from Krishnadas

After a fire in the kitchen, Earth Song Health Food Store and Café had to close for six months. When we reopened, it was a struggle to win back our clientele and make up for lost sales. I was the manager and regularly put in fourteen-hour days, sleeping several nights a week in the basement “bunk house.” It wasn’t worth a forty-mile round trip on a winding mountain road just to spend a few hours in my own bed.

It was almost Christmas and we had planned a gala event, hoping to raise our magnetism and end the year on a better financial note. The flyer looked good, and I sent it to be printed two-up on a full-size sheet of paper, then cut in half.

There would be hundreds of cars in town that night for another event, and we planned to leaflet all of them. The print shop was closing for the holidays and all day I kept trying to get over there. Finally, just fifteen minutes before the shop closed, I sent a friend to get the flyers.

Over my desk I had two pictures of my Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, each, to me, showing a completely different mood. One I called the “Warrior Pose,” the other “Compassion.” Depending on the task at hand and the need of the moment, I appealed to one or the other for strength and guidance.

My “office” was nothing more than the passageway leading to the public bathroom. There was a doorway to the office, but no door, and therefore no privacy. Even when I was at the end of my rope—as I felt that day—there was no place to hide.

When my friend handed me the flyers, what little rope I had left frayed and snapped. They were printed fine, but they were uncut—two copies side by side on a full-size page instead of the neat, half-page flyers I expected.

How was I supposed to deal with this? The print shop was closed. We had to get out on the street before the cars drove away. Who was going to sit down now and cut apart hundreds of flyers? And how funky would that look if we hand-cut them with scissors?!

I threw the flyers on my desk and myself into my chair and looked from one to the other of my pictures of Master. I couldn’t figure out what he wanted from me, or what more I could give him.

In retrospect it is obvious I overreacted. At the time it was the best I could do.

A voice behind me called my name, “Krishnadas?” I whirled around, ready to take out my frustration on whoever had the misfortune to be standing behind me.

It was Cecilia, a former employee, leaning casually against the door jamb. Dangling from her right hand, as if it were her purse, was a huge paper cutter!

“Why are you carrying that?!” I cried out to her.

Not everyone walks around with a paper cutter; still, my response seemed to her a little exaggerated. “A friend wanted to borrow it . . .” she began.

“Give that to me, I need it!” I declared, reaching out and taking it from her.

I looked then at Master, at “Compassion” and the “Warrior.” Chastened, I said, “Sir, why do I ever doubt you?”