So…here’s what happened to me this morning on my way to my favorite hiking trail.
As I was driving down the scenic route (politely sharing the road with all the cyclists, most of them keeping safely to the right), I noticed a bunch of cars held back by a group of cyclists taking up the WHOLE lane (literally up to the yellow line separating the two traffic lanes).
I watched as car by car, they attempted to pass the group of cyclists without scaring (or hitting) the on coming cyclists in the oncoming lane. It’s a curvy road and difficult to see oncoming cars and bikes at times.
I could feel myself getting more and more agitated by the scenario unfolding before me. I mean, come on! Can’t these cyclists see that they’re creating a dangerous situation for everyone (including themselves)?
So, by the time it was finally my turn to pass, I was really pissed. I gave them a couple honks of my horn (nothing too loud or aggressive cause in spite of their “not well thought out” tactics, I didn’t want anyone to get startled and fall off their bike), casually flipped them the bird, and safely passed them.
It really wasn’t that big a deal.
My next thought was, “WTF Tanya! Since when do you get triggered like that?!”
It’s not that I don’t get angry or triggered, it’s just that in most cases (clearly not all), I’m able to press the pause button. I normally just realize that I’ve been triggered, choose the highest expression of love I’m capable of in that moment, and RESPOND accordingly.
This time, I completely missed the pause button…and flipped the bird instead. That is so not me.
It didn’t take me long to understand that I reacted the way I did because I have a pet peeve about people being inconsiderate; and that group of cyclists was being so inconsiderate (not just to me, but to everyone else on the road).
I felt totally justified in being pissed off but that doesn’t solve the issue of me getting triggered and REACTING unconsciously.
Over the years, I’ve come to understand that it’s NEVER about what happens outside of me. It’s ALWAYS about what got TRIGGERED INSIDE of me that matters. It’s the only reason that situations occur. The cyclist situation happened in order to bring attention to the unresolved issue I’m harboring inside of me. This pet peeve of mine.
I had to ask myself, “what’s at the heart of this pet peeve Tanya?” So, I went thru the list: I don’t like when people are inconsiderate because:
It’s infers that my needs don’t matter, my feelings don’t matter, my wants don’t matter, my wellbeing doesn’t matter… that I don’t matter.
They don’t see the value in me, so I therefore don’t matter to them.
“What’s below that?” I asked myself.
I’m not worthy enough to matter. Ah…there it was.
What got triggered in me was the fear of not being worthy, the fear that I am worthless and not good enough to matter.
On an intellectual level, I know this is not true, but what got triggered isn’t something that just resides in my mind…it’s something that’s been programed at a much deeper level than that.
Now…my next step was to ask myself, “well, what are you gonna do with this?” It’s not enough for me to understand why I got triggered (although that’s a great first step), I also have to figure out what I can do to “disarm the trigger”.
I rummaged through my mental “tool kit” and remembered something I read in a great book called The Four Agreements. One of the four agreements is, never take anything personally.
As I continued my pleasant drive, I reminded myself that even if someone didn’t see value in me, that would have absolutely NOTHING to do with me. Another person’s perception of me is just that…their perception. Their perception of me is a reflection of who they are…not who I am.
Someone else’s behavior has nothing to do with me either. They’re just running their own program most like completely oblivious of me.
So, there’s no point in EVER taking anything personally. I am in no way defined by someone else’s opinion, view, or experience of me. Everyone is experiencing life (and other people) through the filters in which they observe life.
Our perception is distorted by the filters we look through. What are those filters? Our belief systems, our past experiences, our programing, our values, etc…
By the time I got to the parking lot where I take my daily hikes, I was filled with gratitude for the group of cyclists. They brought my attention to an unhealed aspect of myself and gave me the opportunity to sit with it, honor it and release it.
I won’t be reliving the scenario over and over in my mind, angry at how inconsiderate those cyclists were because I understand that it was a gift sent to me by life, a gift designed to help me grow and evolve by bringing my awareness to an unhealed aspect of myself.
Instead of trying to “fix the outer situation”(force the world to be what I think it should be), I took responsibility for my state of being and took the necessary steps to bring myself back into balance and harmony.
Life will continue to lovingly send me such opportunities until I am no longer triggered. I will know that I healed that wounded aspect of myself when I am no longer triggered by it.
I will see the progress I make along the way by how well I can press the pause bottom, and consciously respond with loving-kindness because I am aware that the only reason it happened in the first place was to mirror back at me what is within me.
My ability to remember (especially when triggered) that life is never happening TO me, but is in fact happening THROUGH me…FOR me, will go a long way in helping me disarm those pesky little triggers .
The whole point of it all is to embrace the moment as it presents itself, knowing that it’s all happening for our greater good. Enjoy the adventure of discovering the buried treasures in all their unique and mysterious forms.
Our outer world is merely a reflection of our inner world.
Wanna change something in the outer world…go WITHIN.
And remember, PROGRESS…NOT PERFECTION.