Traffic Jammed, or Not?
Driving into Seattle for a networking meeting there was a big jam traffic jam. It was interesting to notice the frustration and feel the anxiety around me. I work at home so I do experience slow traffic often and I chose to remain happy in this situation. It is interesting that people feel victimized by traffic yet my belief is that we are always at choice to create how we respond to anything that happens to us. I encourage my clients to smile a lot even in stressful situations. Smiling can change everything and is very contagious. So I took a little of my own advice, put a smile on my face and took a deep breath.
As I looked around there were not many smiling faces. I was sitting there smiling on purpose and decided to turn my music off so that I could see what others were doing. The fellow next to me was playing really loud music so I didn’t even need mine. There was what I imagined to be a longhaired drug dealer in a red BMW convertible in front of me. To one side of me was a truck driver who looked as though he had a long day and had a huge half-smoked cigar hanging from his lips. I started imagining stories about these people, what long days they must have had and how they wanted to get to home to their families and significant others. I figured that the thoughts they were thinking were negative and that their impatience was getting the best of them by the expressions on their faces. Not many people looked sideways to connect with other people. I longed to connect with at least a few others to share my smile. They all seemed intent on one thing, the traffic moving fast again and getting there, wherever there might be.
I started looking at how beautiful scenery was from the highway was and how amazing it is that we are so blessed with green, vibrant trees and wild poppies on an interstate. There was a hawk I noticed on a wire. She was sitting, observing, and probably being observed by the few who noticed; several small birds were taking off for somewhere heading north. The sky was a little hazy but the sun was still peering out and creating a lot of warmth. It made me feel peaceful inside and reminded me that it was the second day of summer. I took a deep breath and felt so relieved that I was not in a hurry. I reminded myself to relax and that the universe was conspiring in my favor. I had left plenty of time to make it to my meeting. I remembered other times previous to this when I had to travel to Seattle once a week and was caught in this same type of traffic, feeling disappointed, hurried, frenzied, and worried that I would not make it on time to where I was going. I felt so differently today, so much stronger that my natural response at this time was to remain happy and calm.
Thoughts of empowerment and how making conscious choices had become my default crossed my mind. I smiled again. In the past it was so easy for me to react to what happened to me rather than responding. I have slowed down in a good way. This slowing has increased my awareness and made my life less stressful. It has allowed me to create new ideas and move into life better with more ease. I know that when I go fast, I can only do what I have done in the past and when I slow down I can choose to let go of what may have caused stress in the past. Slow is good. Slow traffic, not so much, yet we are always at choice to how we want to respond, how we will be when we slow down enough to consider our options, and how important it is to be strong so that nothing disturbs our peace of mind. I like this part of the story of my life; deliberately creating and choosing what I want. I took another deep breath and the traffic started to flow again. Amazing to be in a traffic jam and avoid the stress of it!
What richness will you find the next time you are caught in the frenzy of a traffic jam? How will you respond?
Andrea Scott, Health Empowerment Coach