Today as I started on my morning commute to the office, I received a call from a friend who told me there was a traffic accident on the highway I was about to enter. I quickly pulled into a gas station to think how best to get around what I was sure would be traffic, and after a 20-second pause I hopped onto the highway anyway figuring if I drove fast I would get by the accident before traffic backed up.
Of course, less than a half-mile down the road the traffic ground to a stop... I screwed up, I made a bad choice... what was I thinking? Still, the well-trained head of mine decided to think positively and I realized, "I had plenty of time, there was no rush, all was okay." I had made a bad choice, but of course it wasn't my first and wouldn't be my last.
About 2 minutes later I hear the fire engine coming up from behind. I thought that it must be a bad accident if there was a need to call out the fire trucks. As I followed the siren, I saw the truck coming up the left side of the highway and the traffic pulling over to the right to let it pass. Sitting in the fast lane of traffic I pulled over close to the right lane, and then, to my great surprise there was car after car following the fire engine! As the eighth car was going by I decided to start back over to the left to protect my place in line. The next car and the car after that did not want to give me room and they, in fact, leaned on their horns in effect telling me to stay out of their way. I was stunned. What kind of "BS" was this? Actually, many words came out of my mouth that I'm not very proud of, and I felt my blood pressure rise. I finally took my place back in line.
I was angry at the stupid, callous, self-interested attitude of these ten drivers taking advantage of us who pulled over in a civilized, orderly way to make way for the emergency crew. For a moment I wished I had let one of those stupid drivers hit me, and then could have sued his tail off if he did! But, this was certainly not the most productive response I could have had.
It is interesting that just prior to these ten cars passing, I had started to read the book I was carrying; Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff (a very good book by the way). The passing cars had completely taken me away from what I was reading - about letting positive energy direct you, and how it reduces tension, promotes health and of course helps in the pursuit of happiness. In the midst of my anger I looked down at the title of the book and I had to regroup. What was I doing to myself? I had spewed tons of negative energy in just a few minutes of anger and the tension was growing in my body.
I then realized it was time to go back to the most productive exercise I know and that is consciously breathing. I started with "I breathe in and I feel calm, I breathe out and I smile" (Thanks to Thich Nhat Hanh who is my meditation mentor.) and continued with words that I have learned to ad lib. The blood pressure was calming and the anger was passing.
It was then that I thought that this was really not the worst thing in the world. I had had a moment to read, I had plenty of time to get to my office so I would not be late, and the sun was shining. It struck me, there's an accident ahead and there might be someone there with significant injuries. What am I, in my self-centered self, thinking?
From there my thoughts went out to the ten drivers who had passed me and especially to the two who were so rude to honk and fight for my proper lane. I feel bad for them, their stress must be incredible, their blood pressure can't be normal and their lives can't be healthy.
I decided it was time to be thankful that I have been able to come to a point in my life that my commitment to live in the moment, my discipline to remember to breathe, and my resolve to choose how I would react to the world around me was able to protect me in just a few moments of my anger. I certainly could have carried the negative energy all the way to my office and let it affect as much of the day as I let it. My day is continuing well and I am thankful.
Lessons that I was reminded of:
•1. All decisions have consequences. If we don't make the correct choice, life still goes on and looks for the positives. There's no benefit to punishing yourself for not making the better choice.
•2. In the midst of reacting, we can take the time to be aware of what we are feeling. If we don't like what we are feeling, we can choose to relax and choose to have a different response.
•3. Life works so much better when we take the time to look for the positive, feel the positive energy and to appreciate all that we have.
Have a good day; may it be full of positive energy, and may you find much to be thankful for.
Besides being a realtor with 31 years experience. I now split my time as a
Divorce Transition Coach. I was the founder and have been the facilitator of the Greater Danbury Divorce Support and Recovery Group for 3 years. If you are going through the stress of a separation or a divorce - feel free to contact me. I offer individual coaching also. Support could be just a phone call away.