Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zen Car

I read somewhere recently that if you will do a thing three times it will become a habit. This article (I wish I could find it to quote it correctly) was suggesting that we wake up each morning and make a statement along the lines of, "I am willing to be happy today."

Several months ago I told you that I was no longer listening to talk radio in the car. Instead I play only meditation music. After doing this for a while, I stopped thinking, "Oh, I need to turn on NPR." But it took a while.

Then I started sitting still at stop lights, taking my hands off the steering wheel and resting them in my lap. This felt calming.

My next step was to say, "A red light. Now I can relax for a few seconds." I began to look at stop lights in a new way, as a chance to slow down.

And it's a habit. Engrained in my brain. I see a red light, I feel glad, and I sit quietly for the duration of it.

I'm still an agitated driver. I will stare down a single person in an Suburban, mouthing, "Yeah, you really needed to drive that hulking gas-guzzler all by yourself to work today."

I get irritated at people who walk or ride their bikes on the wrong side of the road, who cross through traffic, who let other cars out inappropriately or at the risk of the drivers involved.

But I have changed the habit of being angry at red lights, no longer seeing them as an obstacle or annoyance. And that's a good habit.


Peggy Payne said...

Terrific re-frame, Mamie.

MitMoi said...

Spreads arms over gas-guzzling SUV in the driveway :\

But I carpool to work!! In a Miata! Does that count?