Love & Karma & Starbucks

ImageThe new fad floating around Southern California isn’t a diet or a particular type of work out, but rather a behavior. As per about a year ago, all anyone can talk about is “Paying it Forward.” I even follow their Facebook page. The trendy behavior involves paying for a stranger’s meal or coffee without them knowing it was you. The trick is to suck up your pride and walk away before they can give you any credit. The most common way Southern Californians pay it forward, is by buying coffee for the person standing in line behind them. Easy peasy since we’re all addicted to Starbucks anyways.

Yesterday, as I stood in line at Starbucks, focusing hard on the serious job of Instagramming my salad, I noticed that the young woman’s card in front of me wasn’t going through and the barista looked discouraged. Her card was bent and the machine just wouldn’t read it. Needless to say, I volunteered to pay for her snack box. It’s a few bucks, but the barista and woman looked at me like I was a saint. At first the woman refused my offer, but upon insisting that “this type of shit happens to me all the time” she took me up on it.

The barista didn’t charge me for my re-fill and kept muttering under his breath, “that was really kind.” The woman I’d bought the snack box for wrote down her work email and website. She told me that she sold custom-made gloves for sporting activities and I should pick out something – free of charge.

Me, in my standard lack-of-coffee fog, couldn’t figure out why they were so impressed. All I did was “Pay it Forward,” not to mention I did it in a way where I was able to take credit for it – even less saintly than everyone else.

Later, when I told my boyfriend, he told me I needed to “cash in on that free pair of gloves!”

I was dumbfounded. I thought for sure everyone would understand where I was coming from. Instead I was sputtering an explanation.

I believe in karma. I believe everything comes back around when you least expect it but need it most. Neither Mas, nor I, play any sort of sport where we need gloves.

A few months ago, my best friend, whom I love to no end, told me that she and I both needed to stop loving people who didn’t love us back.

While I agree with this to an extent, I don’t believe that either one of us should stop loving anyone. The friends who struggle to be a good friend are the ones who need loving the most. It doesn’t mean that I always make an effort to hang out with these subpar friends, but I’ll be a shoulder they can lean on.

It always comes back around, even if it’s not coming from the same vessel.

I tried to explain to my friend, “Look how much you love me! How kind you are to me! I am so lucky to have you, and I believe that the love I put out into the world comes back to me through you! So many girls don’t have a best friend like you.”

Overall, the world is messy and imperfect. But I truly believe in Buddhism and the bodhisattva. I believe in “exchanging oneself for others.” I strive to open my heart to pain and suffering and turn that energy into love and goodness. If energy cannot be created or destroyed, how else are we going to promote love and peace? We can’t change people, but we can lead by example.


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