Monday, August 3, 2009

By the Way, Life on Auto Pilot Isn't Living...

So, I'm sitting at the light on 19th Ave and Glendale. There are two cars in front of me. The light has turned green and the first guy is waiting traffic from the other direction to die down, before he finds his opening to make the left turn. The car in front of me pulls forward. The way is clear for him to go. There are no cars coming from the other direction. I'm waiting...he's waiting... cars behind us are waiting... I honk my horn and he pulls forward, slowly. Angered by this lack of initiative, I pull into the lane next to him and pull over into his lane some 30 feet in front of him. I make my right perfectly, no squealing tires or brake slamming. He is behind me, because he apparently is needing to visit the grocery store too.

This is just one example of what I call Auto Piloting through life!

My anger cooled minutes later. But, I am aware I could have handled it all better. I could have been in better control of the way I reacted to this situation, instead of letting it 'get' me. But this is the thing... this is not the first of one incident where I've noticed people just kind of emotionally surfing through life! It's not the first time I've noticed people paying so little attention to what they are doing. When the lane is clear, you go. You go because you are wasting other people's time by sitting there waiting at the light. If your heads not in the game, then you need to stay home!

People who don't find situations (Life) to be a priority are a problem for me. These types of people should be a problem for everyone! Another example: You and your friend are meeting for dinner. You have arrived at the place of meeting, 10 minutes early. You don't mind the ten minute wait. As a matter of fact, you don't mind the cushion of and extra ten minutes waiting for you friend. Traffic lights take a while sometimes, getting home late from another event can make a person late, etc.

Now, suppose it's 45 minutes after the time you are supposed to meet and your friend comes bounding in, happy to see you. Is there cause to be upset here? You arrived on time... a little early even! The 45 minutes you waited for that friend could have been spent doing something else, like eating. Making someone wait is rude and unaware. Making someone wait, sends the signal that that person is not priority! You can address this with your friend who may say, "Oh, I didn't notice. I'm sorry!"

Everyday, we look at situations like this as just fluff. We see them that way, because no one got 'hurt'. But what if someone did get hurt?

For example: Suppose your child is premature and needs a medication that is very specific. This medications name is very similar to another rare medication's name. As a matter of fact, the medications are different only by one letter in their name, but they do drastically different things.

Suppose a nurse, who is assigned to your baby, gives your child the wrong medication. They give the child the other medication, that is a letter off. Your child nearly dies because of this oversight! This is a true story. And it happens in hospitals, not on a regular basis, but it happens.

Something as delicate as a life deserves top priority when it comes to detail. In this instance, we wouldn't question that this nurse wasn't paying the strictest attention. But, shouldn't the strictest attention be paid across the board? Obviously, someone waiting in traffic for someone asleep at the wheel or arriving late to dinner, in no way compares to a child being wrongly medicated and nearly dying, but the premise is the same.

Would you want the air traffic controller of an airport to be text messaging his wife, while your plane is trying to land? Would you feel comfort knowing that the men who constructed your house were in fact daydreaming and discussing lunch time or other personal matters while they were putting your house together? Would you want the head of security for your building to be reading a book at work while a steady traffic of people enter the building unnoticed?

But, is paying attention to life, taking life too seriously? Should paying attention be relegated to only the dangerous parts of life? I say no! All of a life is important. From the first time you stub your toe, to the last traffic accident you had. Every incident in life leads to the next. Don't just pay attention to the dangerous parts of life! Pay attention to all of it. The only time you should feel comfortable letting your guard down and paying no attention is when you are asleep. Be awake for the other part of the day and night.

Stay safe!


1 comment:

  1. Mindfulness is not merely safer -- it makes the journey through life's sensations and experiences so much more rich and interesting!