My older son will turn 15 in a few weeks and as such has a couple of distinct interests.  One of them is…driving.  Where I once was simply the chauffeur, I now am the chauffeur AND a driving instructor.  He is interested in the workings of the vehicle as well as the rules of the road.

So yesterday I was driving him to basketball practice  and as we began to turn from our residential street onto the busy street he noticed my methods.  The right lane was clear so he asked, “Why didn’t you turn right?!” “Well,” I responded, “if possible, I like to wait until both the middle AND right lanes are clear before I turn into traffic.”  “Why?!” “Well,” I said calmly, “I can’t be sure the guy in the middle lane won’t decide to change lanes at the same time as I enter the street.  So it’s safer to wait a few seconds until it’s really clear.” “Humph!” was his reply.

To avoid overdramatics, I didn’t mention that those 4 extra seconds might make the difference between life or death by car accident.  Instead I said, “What’s the rush?”

He is in a rush.  He is a teen.  That’s his nature.  It’s also the nature of many Americans as we’ve been habituated toward and even rewarded for moving quickly.  Why is faster better?  Why is getting there better than being here?  The answer is, it isn’t. Moving quickly and rushing as a reaction to impatience is simply a result of years of programming. 

We often rush into and out of the poses on the mat in yoga.  The idea that getting our hand to the floor in triangle is somehow more fulfilling than the process of moving into the pose mindfully is common and misguided.  When we begin to slow things down and notice how we are in each moment as it unfolds, the experience is mesmerizing and satisfying.  When we continue our habit of rushing into traffic, we may get to our destination faster, but at what cost?  What are the risks?  What might we lose in the process? 

As we practice moving with awareness in and out of yoga postures on the mat, we break down our habit of speeding around and clutching for success and it starts to translate into our lives day-to-day where we find ourselves perfectly happy to sit and wait for traffic to clear before rushing in.

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.  -Will Rogers