Road Lesson #3: Don’t Take it Personally

106_RoadRageLesson3_2-26-19I’ve written two blog posts inspired by a place I dubbed mindfulness intersection. It was a stretch of road I drove regularly, giving me plenty of opportunities to practice mindfulness.

My first lesson was about my rage at another car cutting in front of me.

My second lesson had me being the cutter, at a different, but similar, intersection.

My third lesson—I’ve stopped saying final because life keeps surprising me—I tell here.

This lesson captures the essence of Don Miguel Ruiz’s second agreement—don’t take anything personally—in his book, The Four Agreements.

“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”[1]

This third lesson, surprisingly, happened while I was walking. Having had a disagreement with Bubba, I was outside, stomping up the street, trying to clear my head and make sense of what had just happened.

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Wintry Mindfulness Moments

105_WintryMindfulness_2-24-19

My blogging efforts remind me of learning to drive a stick-shift: fits-and-starts. In January, I met my goal of posting three-times a week. So far this month? Sketchy.

My excuse? I went east to spend time with dad, to celebrate his 95th birthday. Generally I avoid flying cross-country during winter; too unpredictable. I haven’t been home for Christmas in decades. I tried to get east for dad’s 90th birthday, but snow-storms cancelled that year’s trip.  With mom’s death last September, the urge to go east for Christmas or for dad’s February birthday was strong.

I opted for dad’s birthday, both to miss the holiday madness, and so I could get information together for his tax return. Dad might discourage my traveling for his birthday; but to get the taxes done would be a compelling enticement.

Whether I was going to get east seemed dicey.

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Road Intersection Lesson #2

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos / 19628 images CC0 Creative Commons

Have you ever thought you’d squeezed every morsel of learning out of some lesson, only to have it say, wait! there’s more!

My Road Rage story was like that. I dubbed the location where I learned to reduce my road rage, mindfulness intersection. After blogging about it I thought, ok, that intersection is dry; I’ve learned all there is.

But life continued. And I realized so much depends on perspective. When I first wrote about taming my road rage, I wrote about it from my perspective: the one pissed off that another car cut in front of me.

My second lesson had me being the cutter.

Continue reading “Road Intersection Lesson #2”

Road Rage Lesson #1

Alexas_Fotos / 19406 images. CC0 Creative Commons

You know that road rage emotion? That righteous anger that feels good because you know the other driver is an absolute, f’ing moron behind the wheel?

Yeah. That road rage.

Ever hear the quote, “holding grudges is like taking poison and hoping it kills the other person”?

Replace “grudges” with “anger” and…same truth.

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Writing that Hooks: Inaugural Gems

Amazing Phrases-2Poking around the blogosphere, I come across writing that grabs me with its creativity, its power, its meaning. I discover sentences I want to read to others; that I think about long after I’m done reading the piece. I don’t want to forget these gems, so I decided to catch and share them on my blog as I find them. While each of the posts included here is worth reading in their entirety, the phrases in bold hit me with a particular fierceness. And broadened my worldview.

BLOG: Wish I Were Here: Journeys Through Place and Time

From The Undiscovered Territory post, April 1, 2018, J.D. Riso, a wonderful blogger, talks about returning to Michigan after traveling abroad for 19 years.  There’s a quiet brilliance in her observations and a commentary on cultural things many of us accept without question.

“Not only was I physically away from this culture for so long, but there was also a deliberate media/pop culture blackout. I have only vague ideas of what I’m supposed to be enraged about and no idea who I’m expected to emulate. A young man who struck up a conversation with me before my flight from Paris found it hilarious that I didn’t know that there are new late night talk show hosts. I smiled. It is not ignorance, but strategic apathy. Ignorance is being unaware. I’m conscious of the poison that I refuse to consume.”

BLOG: Out of Hiding: My Journey Through Depression and Alcoholism

From the Mother of an Addict post, April 10, 2018,  writing about the challenges of having an adult son whose experimentation with drugs led him to heroin addiction, jail, and rehab, and her struggles as she helplessly tries to help him find his way out of it.  I caught my breath on the last line; it’s one of those thoughts that shows how quickly we can pivot in our understanding of things when the world forces a shift on us.

“He came to us at the age of 20 and told us he was scared and he needed help.  My world stopped.  Heroin happened to the bad kids.  To the bad families.  That was what I always thought.  I didn’t realize heroin happened and then you became the bad family.