The big news where I live is that our roads are at capacity and four hundred thousand more people are expected to move here in the next four years and there’s no money for more roads! This news is the backdrop for this weeks post.
Although I no longer put 20K miles on my car each year, I still drive. This last winter another drive cut me off because I wasn’t tail gating the car in front of me.
This was not the first time I'd yelled at another driver, but it was one of the last. For some reason, I heard myself in a different way this time and realized that the energy I was expending was hurting me. As the other driver went on his way, I didn't really feel better although that spurt of fear had dissipated.
In the ‘90’s during the Balkan War I created a workshop “How To Bring Peace To Our World”. A workshop with only one simple premise. If you want peace in your world, you need to practice peace regardless of what is going on around you. I reminded myself of that workshop. I still believed in the premise even though in that a moment I wasn’t practicing it.
So I’ve changed.
I bought a reminder. Named her “Silver” and usually she is hanging from my passenger visor when I drive. (Right now our temperatures are so high, I know my car’s interior gets to over 100 degrees so she sits near my front door and reminds me of my promise to myself as I go out to my car).
What does she remind me about?
My yelling comes from my fear and it does not serve me Also, I’ve no idea what is happening in that other driver’s life. Is she rushing to work worried about being fired for being late? Is he rushing home because an emergency? Or it could be nothing like these examples. It could be the driver is just frustrated with his or her life and taking it out while driving. Maybe here, in the fast car or big truck or alone this is the way the driver feels in control or works off disappointment with other parts of life.
That day I realized it really makes no difference what's going on for the other driver. I was sending more negative energy into the world. The question I asked myself "Am I making the world, my world a better place?"
What I was doing was adding more fear, more anger, more upset, more frustrated energy to the world which was the opposite of what I wanted.
Those road-rage-type-drivers are still out there. But as they whip around me, cut in so close I’m slamming on my brakes to keep from hitting them I’m no longer yelling at them. I take a deep breath and concentrate on sending them 'safe trip energy'.
Here are a couple more tips to relax on the road:
1. Keep a safe distance between you and the cars in front of you.
2. Let other cars merge, oh just let that big semi-truck in too, at an on ramp.
3. When in the city, let a car in from a side street or parking lot.
4. When someone drives in an unsafe fashion, send them “be safe energy”.
5. Add an extra ten minutes or more to your estimated travel time. The worst that will happen is you’ll be a little early!
6. If possible schedule appointments and errands at non-rush hour times. If that’s not possible, find some way to stay calm and in the present as you idle on the freeway. (I look for red-tailed hawks and the occasional bald eagle).
What do you do to stay relaxed on the road? I’m always interested in adding to my repertoire!
Judith is on the senior teaching faculty of The William Glasser Institute. She is also the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul. Hunter the fifth book in the series is now available at major e-retailers and here.
Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series here.
Check out Judith’s Windtree Press Author Page.
Judith also blogs on the first Friday of the month at Romancing The Genres.
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