A couple of days ago, I was driving to a Day Spa. While the street was a main thoroughfare, traffic was more like that on a side street: easy, careful, not-that-busy (except for rush hour and this wasn’t rush hour). I was at a red light and noticed a woman starting to cross from the opposite side while traffic was stopped. Not within a crosswalk, crossing about fifty feet from the intersection. Not straight across, at an angle.
She reached the center of the street just as my light changed to green. Seeing traffic was heading her way, she quickened her pace a bit but not her angle and so was still crossing when we reached her. As we waited, I got really annoyed: if she had walked straight across, she would have already reached the other side. But she continued at an angle holding up traffic. I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t understand something that simple – the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, from one side of the street to the other, not at a fricking angle. How does that not make sense if you’re hurrying to get out of the way? That’s just logic (and math). And consideration for others. So, WTF?
I got snarky. Inside my car, I was bitching and moaning that all she had to do was walk straight across. Didn’t she see she was holding up traffic? Didn’t she get how inconsiderate she was being by not paying attention or even thinking of anyone but herself? While my snarking didn’t get loud enough for her to hear, it was pretty intense with the use of many colorful metaphors. It was far more intense and nasty than the situation deserved.
I caught myself, stopped bitching and looked inward. What was I so hot about? I wasn’t in a bad mood. I wasn’t late. Traffic wasn’t bad. I had the day off. The sun was shining. It was warm but not hot with a lovely breeze. I was heading to get a massage! And here I was bitching because somebody crossed the street at an angle? She wasn’t doing anything wrong. I realized the WTF was for me. I was being unconsciously mean. I wondered what I was so pissed at deep within myself or in my life that made me take that anger out on a woman when there was nothing on the surface that seemed to be bothering me.
I remembered a time while living in LA when a similar slap hit me. I was again in traffic, this time it was during rush hour on the 101 freeway (argh!) and I became aware how many people didn’t signal when they were merging or turning and how frequently that almost caused accidents. At one point I started counting the cars in traffic who merged or turned with and without signaling (two-thirds of drivers did not signal). I got so pissed! Again, there were colorful metaphors. Again, I caught myself and wondered what it was about.
In dissecting what I was feeling then, I realized this issue went back to early childhood when there was a double-standard of fairness with my mother. I had to be on the ball, follow unequal rules and anticipate her moods for my own emotional safety. That was affecting how I was driving forty years later. I was resentful, not only that these drivers were so unconscious how their lack of awareness and inconsideration affected others, but I was stuck in my own thinking that “how dare they” not follow rules when I had had to all my life.
I’ve long been aware that the way people drive represents how they think of themselves, many times as if they feel they’re the only ones on the planet and have “rights” to drive the way they want or, because of how their lives are not going they way they’d like, they drive with that anger and resentment. In my case, feeling the lack of consideration didn’t affect how I was driving, but how I was looking at and expecting better from others which led to anger.
Psychologists call it “transference”: the redirection of feelings and desires, especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood, toward a new object or person. We get angry, frustrated or resentful at something in our lives and can’t safely take it out on what causes the anger, frustration or resentment (can’t bitch at a boss who’s being a dick), so we sometimes yell in traffic, hopefully with the windows up so no one else hears. When issues come to us so young, they become innate with age, unless we stop to deconstruct and face them.
During my LA traffic bitch session, I knew that related to my childhood. Here in Austin while heading toward a massage, the explanation was more of a puzzle.
I remembered another, more positive experience when I discovered the great benefit of taking Chinese herbs for healing. I was introduced to them and an amazing herbologist by my massage therapist (all roads lead to massage?) After I had been taking the herbs for six weeks while also foregoing sugar, dairy and wheat, I realized that I had stopped using colorful metaphors altogether without consciously watching my language. Why? Because dis-ease, including dis-ease of energy, was leaving my body. Anger had evaporated because I was more balanced within. No need to bitch at anything because I was at peace.
So my experience with the angle-crossing lady indicated I wasn’t at peace if something that slight and silly got me so riled up. In looking deeper, I saw it still related again to childhood where I had learned a very strong lesson in consideration, or the lack thereof, as there was only one-sided consideration in my house – of my mother, which was not reciprocated. The lack of consideration in others, which is very common in this society, especially in large cities, has always been a big deal for me. Even knowing young souls are so concerned with their own selves that consideration of others is way beyond their scope, it still bothers me.
But being out of balance this time wasn’t just an accumulation of childhood negativity creeping up on me. It also related to my physical body. I was uncomfortable with my weight, feeling lonely, eating the wrong foods to make myself feel better and experiencing the oppressive and sometimes overwhelming energy of the sorrow and fear most people are experiencing right now. With the current energy making us face things within ourselves to help us heal and come into personal balance, I was getting that lesson in a very constructive but annoying way. Then again, there’s no way what we’re facing now can be anything less than annoying and is usually a lot more.
We all unconsciously carry things that keep us out of balance: slight health issues from not exercising or eating well, unrequited or unhealed emotional experiences from this and past lives (for the 2,000 years of the Piscean Age we were taught that physical well-being is more important than emotional well-being), or karmic issues making sure they’re addressed. There’s also the stress we’ve grown so used to expecting in our daily lives, self-judgment, and judgment of others (which is really judgment of self). And right now as we shift into different vibrations, we have feelings of not being in sync with our own skin and our own world.
It’s not in our usual purview to stop to examine an emotion or reaction when we’re experiencing it. But it’s a good thing to do right now. It helps us clear past and present negativity from our lives, to re-balance ourselves when faced with the option. We might not be able to completely heal everything by just being aware of an imbalance, but it makes us more conscious of who we are and what we bring to the world, and our responsibilities as human beings alive at this time of transition. We can take full responsibility for how we affect others, both with how we treat them and how our inner dis-ease and vibration influence them.
While I was aware that my nasty words would have had an effect on the angle-crossing lady so I didn’t allow them to be heard, I wasn’t thinking that my anger-vibe was going to hit her in some way that she didn’t deserve. How did I know that my vibe wasn’t going to ruin her day in a subliminal way that she wouldn’t understand? Or that my anger would fuel her anger that she would then take out on others?
More than any other year, 2017 focuses on these lessons, especially this summer, especially August. The more we don’t look within, the more out of balance and uncomfortable we will be, and the more we make others out of balance and uncomfortable. Of course, it’s all part of a bigger picture with these self-awareness lessons being part of our classroom, but if we can stop affecting others with our unconscious meanness, it ripples out and works on the healing and advancement of everyone on the planet.
I offer this with love and gratitude…