Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Running Red Lights

I ran a red light last week. It was very, very scary. I didn't realize what I had done until after the fact. I was driving down the main road by my house that takes me to my local gym, Starbucks, grocery store, gas station, freeway. Everywhere I need to be is connected to this street. Maybe because of its familiarity I was driving along, my brain not paying attention because I had travelled this path more than a million, billion times!

It was early Saturday morning, the girls and I were off to the gym for our weekly Kids X class that I teach and they attend. They were being their usual talkative selves, while I quietly chewed my granola bar and listened to the radio. Then it happened. At 45 mph I zipped through the red light and all the other cars that had obediently stopped.

"Oh. My. God." I said and due to my shock, kept saying, "Oh-my-gawd-Oh-my-gawd..."

"What is it Mommy?" Lily was asking. "Why do you keep saying that?"

"Mommy did something very naughty. I just passed a red light without stopping. That is so dangerous! I'm so lucky there were no cars on the other side of the road."

Then the girls began reprimanding me, repeating my words, using them against me. "We could have had an accident!" "Are you going to go to jail?" "That's so dangerous Mommy! You have to stop at red and go at green!"

The shock had passed and I was now in panic mode envisioning what could have happened. Truth is I have no idea when the light turned red. I was completely unaware of the lights. I had zoned out.  Then I remembered that this same thing had happened to me just a few mornings prior when I was driving Lily to preschool. I had mentally checked out and when I came through I had no idea if I had passed the street for her school yet. As soon as I got my bearings I realized that my "zone out" session had only lasted a few seconds and I still had two more streets to pass before Lily's school.

Truth is, we all have a lot going on in our lives. When we have daily routines it's easy to switch our brain to auto pilot, let our brain go through planning out our day and that long To Do list while our body mindlessly functions, carrying out routine activities.  This is not good. We must be present. We must take time to breathe in and out. Enjoy the moment.

These days are all about meeting deadlines, being on time, don't forget this, remember to do that! Shuttle the kids here. Husband has to go there. I need to call so and so, I need to remember to tell so and many things in between all the other things... and POOF! at some point we collapse from exhaustion. I do. Every now and again I'll spend days brain dead on the couch, functioning just enough to tend to the kids, resting my bones from all the other things that can wait. And that's the lesson here: we are always in a hurry, when in reality, IT CAN WAIT. Our health, our body, our mind, needs us to slow down and be in the moment. Sometimes, it takes running a red light, to remember that.  (I'm so, so thankful nobody got hurt in the process!)

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