Life Lessons: A Perfect Package

by stewart

Over the years, I realized

School and learning was not the same thing.

While I grew to love learning

Often school was dull and repetitious.


School is a preparation for life.

Learning is what life is about.

*       *

Life Lesson

The other day I was in our local post office, purchasing some stamps. As I made payment, I noticed a package behind the counter that was wrapped in plain brown paper, according to Post Office Regulation; and remarked to the Post Master, who knows just about everyone in our small town, what a great, clean and precise job that person did folding and wrapping. I couldn’t do as good, even when I try; which I usually do. I make my cut-up brown bag, paper package, as neat as possible. I fold all the edges, neatly holding them down with clear plastic tape; trying to match and fold sides, like a Christmas present, evenly, with a creased edge, straight line on each seam. My best effort, nothing like the one I saw before me. To me, this package was a real work of art and craftsmanship.

When I pointed this out to the Post Master, he replied, “Foreigners.  They generally do a much better job preparing their packages; seem to take real pride in wrapping the paper, addressing and taping. You should see some of the packages I get from Americans: they use all kinds of tape, including duck tape and the paper wrapping is all over the place. Also, they write addresses using crayons, large markers, and who knows what else.”

Then he continued talking about a local fellow, now retired who didn’t work for the Post Office and sent out the best prepared, shipping materials and knew all the least expensive ways to do things. At the time, he knew more about Post Office regulations then he did; usually when our Post Master got stuck on a problem, he called him for advice. This fellow was a real master at his craft.

What I Learned

As I walked out of the Post Office, I thought to myself: the opportunity to reach higher and achieve human excellence is present in every moment and each action (sending a package); yes it is possible to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.  All we require is right focus; this was my life learning lesson for the day.

Follow-up Thoughts

Over the last few days, I have wondered the following about this human behavior lesson.

  • All experience resonates on different levels of awareness.  In this interchange, which could have been a more routine one, I could have paid for the stamps and not taken the discussion further. Also, the Post Master might not have been as chatty and forth coming with his reply.
  • Was this a factual and/or bigoted account about “foreigners” doing a better job?  Certainly there are less harsh ways to categorize travelers; for example, ‘people from outside this country;’ and what does this choice of words say about our very friendly Post Master or his background, if anything? Further, does this ability to do a better job extend into other areas as well?
  • Human excellence is possible in any endeavor.  That is the goal of human development systems like Sufism.  Using the moment’s opportunity to reach higher.
  • Teach your children to be excellent at something; then perhaps they can extend this ability to other areas. We all have many hidden talents.
  • In order to mail a package, think of the all the systems and preparations that were necessary and in place.  In so many ways, we are indebted to those who came before us: money and stamps had to be invented; packaging and delivery systems had to be created and operating; commodities had to be created that required mailing to distant locations; the automobile and airplane had to be invented; and to address packages, reading and writing had to emerge. I could go on, but by now I think you are getting the picture concerning the mosaic and interplay of factors, in our daily life, that we often take for granted.
  • In this whole scenario, the concept of Design is at play.  Travelers have to work and strive, but the outcome must be an inherent potential of the situation. Yes, we can reach higher and attain human excellence, however, it must be in our reach/capacity and possible.  I wonder how much practice it would take for me to wrap a really excellent package. In this area, my talents are pretty minimal.
  • Spiritually, we all can reach higher and make this world and our life a little better. However, this must be something we all want, work toward, and a possibility.  Often, I wonder if this is something collectively that we want? A better life for everyone. Somehow I just don’t think so.
  • With all the problems and changes going on in this world, this is all I have to think about? Pretty sad. Wrapping the perfect package: I really need to get out and get a real life.

*     *

You are a potential

Waiting to bud.


You are the door

Which blocks your way?

Pick-up the key.

Open the lock.


The key is inside of you.

*     *


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alaysia March 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Returning your own words back to you… with all the problems and changes going on in this world, this is exactly what we need to be thinking about. This kind of thinking will only lead to better things. You are the perfect example. So no, not so sad after all.


stewart March 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Again, thanks for your kind words. One day, perhaps, all these words and their noble sentiments will flower into actions.


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