Sometimes an event occurs that makes you go, “Hmm….” Usually, I notice these for reflection later. Saying, “hmmm….” Allows me to come back to it to wrestle and that is exactly what happened to me this morning. I had an “Hmm….” moment.
I was driving down Park Heights Avenue around 9 a.m. and turned east onto Northern Parkway. Since several cars turned either before or after me and we were all driving the same speed, I didn’t think twice about a horn blowing behind me; I mean we weren’t at a stop light or anything. But the owner of the obnoxious Toyota car horn continued to blow, and blow, and blow. In fact, s/he laid on the horn while practically attaching their front bumper to my rear one.
Now, I don’t know about you, but anyone who does this is just begging to be slowed down-n-n, but I didn’t change my speed. I stared incredulously into the rearview mirror as the driver angrily whipped their car around me, then in front of me, then around the car to my right and then around the car to his right. It was apparent that we just weren’t moving fast enough. Later, as the three of us pulled up to the red light, there was the over-anxious, in-a-hurry driver of the Toyota already sitting there. I smiled to myself. Of course, he peeled off in a screech of wheels, when the light changed and then ended up in a long line of red taillights further up the road.
My first thought: Where is he going like that? Must be late. Second thought: Doesn’t s/he realize they are creating their own reality of being late AND arriving at their destination with a high cortisol level and high blood pressure to boot?
Now, I don’t believe that everything that happens to us in life is within our control and that we have the capacity to fully create our realities, but I do believe (and am learning daily) that a number of our life perspectives are based on beliefs we hold and some of those beliefs no longer serve us. In fact, many of the unexamined beliefs we are holding haven’t served us since high school or earlier and yet they populate our psyche as we categorize and judge the people and things of life accordingly.
With the driver for example, driving with the belief that they won’t make it to their destination on time is a sure way of not making it on time. Having driven a lot of the 600 sq. miles of Houston over the past 5 years, I can tell you that I have tested this hypothesis repeatedly and found it to be true.
Although running late, I discovered that it was better for me to simply BREATHE and choose to be PRESENT to each moment as it presented itself. So, if all the cars around me were traveling 35mph, I could just fall in line and find myself in a much better frame of mind when I finally arrived at my destination. And wonder upon wonders I usually wasn’t more than 2 or 3, minutes late! The first time this happened to me, I was amazed and intrigued enough to try it again. Experimentally, I discovered that it always worked. With lessened anxiety and fear about the future, and with acceptance and attentiveness to the present moment, I discovered a true shalom that went with me into my encounters at my journey’s end.
I find the driving metaphor for life to be very helpful. We are the drivers of our lives and unlike cars we each have only one precious life to live. Some —not all—realities (based on our perspectives) have been created by us unconsciously. To re-create a different and more desirable reality might just mean examining the beliefs on which those perspectives are held. We can begin to let go of beliefs like “I’m not good enough, smart enough, young enough, old enough, wealthy enough, etc.” and begin a new song that says, “I AM ENOUGH!”
If you feel the need, try on this new Way of being just who you are, choosing the present moment as the present moment, knowing that “You Are Enough.” JUST BREATHE….and see what happens!