Driving north on I-95 I was in one of those autopilot moments when you don’t notice that time has passed or how you just cruised by seven more exits on your journey. The air was brisk and cold. The glare of the late afternoon winter sun made it hard to see. Then I glanced up at one of those electronic traffic signs that stretch across the lanes. I barely caught the message:
It’s a wonderful life.
I have no idea if a follow-up line appeared. Perhaps some traffic warning or DUI message. But I was delighted by it. It’s what SQuire Rushnell might call a godwink: “an event or personal experience, often identified as coincidence, so astonishing that it could only have come from divine origin.”
It may not have been an astonishing moment, but it caught my attention, bringing me back to the present moment. I said thank you to the angels for the little mindful reminder. I said thank you to the person who programs these digital traffic boards. (Who has that job anyway?) I said thank you for the privilege of driving a car with butt warming seats.
I began a small rampage of appreciation for the little things in life. Otherwise, what’s the alternative? We can find ourselves in a mental gridlock: road rage, grievances or gripes. Kind of like the image on a card my daughters gave us on Christmas morning (along with a handwritten note of thanks).
Put Your Feet Up
As we round the corner of another pandemic year I don’t know one person who is not exhausted, worn out, or cranky. Naturally, our nervous systems are taxed, our resilience is frazzled, and patience is out the window. Losses and sorrows have piled up. Who doesn’t have a resting Grinch face, even if hidden behind a mask?
It feels kind of unfair.
That’s why the only solution is to REST in whatever little ways you can. It may be taking a nap, putting your feet up, finding quiet time to read or reflect, or taking a walk in nature. (Listen to this week’s podcast episode on taking a pause: Push the Reset Button).
It really is ok to rest.
Above all, it’s time to draw on that inner wellspring of kindness, especially for yourself, no matter how far down it is. The late Irish poet John O’Donohue wrote:
There is a kindness that dwells deep down in things; it presides everywhere, often in the places we least expect. The world can be harsh and negative, but if we remain generous and patient, kindness inevitably reveals itself. Something deep in the human soul seems to depend on the presence of kindness; something instinctive in us expects it, and once we sense it we are able to trust and open ourselves.John O’Donohue
Even if life may not seem wonderful my sincere wish is that you may find wonder and kindness in the little crevices in life. Or, on a random traffic message board.
May 2022 bring you peace, comfort and joy.
- SQuire Rushnell (2006). When God Winks at You: How God Speaks Directly to You Through the Power of Coincidence
- John O’Donohue (2008). To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
- Check out the Kind Minds Podcast. Please subscribe and leave a review.