Everyday Mindfulness: Red Lights

Daily life can feel hectic. We cram our schedules full, leaving no space for surprises and interruptions, both of which we can depend on regularly. This feeds our irritation and separates us from joy. Yet it's possible to make breathing room in the tightest of schedules. Momentary pauses abound. 

Red lights and stop signs are beacons of stillness. It takes this subtle shift: I'm stopped from moving forward (argh!); I'm allowed to pause and be, to relax for a few breaths. This practice has buoyed me. I now welcome red lights. I don't look in my purse or at my phone or obsess in my mind, I bring my awareness back to my breath and my body. I rest at the red light.

I also do this as a pedestrian. When crossing a busy street, I must wait for traffic. I wait and breathe deeply. Or I repeat loving-kindness phrases to myself: may I be safe, may I be happy, may I live with ease. Whatever the practice, it creates a break in the busyness. It gives me access to the present moment. It moves me toward both stillness and aliveness.