I am terrified of highway traffic- the stop and go. I do not present as my highest self when I am a passenger in a car driving 60 plus miles per hour. I am short of breath, jumpy, overcome with fear. I am reminded in this situation of my lack of control. I am reminded of car accidents of the past. I am faced with the reality that, especially as a passenger in a moving vehicle, I am not in charge.
Part of me thinks that this is a physiological response to the fear-based memories of being in an accident. But also, I think it is a microcosm of a theme I have carried for a long time, maybe my whole life.
Growing up, I often felt that life was unpredictable and that felt scary. One of the personality traits that burgeoned within me was a need to control. Whether that was a learned practice is irrelevant. It seemed like the best way to "survive." If I could control the mundane then perhaps I could manipulate the ethereal as well. I could "save" myself. I could change it all.
Unfortunately, it took a long time to realize that this is a futile practice. It will never bring about the result I really want. That type of safety, that peace, is only found within. I am clearly still at work on this as I twitch in my car seat each time I see the brake lights ahead. But at least now I am aware that the fear is potentially debilitating and absolutely unnecessary.
I can choose to see it differently. I can attempt to let it go. I can use all the skills, the breath work, the prayer and meditation practices, the yoga, to guide me past it. I can actively stop trying to change the world around me and only try to change the world within me.
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." -Maya Angelou