It had been a long day, and I was beginning my 90 minute drive home after teaching a mindfulness class. Between meetings, commuting, and teaching, I had been sitting for most of the day. I was driving south on 50. Night quickly falling with the help of cloud cover, and I was aware of my own adjustment process. My vision was veiled, like having blinders on, my hamstrings ached, my energy drove downward and forward. The darkness sped by. I was driving over the speed limit. The darkness egged me on. I remembered the laws, and downshifted,vaguely knowing that this probably wouldn't be enough to interrupt my behavior accompanied by a a straight, flat highway, mild apathy, and desire to be home. I knew more attention and effort would be required to change my behavior. I made myself focus to the sounds and words of the radio- news, more of a distraction than an antidote. Flashing lights in the rear view mirror. Behavior interrupted! I could go on about how it was for me in the moments that followed, pulling over, waiting for the citation, etc. It wasn't pleasant, I didn't feel joy- although I did see some really cool dark clouds and last bits of light as night was falling somewhere further west!
I experienced very little stress or reactivity though, and a degree of acceptance- in part because I knew what I was doing when I was doing it (speeding) AND I was aware of the context (a road with a speed limit and monitored by law enforcement). My reactivity under the same circumstances in the past has ranged from anxious dread to indignant righteousness. If I had had negative experiences with law enforcement before, as many people have, I would have had much more stress and reactivity to contend with, in which case this story would be very different.
No magic pill, or blissfully floating through spending too much time in the car, or encountering law enforcement- just meeting my life just as it was, as best I could in those moments. And I made it home- in one piece, tired, hungry, grateful to greet my family huddled on the couch.
Wishing you the same in whatever situations you may be finding yourself today.
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