When I was a teen, I didn’t do much of what other teens did. For one, I was allowed to go hang in pubs as an under-age drinker, but also I was blessed by having like-minded, less ‘rebellious-by-the-most-conventional-paths’ friends. I was in bed most of the time my year group were running amok, sitting people watching from the back of a market stall for the remainder.
One thing I actively resisted doing with the crowd was unusual though. It represented freedom and independence, exploration and growth. And I wanted to. But I held myself off from it until life made me face it.
Driving. Perhaps not the answer that you were expecting?! Yep, I resists most strongly one of the biggest game changers, one of the things that put me out there in the world with the rest of humanity. And I look back now and see what an apt metaphor it still is.
Driving actually reveals much of our psychology. Travelling in our car on the roads is much like travelling through life in our bodies, just writ large so that we may learn from it. On a basic level, it surfaces the stories that we have created about humanity. For the most part that will either reveal answers like how you deal with an inconvenience, a hinderance, obstacles in your path to where you want to get to. It will show you how much you expect your lives to be linear, without having to manoeuvre arounds things, things actually being others trying to get to their destination too. And you may finally get to understand how those stories prevent you from going with the flow with ease.
Driving shows you your own method of time travel. You might spend much of your journey swearing about something that happened in the road 5 minutes ago, now miles/ kilometres back, but still being carried in your car energetically as the present. Alternatively, you may spend your time hellbent on arriving at a particular time, driven on by demonic future projections of all the possible fallouts of your not-as-planned arrival. You may, at a rare contented moment, catch yourself smiling at the rainbow shining through your window. You may also catch yourself being smug that many others would be missing that amazing beauty because they don’t know any better.
And as wheels roll on Tarmac, the drive will also reveal to you how much you define yourself against others. For me, I slid behind the steering wheel terrified that I was going to hold someone up, do something stupid that would inconvenience someone else… Other people I know were the exact opposite. They had it down pat before even turning the key in the ignition and questioned the right of others to even share the road with them. It opened my eyes to how I compare my Chapter One to someone else’s Chapter Twenty and then worry that I don’t measure up. And I see how others feel better only when they position themselves as more adept at life in any skill available to them.
And finally, where would a thought process on driving be without tackling giving directions. I’ll be honest. When I’m a passenger, I’m not looking at the signposts. I’m taking the chance to be in the world as I whizz past it. I’m looking at the flying trees and fields, the horizons and the skies. But I also know, that as zen as I may also aim to be behind the wheel, there are instructions that I find hard to take. In short, you may help me get there but not how I get there. You may flag a turn ahead, an intersection for which I need to align my path, but please don’t tell me that your choice of path is better than mine or that I got into it too early or too late. I’ve learnt that I don’t want people to provide an autopsy on how my last few actions queued up to create a certain red light or smooth flow. Because the chances are, I’m already aware of it. And I’m already playing back to berate myself quietly.
Just as people surrounding you can be mirrors to your soul, so too can you reflect on how you deal with your daily actions and how you choose to journey through life. Such is the poetry of existence and such are the opportunities to travel bright and happy through it.