The Waze app warned me of traffic in my typical route and recommended an alternate route from my normal route.
But I liked the scenery of my route better, and it wasn’t worth it to me to change routes just to save a few minutes.
Knowing that there would be traffic, I accepted it up front. I took out my sandwich and I opened my podcast app to listen to a Tara Brach talk on the drive.
The traffic was even worse than predicted.
Ultimately a drive that normally took 45 minutes took me 2 hours.
At the last possible moment, I decided to exit the highway and take city streets on the Upper West Side to bypass the worst of the traffic.
The Waze app showed that Broadway was clear. But by the time I got there, the traffic was bumper to bumper, with gridlock at every intersection. Sometimes the light would turn green, but there was nowhere to go.
A seven-block stretch took over 30 minutes.
Horns were blaring.
For most of the drive, I remained equanimous.
I had a brief moment where I started to second-guess my decision to take the path I’d chosen, or to leave the highway for the city streets.
If I had stayed on the highway, I wouldn’t have to contend with traffic lights.
The moment of second guessing didn’t last long. It didn’t serve me to waste energy on it. I made the decision and couldn’t go back. There was nothing to do except to be with it.
Trust the Whole Way
It felt perfect for today, the beginning of the last two days of the Jewish New Year holidays. It’s common to complain that the full suite of Jewish holidays is an interruption to life: time consuming in both the observance and the preparation. Many days of services in temple. Disruption to routine.
The traffic reminded me that if I choose to observe the holidays, then it’s pointless to complain that they are in the way.
Besides, what if they are not in the way, but rather they are the way?
The point is not to “get through them” to get to the other side, but to use them to align to the “right” path, whatever that means for you. As we grow and evolve, our desires change.
The Jewish New Year offers us a time to recalibrate the GPS, to make sure that before you keep going forward toward your destination you are confident that this is the destination you still desire.
This is like any other path we choose. At various points, many of my decision have felt like a disruption or a detour. And, at the same time, I recognized these were paths I chose for a reason. They are taking me to where I’m going. Maybe not in the time frame I desired, but I trusted they would get me there.
And I have to keep trusting.
It’s fitting that this drive was on my way back from Trapeze School New York, because it reflects one of the enduring lessons I’ve learned in over 15 years of flying trapeze and trampoline:
Commit to the leap.
To trust when you leap doesn’t serve you if you’re going to second guess yourself in midair. You’ve got to maintain your trust the whole way.