Literally I love driving in traffic. Okay maybe not love in the traditional sense as in, "looking forward too."
A straight up 100% gift is the ability to sit in traffic.
For many years I could not drive due to the devastation of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) on my body. As of this moment this is no longer my reality. Literally having to pause as I type.
Sure you may think this outcome of traffic joy is only available to me because I have MS, but that could not be further from the truth. We all can have traffic joy or as my good friend Claire calls it, "Traffic Karma!"
The secret is in the lens having nothing to do with having a disease or not. Sorry to disappoint, but we can all LOVE traffic.
I remember vividly when I had my 1st DMV appointment in Santa Monica after moving to CA from Delaware. I was driving out of the parking lot & a woman thought I "cut her off." She immediately rolled down the window & yelled "I hope you die." I was shocked for days.
When you are 100% Italian you believe, practice and know 'The Maloik' aka the evil eye. This felt like the evil eye cast by a stranger rattling this Italian girl to her core.
I could not for the life of me figure out how to shake off this 'curse' that a complete stranger had so powerfully cast upon me.
Then the famous 'brick to forehead' returned & it became so clear. I had no idea what was going on in that ladies life. She could have just heard the worst news of her life. She could be sick and/or suffering in ways I could not comprehend.
I was a mean driver.
I did not wish others dead, but I yelled & used my horn a lot. Probably too much.
I hated driving & found it a horrific task.
I literally started to embrace an empathetic heart after that experience driving at the Santa Monica DMV.
Do not judge.
We all get to decide our own "Bag of Tricks" & empathy work for me started in LA while driving. From that moment forward at the DMV I drove with a lens that someone could have just heard really bad news & needs to get in front of me, cut me off or yell at me. I however was no longer going to be that person.
Conscious effort to change my thoughts toward others bought a lens that every person driving "like a complete ass" may be dealing with the worst news ever. My role in this journey of driving in traffic was to send loving kindness to others with an empathetic heart. The end.
Say what! Where is V???
Clearly for many of us the frustration level traffic alone can produce is at an all time high based on personal experience. Having a stranger look you in the eye yelling they wished you dead was a powerful wake up call.
Rage in the car was my norm.
I was not wishing others dead, but cursed at a dozen of you on the daily with offensive wishes as a driver. My truth was not far from my friend who cast the evil eye on me.
Rage is rage.
Empathy is hard to translate when you are a BOSS. Having such a strong character often comes with a tough exterior. That being said empathy although present may be hard to tap "on demand" especially in situations that occur during traffic.
When I lost the ability to drive I lost a practice that helped make me a better person: the practice of empathy.
Today I find myself driving on highways & NEVER EVER did I think I would return here.
The 405, 5, 101, 22, 10 are all my new BFF's. They are also always crowded. Traveling 20 miles during rush hour averages 2.5 hours & yet I love it.
At 1st I thought it was because I was able to drive again. The joy of traffic was driving & that is why I felt so alive when stuck on the 405. However my gut kept coming back to the same question of "why?" knowing it was more than that.
My love of traffic comes from living in conscious empathetic harmony with my brothers & sisters while on the road.
Okay now you want to know what I am smoking right?!? Another blog post.
Truth be told it is true. Being stuck in traffic forces us to chose how we want to play this: we can be aggressive, annoyed & controlling (which is my natural tendency) or in community, empathetic & persistent.
The answer to this choice lies the ability to Love Driving in Traffic.
Today when I am stuck on the 405 & at a standstill I take the moment to engage in the energy of the community around me. Offering my energy to those who need it, smiling at others, having gratitude my body is functioning & absorbing the energy of the community around me. All of which are a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us.
Remember history has shown that times of extreme emergency most of us have a universal call to action and that is to help. Each person you are stuck in traffic with could actually be your hero in a moments notice. You simply never know.
It is a conscious choice to honor each driver, passenger, trucker & whatever rolls our way.
Take the "Love Driving Challenge" giving this lens a try. Instead of allowing the space for a situation that is 100% out of our individual control & making it a source of energy supporting your best person in the spirit of community.
Try it. I bet you will be completely surprised how life changing this challenge can be.
I believe in you. Namaste.
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Raise the roof damn it.