For most of us, traffic is one of those things we think about routinely everyday. How long will it take to get to this meeting? How long will it take to get home? How much longer will it be until it clears up? And not too long after, a prolonged sigh inevitably follows. Depending on the weather, some days call for longer commutes than others and we’re collectively slapping our steering wheels, fidgeting restlessly, and gambling on which lane will get us there faster.
It’s silly how much traffic can manipulate our mood so quickly. And it’s silly how the weather can dictate our outlook on the day to begin with.
Today was the first (much needed) rainy day of the year. Needless to say, it also added more minutes to my commute than I really cared for, especially on a Friday. I always like to start my days before the sun, but this morning I found myself still sitting on the freeway as rays peered shyly through heavy grey clouds and the sun got started on the day without me. Just when I was about to let my negative frustrations consume me, I remembered some words I read yesterday from the Dalai Lama in The Book of Joy:
“…Many of the things that undermine our joy and happiness we create ourselves. Often it comes from the negative tendencies of the mind, emotional reactivity, or from our inability to appreciate and utilize the resources that exist within us. The suffering from a natural disaster we cannot control. but the suffering from our daily disasters we can. We create most of our suffering…”
We can’t control the rain; and although traffic is not considered a natural disaster, we can’t control the traffic either. But we can control whether traffic is a disaster at all.
We create our suffering. It’s all in our head.
So if you’re someone who actually enjoys watching the rain, use the traffic as result of it, to do just that and let the pitter-patter of the raindrops on your windshield soothe you. But if sunny days are more your cup of tea, be thankful that you don’t have to try navigating the roads nervously through the pouring rain next to your fellow, equally nervous commuter in the lane next to you. Instead, you both can inch your way slowly, safely, and confidently.
I’m someone who has a fairly good relationship with the rain…as long as I’m curled up on the couch at home. But I’m glad for my rainy commute today. As I mentioned before, we’ve really needed this rain. And it came as a perfect reminder to apply the lessons I’ve learned, exercise positivity, and to tap into my happiness.
Because if we create our suffering, then we also have the ability to create more joy.
DAY 5. Love, Ro