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Can we have peace in a hurry?

© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD

Now, really! There is a little wiggle room of time we give the driver in front of us who does not have the reflexes of an astronaut when the light turns green, right? And, we're all generally aware of it. That's why we know it's not the norm when the honk comes a nano-second after the light changes. Somebody is impatient, angry, frustrated, or simply irrational! We then choose to sow peace and let it go...right? I hope none of us are giving away our emotional well-being so trivially at this point. (If you happen to be still doing that, this would be a good time to re-evaluate. Call me. We need to

I live in the home state of the so-called "California Stop," a kind of almost rolling through any intersection without fully applying the brakes. Now here in the Golden State, there is actually a time period that constitutes a full stop. That is a full three seconds! Imagine--three whole seconds to keep ourselves and others safer. So, now you know why yesterday's event truly surprised me.

I have a dear friend who is ninety-five years old. He used to a lecturer at Sandhurst College in England and he continues to teach as he keeps me up to date on the soccer, baseball and daily news that I take no time to follow. Beyond that, he keeps me informed of what is in the current edition of Time and Newsweeks magazines, and the features in National Geographic. So, there is no loss of interest or ability there! He even gets his scores and news headlines--including the BBC--online, and he loves Google!

He is not fond of seatbelts. So, here was the surprise: we were stopped at a stop sign within a Von's (Canadians: read Safeway's) parking lot. He was having difficulty doing up the seatbelt and a stopped and reached to secure it. No more than one second used, and BEEP! comes from a big blonde woman in a black SUV behind me. I could not believe it!

We got the seatbelt fastened and were on our way within the three second mandated time frame. Wherever did she think she had to hurry to that required honking in that second? In a parking lot for heaven's sake!

So, three things to ask ourselves:

  • Have we ever been that driver behind me?
  • How do we choose to respond to that driver behind me?
  • Can we possible have peace if we're always in a hurry?

In every moment, in every relationship, we can choose to sow peace.


Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, is the founder of Sow Peace™.

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  1. Richard - Reply

    Dr. Shaler,

    What I have discovered in my life about being peaceful is to not be affected by the offenses of others. I think a good way to respond to a driver that shows their frustration by honking irrationally or through some sort of offensive sign language is to respond back with a wave and a smile or if they can hear you, say, “bless you.”

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      DrShaler - Reply

      I agree that we can respond in a cheerful way. I personally offer the smile alone. The reason for that is that anything more can be equally infuriating to others, and can be taken as a sign of superiority. I prefer to bless them secretly and silently.

  2. Brian Hubenig - Reply

    Driving in my home-town with a one-lane highway was particularly taxing last night. The person in-front of me was driving 20 km’s less than the speed limit. I gave them plenty of room and as frustrated as I was I calmed myself by thinking how I was being safe and respectful. Treated them how I would like to be treated. I had enough room that a vehicle turning left was able to get in between me and the slow-car ahead of me. I did have to apply heavy breaks as they cut in and since I was moving slower than usual it was easy for me to do so.

    The car that moved in-front of me promptly tailgated the slow driver (less than a car length). I just shook my head in disbelief. Many people don’t think about the consequences of their impatience. Bad driving habits, out of ignorance for safety factors or anger/impatience leads to violence.

    People don’t tend to think of car accidents as violence because they are for the most part ‘unintentional’. However what motivates one to tail-gate? Impatience – one’s emotions are try to force someone to go faster. The desire to affect the speed though intimidation with disregard for safety. A possible consequence of your desire to affect the other driver – a violent accident.

    I believe that some accidents are a manifestation of your emotional state. Be calm, plan well ahead to be where you want to be a a certain time so if something unexpected occurs you’re not in a panic-fuled rush.

    Brian Hubenig

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      DrShaler - Reply

      Brian, I agree with you completely. Our emotional states affect us in many ways, as does stress, anxiety, fear and….cell phones! If we can be willing to do what you did, look within and choose a peaceful approach, we have moved towards consciousness. If we’re still blaming all the things outsides of ourselves–that includes “the other guy/gal,” then, we’ve got quite a ways to go to creating a peaceful, collaborative community!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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