(Photo credit: http://sf.streetsblog.org/category/community-organizations/walk-oakland-bike-oakland/)
A few weeks ago I was riding my bike to work. It was cool and frosty (for the Bay Area) morning and my head was a bit cloudy. I was coming to an intersection and I spotted a young woman standing at the corner judging if she could make it across the street given the oncoming traffic. She stepped into the street and then noticed me coming. She hesitated, seemingly to wait to see if I was going to slow down and let her pass. I slowed my bike, wanting to give her the time to go ahead and cross the street. I made a slow roll towards her as she stayed her place and stared at me. I continued to crawl forward trying to show her that I was slowing for her. As I just about reached her location, she let out a big huff, slapped her thigh in exasperation and stomped across the road yelling, “I was letting you go!” I in turn shouted back, “But I was letting you go!” And I felt embarrassed and a bit angry that she was now frustrated by my attempt to do a favor.
As I myself began to huff-pedal my bike towards downtown Oakland, a thought arose in my mind, “I will never try to do something nice for anyone ever again!” Thankfully, I caught this thought and made light of it. “Okay mind,” I thought in response, “I won’t do anything nice anymore because one person got pissed off at me.” I realized deeper that I was also judging this person. Who knows what state of mind she was in? Where she was heading? Maybe she had been in a bike accident before? It is impossible to know.
The reminder for me is that this happens too often – where we let one event dictate our future relationships and attitudes towards life experiences. Today I went bowling and I had fun doing it. That was a huge shocker for me, because I associate bowling with something that I hated doing as a child, because I was horrible at it. (I am still horrible, and it can still be fun.) So, I want to challenge you to be more aware of the things you hate in life and those moments that piss you off, and see if you can invite in a bit of reason and humor into those situations. You might end up feeling compassionate instead of angry. That is true transformation.