Chacos column: Commuting and the Law of Attraction
The morning drive can be a soothing, rejuvenating experience when the gas tank is full, the coffee is hot, and the cars are all moving at a steady clip. On the other hand, the commute may be riddled with insane amounts of profanity and adrenaline instead. With so many factors determining the outcome of my mood when I finally arrive to my destination, I’ve decided to channel the power of positive thinking to tame my frame of mind.
Generally, the alarm goes off at the same time each morning, and I go about my routine. I make the school lunches, shower, walk the dog and make a cup of coffee for the road. On the drive I listen to uplifting songs belting them out at the top of my lungs. Other times I try to feel smart, so I catch up on the news. And when I need to connect, I’ll call my parents for a little chat. I’m relaxed, weave seamlessly around cars, and feel pretty pumped up about the upcoming work day.
Then there are other types of days that start with an intimate relationship with the snooze button instead. By the time I eventually crawl out of bed, I feel like I’ve been hit by a semi. The dog will refuse to do her business in a timely fashion, a pimple miraculously sprouted up on my face overnight, there’s a thick layer of frost on the windshield, or I’ll wake up to my car buried under a foot of snow.
These early mornings all seem to be coincidentally coupled with a crappy commute, too. The radio plays bland tunes from seemingly tone-deaf musicians, the public radio station holds its zillionth pledge drive, my parents don’t answer their phones, I get stopped by every single traffic light, and I’m somehow stuck behind the slowest driver on the planet.
So recently, when I was behind an oblivious person driving ridiculously slowly in the left lane, I lost my cool. I muttered four-letter words, gesticulated wildly, and illegally passed on the right. Then my bagel, in a penultimate moment of increased frustration, had the wrong schmear of cream cheese. By mid-morning, I easily earned the title of “that wild-eyed bitch with a bagel problem.”
This redheaded road-rager decided it was time to flip the script on her mood. I acknowledged that waking up a few minutes earlier was not a viable option, nor was taking public transportation. I wanted to learn how to control the power of my mind and start the day harnessing only positive energy instead.
I’m no Buddhist, and I don’t rely heavily on the spiritual side of life. However, I am intrigued by and focus a lot of my attention on the law of attraction and overall happiness. I see how happy people generally make me happy and how being around negative people somehow always brings me down.
I started channeling the right kind of energy into my morning commute. I asked a happy co-worker to download some podcasts for me. She didn’t hesitate. Listening to Ricky Gervais, only dedicating a few minutes to the day’s headline news, and listening to the Science of Happiness weekly story has really set me up for success by the time I clock in for work.
Another morning I stayed in the right lane and attempted to adhere to the speed limit the entire drive. I sipped my coffee and let the experience unfold. That felt like the longest morning of my life, but I had lots of time to listen to an old interview with the hysterical Robin Williams.
By the time I eventually arrived at work, my giddiness was palpable. I didn’t even flinch when I found out two employees called in sick. I found my smile and remembered that like energy attracts like energy. I noted that my behavior would set off a chain reaction of events setting the tone for the day. I vowed to channel my energy in a positive direction.
As I start my day, I know there are choices to be made. For instance, I’m going to keep both hands on the steering wheel instead of employing my east-coast salute when a driver acts like an a-hole on the road. Or, when listening to the Commander in Chief blundering away again, I’ll trust in karma, and simply smile before changing the radio station to something more uplifting. And lastly, when another police officer pulls me over for speeding again, I’ll refrain from retorting that the speed limit is just way too low for people with places to go. I’ll thank him for only giving me a warning and drive off wondering if I have actual power in channeling energy in desired directions, or do I just have some powerful dumb luck.
Andrea Chacos lives in Carbondale, balancing work and happily raising three children with her husband. She strives to dodge curveballs life likes to throw with a bit of passion, humor and some flair.
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We can’t always put it on government to completely solve a problem, especially one with so many challenges and so much nuance such as homelessness.