much protein intake it will do so. These are all the things that show up on one's face. I see the lines in their faces and I feel their energy being sapped and zapped by their dietary choices.

All these things I wanted to say. All these things I wanted to write about. All these thoughts came to an abrupt halt like a mystical rainstorm that poured poisonous target darts from out of the sky. On Monday July 24th, Arnold's Way was faced with their greatest challenge in 15 years of business. It was one of those rare events for lack of a better word that began as a nuisance and became a full fledge major deal. The truth be told it had nothing to so with my store, nothing to do with my health and nothing to do with anybody or anything that was even remotely connected to me. It had to do with the steps leading up to my store. It had to do with guys just hanging around. It had to do with a bunch of guys who had no jobs, no place to go and nothing else better to do than just sit down. They were always very polite. They were never mean spirited. They were just nice guys with beards in their 20's who were just sitting around. What started as two guys about a month ago just sitting around on the steps suddenly or quietly evolved into 10 to 12 guys just sitting around from about 12 noon to 8 p.m. Although, the guys were nice, although they never caused any problem, what are the odds of a customer who doesn't know the circumstance and doesn't know the internal gist of the make up of these young men debating whether they should take a chance and walk up the step thru the blatant bodily blockage of the steps leading to our door. I, too, was in somewhat of a quandary. To say my business was suffering would be an understatement, to say that I wasn't bothered to see these guys in the morning when I went to work, in the afternoon when I left for an errand and in the evening when I left work was a little to say the least annoying.

On Monday July 24th I literally reached my boiling point after I had one of my slowest days in a long time and after I had one of my slowest weeks in a long time. I was ready to do something. The question was what happened that Monday evening? I was bothered. I was transfixed on the notion of creating my own peaceful solution. I was in my own Iraq. I was in my own Israel and Lebanon war. I also realize that violence doesn't work. I also realize that the police were not an option. All these thoughts were running thru my mind like scared deer in the middle of the night that suddenly were blinded by white blaring lights.

What happened next could only be called unbelievable. After almost 60 days of these guys just hanging around on the steps and dong nothing, after myself worrying almost 24 hours of what are my options, I was greeted on Tuesday morning by nobody. Strange, I thought. As the day progressed not one single guy showed up on the step. I was somewhat perplexed, somewhat relieved and somewhat bewildered. I thought to myself my prayers were answered. I felt that my karmic deeds had created this. On that Tuesday morning taking a raw food approach on what should I do, I began volunteering at a local farm. In my naivety, I thought if did a good deed, things would get better at the store. In the same vain of thought I gave my one full time employee a week vacation. That, my friends, was my answer for all those guys sitting on my steps. That, my friends, was my way of increasing my good karma to help get rid of the bad karma. Although it sounds pretty ridiculous and although it sounds like a weird approach to a serious situation, the day I began this unrealistic approach was the first day in two months that there were no stragglers on the steps.

On Wednesday July 26th, I once again had my store blocked by a wave of strangers, by a wave of men who were very nice and were very polite. Nevertheless, to those customers who did not know how nice and polite they were, it wasn't worth the risk of going between them to climb the steps to my store. In other words they were intimidated to find out the truth of who these men were. I was in somewhat of a quandary on what to do. After many consultations, many meditations, I felt there was only one solution. I placed myself at total risk. I decided not to call the police. I decided not to confront them. I decided not to call a meeting of all the storeowners. I decided not to wave a big black broom at them. I chose the most direct path and the most in harmony with my being. I decided to confront the leader in solitude. I decided to get to know his name and what makes him tick. I wanted to know what magical charm does he have that 11 guys will follow him. This whole scenario intrigued me. When the time came and moment arose I was right there. I questioned him on his leadership ability. I questioned him on how and what it takes to become a leader. I was in deep admiration of his ability to lead. I also asked him to move so he wouldn't block my path or those of my customers. I had placed myself in that risk of confrontation in a gentle caring way. I was willing to risk everything for that sake of peace for my customers, for my store and for myself. If it was meant to be it will be. I was ready to close the store at the end of my lease if he and his 10 friends decided not to move on. I was literally in a state of shock when he said okay. I was somewhat taken aback. I had not expected it to be so easy. I had not expected that they would move their territory rights to another place.

About one hour later I went outside and there they were still sitting, still bothering no one and still blocking the step. I stepped outside alone but not afraid. I was in a sea of peace and harmony. I felt no anger. I felt no harm. I felt at ease with what I was about to say. I praised them for their values. I praised them for their quietness. I praised them for who they were and what they were about. They were young men who were trying to find their place in this difficult world. I also explained my situation, of what I represent and how my customers are starting to complain because of the blockage of the steps leading up to my door. This is when the silence grew. This is when I had to make myself heard in both a serious and caring tone for their needs. This is when I said my business couldn't survive as long as you are blocking my steps. This is when all hell should have broken loose. It didn't. This is when I should have heard some type of lip. I didn't. This is when I should have gotten some type of attitude. I didn't. This is when they all said okay and will be conscious of my store hours and my business and will keep a very low profile. This is exactly what happened. The next few days I haven't seen anyone around. In the end I felt a little bad. I didn't get to know everyone's name, what they did and where they lived. I didn't really get to know them. They lived their place in peace as I lived mine. We weren't meant to occupy the same place at the same time. There is a message in all that happened. There is a humbling learning experience in all this. What it is I am not exactly sure.

I thank you for your time,