If you’re like most people, you look at a red light in one of two ways: as an annoying occurrence that’s keeping you from getting you to your destination sooner, or, as an opportunity to check your phone for messages, send a quick text, check your face/hair/whatever in the mirror, or surf your music until you find a better song.
Ever wonder why it is that we’ve become obsessed with filling the quiet times in our lives? Take the red light as an example. It’s a much-needed occurrence because it manages traffic to minimize accidents (except for the people who blow them) and keep traffic flowing. But it can also exacerbate tension.
When you hit a red light, how often do you view it with contempt? How many times does it make you crazy enough to start drumming your fingers on the wheel or cursing at the universe because it’s set you back a whopping 60 seconds in your day?
But you know what? It’s not the red light that’s making you frustrated. More than likely, it’s just you and the gnawing tension inside you that’s using the red light as an excuse to feed it.
So it’s a signal, for sure, but a signal of a different kind.
I read a blog the other day about using red lights to calm. To take time in our very busy worlds (busy worlds that are self-induced by ourselves, by the way) to sit back and relax. Instead of using that time to our detriment and trying to fill it with meaningless actions (like checking email or sending a text–which you shouldn’t be doing anyway!), how about focusing on the blue sky above you. Or inhaling the sweet scent from a nearby tree. Or maybe watching the patience with which an elderly person crosses the road. Or listening to the sound of chirping birds overhead.
Doing so might just give you a pleasant surprise (it did for me!). It just might help you relax, refocus, and rejuvenate. You know, we don’t always have to occupy every moment of our time. Moments of relaxation, even those that last only ten or twenty seconds at a clip, can do wonders for our bodies and our brains and our spirit.
So, go on. Give it a try. Next time you come to a red light, instead of getting angry at the holdup or finding a creative way to pass the time, how about sitting and just being in the moment instead?
If you’re anything like me, you just might get a very pleasant surprise out of the experience. Enough to keep doing it again, and again, and again…
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