The world is in such a hurry these days. In a society running on Starbucks and work deadlines, it is tough sometimes not to get caught up in the “go, go, go” of every-day-life. I think that red lights have been the bad guys for too long. I think red lights and stop signs and traffic jams all deserve a second thought. And that thought is this: Is it really so bad to pause every once in a while? Is it just awful to have a second to think, to reflect, or to slow down long enough to notice the extraordinary sunset sweeping across the sky? Don’t you ever find yourself wishing you could just escape for a minute? Here is what red lights have been trying to tell us for a century now and five ways to fully appreciate their potential.
1. Take in the stillness. Take a second and look around and feel the world rush past you. Be a part of the trees or the buildings, the things that are being still, and appreciate life from their perspective. The masters have always told us to go with the flow, but that doesn’t mean losing yourself in it. You deserve to have moments all your own. Be your own flow. Take a deep breath… and then Go.
2. Be grateful. It always feels good to remember all the things we are thankful for, especially if we are having a bad day or stressing out. You can’t help but stop at a red light (well legally), so even if you are in the biggest hurry of them all, you have permission from traffic laws everywhere to slow down and take a breather. Take advantage of it, relax, name a few reasons you are happy to be doing what you are doing. Think about what you enjoy about your life and what you are fortunate to have.
3. Be friendly. Notice the people around you. Smile at a stranger. Study your fellow beings. Barge into their lives a little and let them know they are not alone. Making someone smile is a simple gesture that often takes you further than you could ever imagine. ” I don’t even know you, I don’t know what you do for a living or what church you go to or whether you’re a Stealers fan or not, but I’m going to smile at you.” How could that not feel awesome?
5. Quiet your mind. I’m sure we can all relate to streaming and unyielding thinking marathons that just never seem to stop and yet never seem to get us anywhere. You’re just thinking about nothing and everything at the same time and maybe you feel like you wish you could just turn your brain off. Your favorite song is on the radio and you can’t even enjoy it ’cause it’s so loud between your ears. This is when you stop and simply think to yourself “I wonder what my next thought will be?…” (The only way to know if it works is to try it) But I would not suggest doing this while driving, which is why red lights are wonderful!
5. Take care of your body. Red lights are the perfect time to do those little things you should do and always forget to like drink water or do your Kegel exercises! Whenever we do anything nice for our body it sends a message of security and value to all our moving parts and working systems. Cellular biologist, Bruce Lipton, says “our cells really are sentient entities that are trying to work together for our good.” When we send our body messages of love and security our cells take that message and run with it which enables our systems to operate more optimally. Take good care of your body, it will take good care of you. Also, Doing your Kegel exercises strengthen the PC muscles, helps in treating urinary incontinence and can increase sexual gratification. So many red light wins!
So, instead of being impatient and stressed or bored and stuck with nothing to do but read the bumper stickers on the car in front of you, you now have five productive mind, body, and soul practices to enrich your life one red light at a time. See you out there!