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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finding Wisdom in Traffic Jams, Speeding Tickets & Songs

Ever get the idea that the universe is trying to tell you something?  Something important…something simple…something that once you finally listen makes you smack your head in that “Wow – I could’ve had a V-8!” kind of way.

“Hey Jill, SLOW DOWN!” was the message for me this summer.  But, like so many messages from the universe, (or God or your wise inner self or your mother or corporate sponsors) it often takes more than one time before the idea sinks in. 

#1 – Driving to the Denver airport from Breckenridge, Colorado.  When I turned onto I70, traffic slowed to a crawl. As I inched along the winding mountain roads (in the rain no less) for more than two hours I tried not to think about how many cups of coffee I’d had that morning, how badly I needed to pull over and find a restroom (no exits & no time!) or how likely it was that I was going to miss my flight (the last one back to Dallas of the day.) So what did I do? There was literally nothing I could do but
slow down. My hand was forced. I breathed.  I listened to the two CDs I had thankfully thrown in my bag and memorized most of the songs on them. (Rogue Wave & Laura Marling) I enjoyed being surrounded by the beautiful mountains. It took over three hours (twice as long as usual) to reach the airport but because of weather delays I ended up making my flight. (Another part of the lesson perhaps?)

#2 – Up in Breckenridge – running on the bike path near the river (but really wanting to walk) I had to laugh when I saw the words painted on the path under my feet  – SLOW…SLOW…SLOW. Aha! It’s okay to slow down and just walk this morning.  I slowed down to a brisk walk and really enjoyed the cool morning air as the stitch in my side vanished.

#3 – Driving back home to Dallas with my husband, daughter and dog, just outside of Amarillo…I saw the flashing lights, heard the siren and felt my heart drop into my stomach. My first speeding ticket in years! But I was only going ten miles over the speed limit…the speed limit had been five miles higher in Colorado and New Mexico…excuses…excuses.  Bottom line – the officer gave me a ticket and I slowed down.  Not just for the rest of our drive home either.  I’m still paying extra close attention to my speedometer these days.

#4 – Running errands with my daughter (notice how we even run errands!) listening to the latest CD from wonderful Texas singer/songwriter, Terri Hendrix. “Hey, Mom – can you play track #2 again? I like that song about slowing down. It’s nice.  You don’t hear too many songs about that.” Riley Anna had been paying attention.  I had not. Too busy running errands I suppose.  So I played it again.  Listening to Terri’s song “Slow Down” was the moment it clicked for me.  

All of the above memories flooded back and I felt a kind of peace spread like a warm glow through out my body. Slow down, Jill.  Enjoy this moment. Enjoy hanging out with your sweet (perceptive) daughter.  Enjoy really listening to this song.  Slow down long enough to remember that you too wrote a song titled “Slow Down” with your husband several years ago. (now where did I put that?)

Ahhh…the wisdom of traffic jams, speeding tickets and my almost eleven year old daughter.  Here's to remembering to slow down. 

All the best from my creative oasis to yours,

Jill Allison Bryan