Before I retired in order to focus more on sharing yoga, I travelled to the same location for eleven years. On my daily commute, I gave myself ample time to get to work and I’d typically stay in the right lane with other slower drivers. Driving is pleasant for me and I consider myself to be a good, safe driver. Yet at one on-ramp, I was always cut off. Drivers coming up the on-ramp would overtake me on the inside and pull right in front of me, causing me to brake. My irritation would build and I often found myself arriving to work annoyed at such aggressive driving behaviors.
Over the years, this happened so many times that I began to protect the space in front of me. Instead of leaving three car lengths, I’d close the gap so the cars that come barreling up the on-ramp couldn’t jump in front of me. They tried but my focus was on protecting my space. I was determined not to give in.
However, one day a car in front of me braked sharply and without my usual three car lengths, I had to brake really sharply to avoid rear ending the car in front. I said to myself, “I give up” and mentally raised my hands in surrender.
My annoyance stayed with me at work, and then all of a sudden, I realized how ludicrous it was trying to hold onto the space in front of me while driving over fifty miles per hour.
When I really thought about it, I was shocked at my trying to hold onto, well, nothing really. This was when I became aware of the silliness of my actions. So I decided that the next day, instead of trying to hang onto my space or giving up my perceived space, I was going to surrender that space to the next would be “cutter upper.”
The next day, a monster of a truck came barreling up the on-ramp and started to overtake me on the inside. I let off the gas and waved him on by. To my surprise, through his back window, I saw him wave at me. As he pulled into the next lane he was still waving. It was such a great quality wave; I couldn’t stop smiling all day at work. I felt great.
From that moment on I have collected so many waves, even from pedestrians. I even begun to categorize those waves. There’s the looking down, hand up wave. There’s the look me in the eye wave, sometimes with a smile. There’s the little finger brain wave as people walk past with a cell phone to their ear. However, no one has done the queen’s wave.
Even more fascinating is how I notice my own waves and trust me, I make sure I do the full on smile, look you in the eye, open handed, surrender wave.
It was during that time when I realize the insanity of hanging onto this imaginary space I discovered the difference between giving up and surrendering. I saw the sweetness of surrender as it opened me up to so many new and positive experiences. Of course it made me a better driver and as I continue to collect more waves, my heart continues to swell.