There is a freeway entrance here in Salt Lake that is a curious one for me. I enter the freeway on this particular entrance frequently and, each time, I feel inquisitive about the logic of putting it in that exact place and I am reminded of my driving adventures in Seattle (more about this in last week’s meditation). This entrance is so out of place that it seems to be “hidden” in the middle of a residential and industrial area. The farthest left lane of the entrance doesn’t actually enter the freeway, but, instead, continues on into the heavily populated, and somewhat rundown neighborhood.
It’s a narrow, two-lane entrance with a nice incline and a steep curve. There are no turn-offs and is only bordered by a narrow shoulder and 3-foot high cement barricades on both sides. There is no fudge-room on this ramp; no room for mistakes. And there is a lot of evidence of people who have made mistakes by not being conscious of what this particular ramp requires to be maneuvered safely.
I’ve witnessed people driving at breakneck speeds along this ramp and have even pushed my own car beyond the posted speeds for safety. However, each time I go into that curve, the momentum of the road takes over and I must slow down or be met with assured ruination.
The other day, I was entering this ramp alongside another car. We had been stopped for the red light of the intersection at the bottom of the ramp and I could see the two women in the car were in a heated discussion. There were a lot of facial expressions and gesturing that indicated an argument was well underway.
As our light turned green, the driver gunned her engine and shot off ahead of me, as if we were in a race. I meandered through the intersection, staying a significant distance behind them because I could see she was more intent on the conversation than she was on the driving. As we climbed the incline of the entrance, she punched the gas and her car aggressively lurched forward.
Suddenly, something came flying from atop the roof of her car. I watched the small pad slide across the roof on the driver’s side, down the rear window, across the trunk, and then launch into space. It turned end over end before crashing to the asphalt, tumbling along the road, scattering into hundreds of pieces, and eventually coming to skidding rest, tattered and broken in a trail of electronic dust and unrecoverable bits and pieces. Her distracted attention had resulted in a point of destruction.
I witnessed her slam on her brakes and could feel her actually contemplating to stop there, on the ramp with no room to breathe, and get out to recover the destroyed piece. I glanced in at them as I passed them and saw the driver, with tears streaming down her red face, yelling loudly and gesturing at the young girl. She was very angry.
In light of the fact that I have been so focused on being clear about what road I am on so I can verify that I am, indeed, in alignment to actually arrive at my destination successfully, I took notice of the drama that unfolded there on that crazy ramp. I saw how distracted that driver was and could feel just how unaware she was of her surroundings. I could sense that she knew where she was going, but really didn’t plan on being aware of how she was going to get there or if she was going to get there at all.
There are a lot of things that can hinder our progress when we are driving to a destination. Weather conditions, road conditions, traffic, other drivers whose attention is diverted or altered with substances, detours, car problems, disregarding the posted speed limits, our own inability to focus, or many other elements that are in play. When we are so focused on something – like an argument – when we are trying to do something else – like driving a 4,000-pound vehicle – it can have disastrous results.
The same can be said of our goals and dreams. If we are driving our life along the map we have set for our destination without paying attention to whether we are actually on the road we mapped out by watching for the signs that tell us we are successfully maneuvering the correct road, then we can look up and suddenly realize that we have lost something important along the way. Additionally, if we are detached from how we are performing on our road, it is quite possible we may never make it to our destination or, if we do, we will be exhausted, battered, and delirious.
Choosing to be clear about your destination (end-goal), drawing up a map (plan), having markers along the way to indicate to yourself that you’re still on the right map (mini-goals leading to the end-goal) and then consciously driving that road on your map (pay attention to your progress, successfully completing mini-goals) will have you arriving at your destination with resounding success and in great condition.
© Angie K. Millgate 9/7/13
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