While driving my youngest to school last week, I noticed a very agitated driver enter the lane behind me. Huffing and puffing and wheel gripped tight, he made a dramatic show of his annoyance with every pause and stop we came to in the road, throwing his hands up and screaming at the world through his windows. I stayed patient, breathing through the beeps of his horn while doing my best to keep space between his bumper and mine.
Now, this drivers car was considerably smaller than mine. He couldn't see around me, let alone over me. My back window is tinted so I know he couldn't see through me. From his perspective, he couldn't see the little girl emerging from a side street. He couldn't see her cheeks stained pink from the hustle of a fast-paced Friday morning. Her My Little Pony bag bouncing on one shoulder. This driver was too busy being locked in the red zone. The only thing he could focus on was his own perception: my car was in his way.
His problem is our problem.
We all rush around just as he did blind in our own perception. We're trained to be so hyper-focused on the end goal, to just get there, that we forget to step back to see the big picture and how we are affecting others along the way.
On this particular morning, I wasn't a mother driving her six-year-old son to school.
I wasn't a wife or sister.
I wasn't an artist or aspiring writer.
I wasn't even a person.
I was just a blue Ford sedan driving the speed limit on a two-lane street.
The driver behind me couldn't wait. I watched his mouth explode as he shifted from my rear-view mirror to my peripheral vision. I laid on the horn in warning and it wasn't until he turned to look at me that he actually saw what I was stopping for. He swerved at the last minute, riding up on the curb of the opposite street. He wasn't even two inches from hitting her. Her hair moved— that's how close he was, braking only for a moment before taking off again.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on this experience. I could easily apply his situation to my own life, being so focused on the next step that I completely miss all the signs asking me to slow down and to just observe for a second.
How many times do we choose to focus on our own arguments, refusing to accept the viewpoint of another? How many times have we gotten so focused on going one way that we completely miss seeing a better route; a shortcut available?
How many times had we hurt another because we couldn't shift away from our own opinions, and leave that hurt in their hearts because we were too afraid to accept responsibility and apologize?
Alone, we cannot see it all. At some point, we have to put our trust in another, be it a friend, in Spirit, a teacher, the Universe, God, or even just the car ahead of us. At some point, we have to relinquish our need to control an outcome and learn to pause and give thought to the obstacles that come our way. The only thing stopping us from experiencing our lives differently is the way we choose to perceive how things happen to us.
Who you are, your choices and personality are reflections of your environment. Your choices shape your experiences. Your perception shapes your choices. Sometimes the only way out is to go up. To witness your world with eyes clear of the fog; ears free from the whispers of doubt or opinion; air clean from the energy of the familiar. Sometimes the only way we rise is by accepting the help of another. Don't be afraid to seek help outside of yourself. We can get so focused on just reaching the destination that it takes another to remind us there is much joy to be had in the ride.
'perspective' / Jamie Homeister