The beauty of the open road

I had one of those moments recently. You know, when you’ve had a pretty good day, and you’re feeling pretty good about life, and then, hypothetically speaking, you have a conversation with your child that doesn’t go so well and suddenly you find yourself frustrated and angry, and you think, “What just happened?!”

I don’t know about you, but throughout any given day, I am continually waking up and going back to sleep. I have moments of awareness and then I slip back into old patterns of reactivity.

But in the middle of my moment yesterday, something happened…Maybe it was the result of years of meditation practice or maybe I was just tired of the same old thing. I was able to step out of the conversation and see myself. I realized that I was more frustrated with myself than my child and I was overreacting out of my own impatience. And the second I realized this pattern, I knew I had a choice: I could either let go of my need to control the situation, apologize and laugh at myself, or I could stay stuck in all the old patterns.

It wasn’t easy, but chose to let go. And, instead, I opened up to the moment, to vulnerability, to being wrong, to uncertainty, to humility, to failure, and to not knowing. I let go of any preconceived images of myself as wise or rigid or good mother or bad mother, and I opened to the opportunity to start over and see, as Pema Chodron says, “each moment as completely new and fresh.”

And felt like the narrator in Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of the Open Road”: “Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, healthy free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.” I’m grateful I had my moment. I learned a wonderful lesson about starting over, waking up, and about seeing the beauty of the open road, the open road of me.

5 Comments on “The beauty of the open road

  1. I really related to this! Totally reflects our recent conversation about reactivity.

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  2. My kids are super frustrated with me due to my nagging about homework. It really agitates me.

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    • It’s so hard to find that balance between working toward something (like motivating our children) and not being attached to the result. What is, is what is. We can’t change what is. And I think we can only work toward something when we are aware of ourselves and the place we are acting from. Ralph Ellison says, “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” So I think that is the work, discovering ourselves…

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