You wake up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, read, meditate, and get your mind in the perfect calm state. Then it seems within seconds of encountering other humans (traffic), your calm feels threatened. These moments can either derail your peace, or you can be intentional and maintain your peace in spite of these bumps in the road.
Morning commute was the time of day that tried me the most. In the morning, you have places to be, people to see, and time is of the essence. I could come unglued if I got behind a slow driver, afraid they would make me late.
Tailgaters wouldn’t make me late, but they would make me so anxious! I was in a hurry too, but was it really necessary to invade my personal space?
Worst of all was getting caught in stop and go traffic. Driving in large cities and on major highways made my heart race and my hands sweat. In school zones, if the crossing guard was in position, I was at their mercy. I would arrive at work a frazzled mess, and full of blame directed at whoever happened to cross my path and slow me down. Surely they were to blame.
Then one day, I heard a podcast that changed my thinking. It had never occurred to me that it was entirely my fault, EVERY time I’m late. Every time. How was it my fault? Simple. “If you think some other person is making you late, you need to leave your house way, way earlier,” the speaker said. This resonated with me and humbled me. It may sound obvious to some reading this, but that one statement was life changing.
Over time, I’ve trained myself to keep my peace by changing my perspective. These days, I make sure to leave for work pretty early, so I’m never worried about running late and therefore never in a hurry. Now when I get behind a slow driver, I go around them if I can, but if I can’t I choose to see it as an extra time to listen to my podcast or favorite songs.
Now, if there’s an alternate route I can take that has less traffic, I will choose it every time. When I’m in larger cities I always select the “avoid highways” option and take backroads instead of interstates and highways. These routes are longer, but usually save me time and stress.
And that tailgater? I just pull over to the side of the road and let them go ahead of me. It’s a win win. They get to drive faster and I get to keep my peace.
And I’m learning everything in life is like driving. Moments in life can send us into blame and knock us out of our peaceful state. But there is no blame. It’s all on us – we do it to ourselves. By taking responsibility and making simple changes in how we respond to the things that once frustrated us, we can see them all as good. Things are always working out for us.
- Leave earlier. Give yourself more than enough time so you’re not in a hurry.
- Take an alternate route with less traffic.
- Pull over and let tailgaters pass you.
- Take responsibility. There is no blame.
- Enjoy your drive. See it as a peaceful time.