by Michael D. McCarty

Story Summary

When faced with a potentially explosive situation, Michael McCarty decides to let love guide his actions and words. The result is one that only love can achieve.

Discussion Questions



  • Crossing Cultures
  • Living and Traveling Abroad

Full Transcript
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Some of life’s funkiest experiences make some of the best stories. It was 1999, and I was traveling around the south of India. Going to temples and ashrams and doing my, oome, spiritual thing and getting my spiritual groove on. Two friends of my, mine and I had arrived at Pondicherry to visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. We got to the bus station. My two friends went directly to the main ashram hotel, The Park Guesthouse. I told them I would get there a little later. Wasn’t worried about getting a room. It was the hot season in the south of India, 120 degrees in the shade, and according to the guide book, nobody in their right mind would be there, ‘cept me and my friends. I showed up to the hotel about an hour or so after my friends had gotten there. As I’m walking up the steps to the lobby, I notice that this elderly Indian woman gives me a real dirty look, and says something to the man sitting behind the desk. As I walk up to this man, he says, “Can I help you?”

I said, “Yes, I’ll like a room.”

“We don’t have any rooms.” Keys, up and down, all over the board.

I said, “Well, did so and so, and so and so, check in?” Asking about my two friends, who just happened to be white.

He said, “Yes.” Now I’m picking up on something. Duh! But I don’t want to believe what I’m picking up on because I’m at an ashram, a oome, spiritual place, but I maintain my spiritual equanimity.

“When will you have some rooms,” I asked.

“Maybe in a day or two.”

“Alright, I’ll go check in another hotel.”

The next morning I’m having breakfast with my friends in that hotel’s restaurant. There’s another guy I know who has checked into the hotel after I’d been by there, the previous evening. Now I maintain a positive attitude. Some rooms must have suddenly become available. I go to the lobby to check it out.

There is this woman sitting behind the desk, the woman who would given me a dirty look today before, checking some people in. I stand off to the side to wait for her to take care of her business. She looks at me and says, “What do you?” with attitude.

And I say, “Well, I came to see if you have some rooms.”

“No, we don’t have any rooms and this isn’t just some ashram. This is for people who are coming for Sri Aurobindo Ashram and, and only rooms for people who are coming to the Ashram!” Like I’m halfway around the world and I don’t know this? Now I am…perturbed. I’m mad. I’ve had enough of this town. I had this ashram. I make arrangements to leave the following evening.

The next morning, I go back to have breakfast with my friends in the hotel restaurant. I am physically barred from entering and told that I have to go get this…person’s permission to go into the restaurant. Time out. You’re talking about your former 60’s militant. I know how to yell, scream, and fuss, ain’t done it in a while but I still remember how. But…I maintain my spiritual equanimity.

I go to the lobby, I say, “Madam, is there some problem? I’m just going to have breakfast with my friends in a restaurant. May I go in?”

“No, you go and wait in the lobby!” Oh, its on now! She done messed with the wrong person.

I’m getting raise some Cain, up in here. And just as I’m working myself up, this voice in my head says, “This is a test. It’s easy to love those that love you. The test is to love those that hate you.” And I figured this woman qualifies.

Now, you must understand love was not uppermost in my mind, in terms of things I wanted to send her. I can think of a hot fiery place I would joyfully have sent her, and joyfully use my size 12’s to help her get there. So, I’m thinking love. I would love…I’m thinking ’bout the Fred Sanford kind of a love. But then I remember, auras, the energy that surrounds every living thing. And I remember reading that pink was the color that represented Divine Love. And I figure we definitely need some Divine Love up in here. So mentally, I envelop her in this bubble of pink light and I started pumping pink at her butt. I was pumping pink. I was pumping pink. I was pump…ing…pink! I worked up a sweat pumping pink.

I did this for, I don’t know, five or ten minutes. All of a sudden, the woman comes over to me, totally different demeanor, totally different tone of voice. “Are your friends in the restaurant?”

I’m from Chicago, we be suspicious. I’m thinking, “What’s up? You setting me up? Yeah, what’s going on? I don’t know? You wouldn’t let me go see.”

She says, “Oh, well, go. Please go.” And she personally escorted me into the restaurant. And as I walked into the restaurant, and looked back at her smiling sweetly, I realized I had experienced the power of love.

Now, a couple of years later I would become a professional storyteller. I told the story at one of the storytelling meetings that I go to at Los Angeles. And after the meeting everybody was, “Oh, that’s a wonderful story, Michael. It’s a wonderful story.”

And I am someone who is not uncomfortable receiving praise. I’m like, “Mmm, hmm, yes, yes, yes. I know I’m bad. Uh huh.” But this one friend seemed to be particularly moved by the story.

A couple of months later she says, “Michael, Michael, let me tell you what happened!” It seems that at her job her boss had made it her personal obligation to give my friend unholy hell, each and every day. And so, this particular day, my friend decided she would do the pink thing. She would send her love. If not love, she would send light. If not light, she wouldn’t send those, “I want to choke you around your neck,” thoughts. You do the best you can. Well, all the employees were sitting together in a little lunchroom. My friend’s sitting here talking to someone there. The boss sitting next to her, talking to someone there. When the boss turned to her and started to engage her in pleasant, complimentary conversation. And from that day on, there was no more mess between them.

The power of love. Now I’m gonna fess up. I passed that one test but I have flunked quite a few. But it is worth the effort and that’s the end of that.