Updated: Jan 24, 2020
A few years ago I watched how one small choice, in one small car, made with only partial attention, spiraled into a surprising and unwelcome encounter.
I was driving home after teaching a yoga class, thinking about a conversation I’d had with a student, when someone pulled wildly in front of me, and then proceeded to drive unreasonably slow. This is where I had a choice: I could have slowed down as well, been laidback, and let the morning unfold. Or I could tailgate her to let her know that I was not happy with the fact that she was slowing my progress. I chose the latter.
It seemed at first that she understood this, as she pulled over and let me pass. I waved and smiled, and continued on, but as I looked in my rear view mirror, I could see that she had something else in mind. She drove at high speed to get behind me, tailgating aggressively, and yelled ferociously into my rear view mirror.
This went on for several blocks until, as luck would have it, the stoplight changed to red with perfect timing, and she pulled beside me and continued to scream. I wasn’t sure what else to do but ride it out, the light wouldn’t be red forever right? I stared straight ahead like someone who knows better than to confront an angry creature. When the light turned green, she threw out one last mighty expletive, took a tire-screeching right turn, and went back to her day.
Now, I’m a gal who dislikes confrontation immensely, and yet, I could have avoided this one with one choice: slow down. If my intention is to be present for my life, then surely I can remember that if I push, I’ll get that same thing back: a push...possibly bigger than I gave. And I don’t want that energy in my life.
So now I use my time behind the wheel to practice being open to the experience of movement and speed, and the potential of sharing this experience with everyone else, the tailgaters and the screamers too. I no longer want to compete in this silly race to my destination, because if I do, I will miss a golden eagle, floating through clouds and blue sky, as the sun spills onto the morning.
(Thank you Sarah, I hope you see this.)