A lot happens to me when I ride my bike. It’s on the bike that I experience both great inspiration and profound moments in which to “practice” at being the person I most want to be.
Last week as I biked down the street with my daughter on the back, I encountered a rather hostile man in a BMW. Upset that he had to slow down in order to pass us safely, he rolled down his window, came disturbingly close to hitting us and yelled, “get the fuck in your own lane!”
Note to angry man in the beamer: I WAS in the bike lane, dammit
The non-pregnant, primal, pissed off, uncivilized, unenlightened me wanted to jump off the bike, chase him down the street in the hopes of catching up with him at the stop light and unleash my most aggressive, ferocious, offensive self.
Like a lioness protecting her cub I imagined myself sticking out my chest, throwing my head back, roaring my biggest roar up in his face, fangs exposed and swallowing him whole. YUM!
But instead, I tucked my fangs away and allowed what he said to stir inside me; keenly aware of the intensity and the sensitivity I was experiencing as a result of this man’s verbal attack. I took a moment to sit inside my reaction because I knew I didn’t want his anger to take me down.
As I allowed his worlds to flow through me, surprisingly what poured out the other side was acceptance and compassion. I knew that this man’s angry outburst was not about me; it was about his pain, suffering and unhappiness. Had I chosen to react to him in an angry or aggressive nature he would have sucked me right into his negative space.
If the universe really does meet us where we are, then nothing good could come from me being in a fractured state of fierce, reactionary anger. It was at that very moment I realized that this interaction was a choice opportunity to practice love and compassion; to anchor into my radiance and power. This moment provided me with the fertile ground in which to cultivate my daily practice of aligning with the type of person I most want to be. I wanted to shout, “THIS moment is it! THIS is the practice!” I can see it clearly now. This moment is the holy space where liberation, change, growth and enlightenment live.
I was at the crossroads of either staying asleep or becoming fully alive. I was at the crossroads of making a choice of either unleashing more toxic energy into the world or holding steady in a place of love? I chose love.
Sure, it might feel good temporarily to unleash our anger on those that hurt us, to prove we are right, to make someone feel bad for how they treated us. But, the only thing we accomplish by lashing out in anger is that we rob ourselves of the possibility of joy. We close the lid on our chances to experience happiness and love and in doing so we lessen healing and increase suffering.
So, just as this man’s hostile behavior had nothing to do with me, my reaction to him has everything to do with me. So thank you angry man in the BMW. Instead of reacting to you with anger, I send you love and gratitude for the space you created for me to become even more aligned with my power and strengthened by my inner light.
Those moments where you find yourself at the intersection of breaking down or breaking open, of suffering or healing, anger or love, reaction or surrender, staying asleep or awakening are your greatest opportunities to not only move beyond suffering, but to really come alive.
The way I see it we have two options: we can drink someone else’s poison which leaves us feeling sick, drained, depleted, and less than or we can stay aligned with our greatest purpose and continue to shine our light. I can look back and respond in anger: crazy chasing crazy down the street or I can face forward, pedal on, eyes on the horizon, and breathe even deeper into love.
How can you breathe even deeper into love today? How might your life be different if you saw those people who challenged, frustrated, and angered you as your greatest opportunity for love and enlightenment?
What if we made the conscious choice to bless instead of condemn; spread joy instead of anger, shine a light rather than live in the dark? What might you need to let go of, in order to live inside that perspective?
At any given moment we can either drink the poison or heal ourselves. What’s it gonna be?