Yesterday morning I woke up alive and kicking. I love Tuesdays as they always start with an extra cuddle in bed, breakfast with Drew and a morning Yoga class at Lole Atelier Oakville. As I drove toward the Atelier, my eyes were drawn in two directions. One- the road in front of me, and two-a somewhat chaotic, possibly tragic (I could see smoke and several emergency vehicles) event that was taking place in the opposite lanes, which I could see in my periphery. (I later learned it was a trailer truck that caught on fire! This event took place shortly before 9am and resulted in the closure of the highway till late afternoon/evening)
As I drove by, my first instinct was to pray that everyone involved was safe. However, the further away I got from the accident, I became aware of the multitude of perspectives that this one event may have evoked.
The Driver whose truck caught on fire: “Oh shit……”
The People in the cars directly behind or within view of the blaze: “Oh crap. What should I do? What can I do?”
The People in the cars who could not see what was going on and causing the backlog: “Traffic…really? This sucks. I’m going to be late. Maybe there’s an accident. This sucks.”
The People in the cars driving in the opposite direction of the blaze: “Those people have no idea what is going on. Glad it’s not me.”
I think this is sometimes how we feel in life…or perhaps it’s just me.
As a driver (in life) we sometimes underestimate our true power until something magic or tragic happens. Everything we do whether small or large has an effect. Our words, our actions, even the beliefs we hold within affect the way we live our lives, treat other people and so forth.
When we are the People in the cars directly behind or within view of a challenge (organizational change, family member is ill, financial set-back, etc.) we are immediately impacted by questions, concerns, and (perceived) loss of control.
When we are the People in the cars who cannot see what is going on to cause the backlog (i.e., our dreams not coming true fast enough/ p.s. this is probably the most common position/feeling in life), we face discouragement, frustration, annoyance, irritation all because things are not going the way we “planned” it.
When we are the People in the cars driving in the opposite direction and have a “full” view of what is going on, we are given the opportunity to understand and have compassion for those in the ‘heat’ of things and/or if we were to experience a similar event in the future.
In the journey of life, we find ourselves in the various positions at certain points in our lives yet how often can we see the bigger picture? How often can we maintain peace and perspective amongst challenge and chaos? As this brief but impactful start to my day reminded me,
1. You Matter. Your life matters. If you don’t think you matter, consider how you would feel being the driver of the truck which caught on fire.
2. In the moments when we feel like we can’t do anything, we need to focus on what we CAN do even if it’s just taking some deep breaths.
3. “Man plans, God laughs”-Yiddish Proverb
4. Gratitude for it could just as easily been me (whose car caught on fire or sitting in the backlog)
5. Be compassionate for you never know what someone has/is going through.
Buckle up folks, you and I are literally, on the journey of our lives.