Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Traffic Alchemy

So, for anyone who doesn't live in the Washingon, DC area, allow me to tell you how utterly horrifying our traffic is. You have been warned. Know this when you come to visit. And, I hasten to note, that I am not some naive small town Midwesterner who has just moved to the big city and is blowing our traffic woes out of proportion...although I am originally from the Midwest. No, that is not the case. I have lived in Southern California and battled Los Angeles traffic. I have lived in Salem, Mass and miraculously survived Boston traffic. This area is truly bad.

Most people in Washington are from somewhere else and they bring their local bad driving habits with them. Also, this is a city filled with lawyers and lobbyists and they take that aggression and sense that what they are doing is IMPORTANT right out with them onto the road. Bad, bad, bad. It's enough to break almost anyone's serenity. But, I have created a game that I play with myself that makes it better and that's what I want to share.

Obviously, getting upset at the drivers around you does no good and only serves to make you more tense and unhappy. Mostly, when somebody does something reckless and selfish in the car, it is upsetting for a couple of reasons.
1. The reckless stuff is truly unnerving. You see how you could have been hurt or someone else could have been hurt. It's hard not to be a little scared and then mad at whoever made you scared through a stupid risk.
2. Who the heck does that person think s/he is? It's not like they are the most important person on the planet. Honestly. Selfish bastard.

But how different would we feel if we knew that the person who just tailgated us, swerved around us, and was really impatient, reckless and all of that had just received a call that their child was in an emergency room across town? It's still bad, but a lot of the sting is gone and instead you're wishing them well.

Now, here's my game. I don't know that this person IS NOT going through a scenario like the one just mentioned. So, I just decide to interpret it as though they are. This let's me wish them well on their way and just throw out to the cosmos that I hope that they get where they need to go safely, that everyone around them is safe, and that things will be okay for them. So, the effect ON ME is that I'm not as tense and angry and instead I'm practicing compassion and sending out blessings. Overall, I think that is much better.

My attempts at internal Traffic Alchemy. Just thought I would share.

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