A wise person from my past once made the observation that we grow frustrated by obstacles. Yet if we look again, we might realize these are providential occurrences. Blessings.
For instance, we’re in a hurry to arrive at a destination. We’re driving. Ahead of us, someone is going slowly. Below the speed limit!
We grit our teeth, talk to ourselves, complain out loud, gesticulate and generally grow agitated. The woman making this observation, Rev. Sue Remick, challenged her listeners to reconsider whether the slow driver ahead was a problem or a gift. She suggested that this driver, going slowly and causing us to brake and travel at a more thoughtful pace, even causing us to arrive late, was placed in our paths to keep us safe.
Such situations – like a maddeningly slow driver, or losing your keys so you leave the house later than you’d like, or getting a call just as you’re about to walk out the door — could be read as cautionary signs. Blessings in our travels. Fateful moments that we could interpret as a chance to take a little time. Breathe. Pay attention. Stay safe. Slow down.
Some people call these moments “God winks.”
My kundalini yoga instructor has her class recite a specific chant three times at the beginning of many sessions. She also says the chant to herself three times before she turns on the ignition in her car. She believes that it is the difference between safety and danger … this discipline that causes her to pause, focus, take a little extra care, and begin her journey with a breath of prayer to bless her way. She thinks those few seconds of repeating sacred words, invoking divine assistance, may have saved her life more than once.
I say this same prayer to slow a wheeling mind at night, or to calm me down when I’m angry or overwhelmed, and need to breathe slowly and deeply.
In any situation, you can be annoyed by the delay. Feel your blood pressure escalating.
Or you can breathe. Say a prayer. And try to be grateful for the frustratingly slow driver, or missing keys, or extra errand that sends you on a detour … and consider it a blessing. You may not know just what fate you have escaped today. Or what fate you have embraced.
Such an interpretation is entirely yours to make … but if the event is the same, regardless of how you respond to it, you might as well receive the benefit of it, yes?
After all, if you arrive safely at your destination, or even find yourself going someplace else altogether, you are one step further along your journey … wherever it may take you.