My dear friend Jenna wrote this year’s Thanksgiving Blog. She is among many things a Spira yogi, Spira’s social media guru and a graduate of Spira’s Teacher Training and your future teacher when she is ready for the task. Jenna not only supports me with Social Media, but she is my sounding board when I need advice. Every small business owner needs someone who is willing to challenge and discuss ideas to grow. Jenna is there to push me, to challenge me and to comfort me during difficult times. I am forever grateful for her work and company. I was deeply touched by her story; I hope you will find gratitude and peace through her words.
Gratitude through car accidents – a moment for reflection.
It’s 10:40am on Sunday and I’ve been driving just a few minutes when in my peripheral vision I see red for a split second – and then BOOM (!) I am t-boned by a car in an unmarked intersection just two miles from my home. My brain processes what just happened and I sit for a moment in the driver’s seat, do a quick body scan, and get out to see if the other driver is injured. I run to her car and ask if she is ok – she says, “No, I’m not ok!” She gets out of her car yelling curse words at me and I immediately realize I could be in a dangerous situation and start to take a few steps back and then I see her young daughter in the backseat – unharmed and unfazed, and my own children’s faces flash before my eyes. I understand her anger at this point so I try and defuse the situation – I tell her I am sorry this has happened and suggest we exchange information – she checks out the front of her car (which has just a few scratches compared to the damage done to my car) yells at me again, jumps in her car and takes off leaving me standing in the middle of the intersection.
What happened next? I called my husband, my insurance company, told my parents, and texted a handful of friends and was asked the same questions over and over – did you get her license plate? What was the make and model of the car? What did she look like? Did you call the police? My answer to all of the questions: No.
As the adrenaline wore off I replayed the accident in my mind and realized how lucky I was to have walked away. I also realize that according to the rules of the road I had the right of way and yet the other driver was seething and acted as if it was my fault! Even then I’m still not mad at her. Why? I should be mad as hell! But I know that everyone has a story and she clearly was going through a lot. I could make all sorts of judgments about her but I believe in karma and that there is a lesson in instances like this – perhaps she’s a single mom who never gets a break, maybe she is on her way to her first day at a new job or maybe she’s going to lose her job if she’s late, maybe she doesn’t have insurance or a license and yet she chose to take the risk because she still has to put food on the table. Maybe she’s going through a divorce. OR maybe it’s none of those things and she just had a rough morning. OR perhaps it’s not about her at all and it’s about ME. Maybe I need to slow down, be more mindful and aware of my surroundings. We live in a world of constant distractions and with the recent election it seems people are straight up hostile, sad, depressed, have anxiety and are more distracted than ever. I was given a choice on how to handle this situation and I chose to have perspective.
So to circle back to the title of this blog:
Car accidents: I got in my first one at 15 yrs old (the car rolled and we landed hanging upside down), a year later at 16 yrs old (2 months after getting my license) I was t-boned by a drunk driver and left on the side of the road at midnight – hit and run, my car was totaled. I walked away without serious injury from both of those and even had a few wrecks since then. As early as 18 years old I had a high school friend die in a car accident, a family member die in a head on collision (both teenagers), and in the past 2 years my former colleague lost her 22-year-old daughter and a friend recently lost her 19 year old niece – both from fatal car accidents. What have I learned from these horrific and fatal accidents? To tell my husband and kids that I love them when they leave me or I leave them, tell my friends and family I love them and show them I care. That life is short. That life is a gift and that the people who are left behind are the ones who suffer. And that walking away from an accident is something I am incredibly grateful for – I have an amazing life and have work left to do on this planet.
Mindfulness: After being hit I did a body scan and realized I could move safely and get out of the car. I then checked to see if the other driver and potential passengers were ok. After realizing how livid the other driver was I gave her space (physically) and chose the words that came out of my mouth mindfully to avoid the situation from escalating further.
Gratitude: This accident happened just a couple days ago and it is the week of Thanksgiving. I am fortunate to have a family to spend the day with and eat too much food with, watch football, and make new memories. And although I am suffering from extreme back pain from the accident I am mobile. I am whole.
Yoga: At the end of every yoga practice when the teacher ends the class with “Namaste” I bow and in my head say thank you to the teacher for guiding me, to my fellow yogis who shared their energy with me, and for my body that was able to enjoy and challenge myself with the physical practice of yoga yet another day.
And although today I am not able to get on my mat, run, pick up my kids, or walk the dog I am going to recover – it might take a few days or maybe a few weeks, but I will return to doing all of those things with a renewed sense of mindfulness in my practice and my actions on this earth, gratitude for my body – for being alive, and for my family and friends.
In Gratitude –