Many years ago I was at a crafts fair and a woman was escorting her elderly mother. The mother was very old and frail and muttering something to herself over and over again. I asked the daughter what her mother was repeating and she replied “It will never work.”
I asked the daughter what her mother meant and she said that back in the day there was enormous opposition to the proposal of erecting traffic lights. Those who opposed the traffic lights said that they would never work and it was a waste of money and that no one would stop at the stoplights!
Can you imagine what our world would be like without traffic lights and stop signs?
This little vignette has stayed with me for nearly 20 years. Its message resonates with me on many levels.
The ability to stop- to really, really stop is essential and provides the opportunity to regroup, reorganize, and decide.
Isn’t that what happens at a stoplight or stop sign? We stop. We wait our turn. And then we go.
Maybe we stay on the same track and go straight. Maybe we take a left hand turn or a right hand turn.
The skill of stopping gives us the opportunity to reorder ourselves, reorganize and within that framework –decide. Stopping allows us to decide to stay on the same path or turn down another path.
But unless we are driving down the street most of us don’t have stoplights or stop signs.
We live in a go-go, do-do world. We rush, we speed we can barely catch our breaths. We never stop until something forces us to stop like an illness or an accident.
But you can change that. You can stop. You can stop right here and right now.
Stop and wait and notice where you are. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste? What do you smell? If you are sitting then notice how you are sitting. If you are standing then notice that.
Stop and be still. Now notice the world around you and how you are in this world. Take in your senses. Experience this beautiful world.
At this point you may be asking “But how can I remember to stop? I get going and then I forget to stop.”
The answer is easy! Post it Notes! Place Post it Notes in places of transition. Place a Post it Note by the coffee maker, the refrigerator, the bath room mirror, the front door, any doorway, the dash in your car- any place that you make a transition. Just write STOP!
Let the Post it Note be your stop sign. Trust me this works and it is practically free!
Does this resonate with you? Please share your thoughts.
Photo: Julie Macey