On Monday, Py Korry wrote a post on Hate, and I had commented about how my mother would remind me how powerful that word really is and to make sure I thought long and hard before I ever used it. So often we find it too easy to say we hate this vegetable, or that person's actions, or ultimately that race of people (ok, maybe that one isn't as easy for most, but frighteningly easy for some). Py's post stuck in my mind through the day.
After work, I had to drive down to San Mateo for some Halloween costume shopping, and then had to merrily head back up a crowded highway 101 (101 at rush hour, either way, is horrid). Traffic was actually moving along at a decent pace and everyone was spaced out. And then traffic slowed (as it always does), and I as I let off the gas and let my car come down to meet the new speed of traffic around me, I rolled up a little closer to the car in front of me. I didn't get close enough that I would say I was riding up on his bumper, but I was at least 15-20 ft away... a perfectly fine distance in my book for the speed we were going. The person in front of me turned on their dome light and very poignantly flipped me off. I was shocked. I felt a touch of anger in me that I did not like, and then felt guilty for upsetting this person. I adjusted my distance and speed and continued to ponder what just happened and why I felt such a strong feeling in my tummy.
I then really watched this person in front of me. They were totally tailing the person in front of them, and then started weaving in and out of traffic, tailing anyone they followed. Clearly this person was already agitated and just wanted to get wherever they were going.
While all of this driving, flipping off, observing business was going on, I was listening to a segment on NPR called "This I believe" where people tell a story about something they believe. The woman that was speaking during this week's segment was talking about how peace starts with one person being kind to another and then that person is more likely to be kind to another and so on (it spreads like syrup). Likewise, I feel that hate and hateful feelings do the same thing.
I continued to think about this phenomenon through my long drive home, and continued with a conversation with Eric. Sure we all have bad days, and bad thoughts and feelings happen, but if we can be more mindful and aware of how they effect others and our environment as a whole, there might be more motivation to be kinder to ourselves and those around us, whether we know then or not, then the love and peace might spread a little more easily.