The other day, a drive that typically takes me 45 minutes took 2 hours. Each time I tried a detour to avoid the traffic, traffic materialized there too.
As soon as I cleared one congested stretch, another materialized.
Around me, drivers leaned on their horns, as if blasting noise would magically make the traffic go away. Some crossed over the double yellow line to get ahead of all the cars waiting at a light to get on the highway, with the seeming belief that wherever they had to go was more important than the needs of everyone else who was waiting.
It’s a disruption, an interruption, and also an illuminator.
You can learn a lot about who someone is when you put them in traffic. You can learn a lot about yourself, too.
My Old Tradfic Patterns
Sitting in gridlock, I recalled that I used to react to traffic by blasting the horn or tapping the steering wheel, silently fuming at the injustice of traffic.
Interestingly enough, those strategies never got me to my destination faster. Go figure. 😉
They did get me there feeling more agitated and angry, feeling like a victim of the other people who dared to be on the road when I needed to get somewhere.
Even when I was no longer stuck in traffic, the traffic was stuck in me.
My New Traffic Patterns
The other day, as I sat in gridlock, I noticed that I wasn’t stuck in traffic. Nor was I the victim of the other drivers on the road, or a force I couldn’t control. As horns blared around me, I remained calm and patient.
I embraced the moment to listen to a recent Tara Brach talk and observe the changes in my environment, both outer and inner. New buildings going up, new stores, changing neighborhoods. And new spaces within myself that could hold space for whatever wanted to emerge within or without.
The traffic wasn’t a problem to solve; there was nothing for me to fix.
So much energy frees up when we’re not resisting what is; we can use that energy for healing.
I realized later that my response to the traffic was similar to how I’ve responded to the events of 2020. Being in the moment. Surrender. Yet also looking for opportunity.
It’s All Traffic
It makes sense that my response would be the same.
It’s all traffic.
Every time it seems to clear, it returns.
We can view these events as disruptions and interruptions, and wonder when it will go away, when the path ahead will clear, when it will return to normal. We may see ourselves as victims of what is happening in the world right now.
But will that get us where we’re going faster? Unlikely.
Maybe we didn’t choose this route intentionally, but it’s the road we’re on. At some point, the traffic will dissipate, because traffic always does. How you’re dealing with the traffic while it’s here will determine how long the traffic lingers within you once its over.
There’s a lot of traffic on the road right now, but don’t forget that you’re behind the wheel. You get to choose how to navigate it.
What are your traffic patterns?
Every traffic situation is an opportunity for healing.