Chasing shoplifters in waking dreams

Joey Garcia

I tried to do my civic duty, but the result was spiritually disheartening. I saw a guy running from a home improvement store while looking over his shoulder and I thought he must have stolen something. I tried to followed him in my car, but when he saw me, he ran off. I went in to the store and asked if they’d had a shoplifter. The clerk told me they had, and when I said that I didn’t recover the goods but knew where the guy went, she said, “It’s no big deal” and dismissed me. As I left I saw the shoplifter in the store. I told a clerk that I could identify him, but the clerk said that he was helping a customer. “Do you mean that I care more about what happened in your store than you do?” I asked. “That’s about right,” he said, and turned away. I hoped to stop the shoplifter, who was young, from turning into a criminal. I feel bad; I tried to help.

I, too, wish that you had been received with appreciation. Your story unfolds like a dream, so let’s interpret it that way. I’ve had dreams where a crime takes place and I cannot reach 9-1-1. That means it isn’t a physical emergency. It’s an emotional or spiritual emergency. With that in mind, I wonder what occurred in your life earlier that day or week. I ask because your question to the clerk is so powerful. Here’s a translation to use while looking in the mirror: “Do you mean that I care more about me than you do?” In your life, relationship or work, are you split between being the disaffected store clerk—interested only in focusing on the task at hand—and the one who is willing to step outside the accepted bounds of behavior to protect what you believe is right?

The clerk was only doing his job. Clerks don’t stop shoplifters; they report them to store security. Your job was to call the police or speak to store security. I don’t criticize you for stepping in. I’ve done similar things myself before someone pointed out that the culprit could have had a knife or a gun. That comment brings me to my knees. I’m so glad you’re safe. Please get a cell phone and call the cops next time!

I helped a friend move to San Diego. In the process, we spent 16 fantastic hours a day together. At night, we slept in separate rooms, but the passion and positive feelings were still better than my honeymoon. I wanted more than our mental intimacy but I never asked. We have been friends for three years and have dated over 40 times. Am I spoiling the great time we had together by wanting more? Are there some people who no longer have physical intimacy with others? By the way, I have kids and she does not.

Kids? Honeymoon? If you are married, run to the phone and make an appointment with a counselor so you can clear up whatever is inspiring you to seek intimacy outside of marriage. Single? Read on. It sounds like you began this relationship as a non-sexual friendship, which means you were hanging out, not dating. Is it really sex that you want? I think you desire deeper intimacy on all levels. Will that spoil what you have? It’s a mystery.

It’s no secret that some people abstain from sex. The only way to find out if your friend wants a sexual relationship with you is to ask. But first, notice if you really want a bond with her or whether you lack experience with mental intimacy and thus assume that sex should follow it. That belief ruins a lot of great friendships between men and women.

Meditation of the week
“Emotion without action is irrelevant,” said Jody Williams, who received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work on banning land mines. Do you channel your emotional energy into action or reaction?

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