I was driving my daughter to school, and as usual we had left at the last possible second to be on time. I have two school zones to go through on the way to her school. Today I was rushing a bit (and it's not the first time, though generally I am really careful in the school zones) and as we were rolling along singing "Oh what a beautiful morning!" (Yes, from "Oklahoma!") I saw a motorcycle police officer, saw him see me, and my song changed abruptly to, "Oh, shit. I think I'm about to get a ticket."
Sure enough. I won't bore you with too many details of how I couldn't find my insurance papers, etc. He wrote me up a citation for speeding in a school zone. Now I knew I had speeding just as he said. But part of me, underneath my civil attitude (alternating contrition with trying to entice him with a chilled out attitude, or some such bogus manipulation), was feeling like '*I* should be able to get out of this!'
I explained to him what an exemplary citizen I am blah blah, and asked him please to just give me a warning. He said it was too serious of an infraction. He told me that he was writing it for 30 in a 20, though I had been going 32. I thanked him, but it wasn't until I looked at the fee schedule that I realized he had saved me $40. Unfortunately at that same moment I also realized I was going to owe $194, and that overrode my appreciation. I choked up and said goodbye, still thinking in some corner of my mind, 'Let him notice I'm a nice woman with a rather old car and a cute kid, all innocent and sweet...'
When I got back in my car I was crying, and saying some choice four-letter words. I carried on for a minute or so feeling sorry for myself. Gemma very sweetly offered me $10 from her purse. I pulled myself together and let her know that it was totally my fault, that I had been doing the infraction, and that it was okay. I took responsibility for my emotional outburst and the incident from a grown-up mom identity. However, I was still feeling pretty cranky about it after I dropped her off at school five minutes later.
I felt myself wanting to call friends, who had gotten tickets and such: the temptation to commiserate, seek bemused sympathy, or whatever. And then I thought, what would that do? So I decided to use an exercise, the source list, from the Avatar course to process my feelings about the event with the intention to be able to move forward in present time through my day with out resentment or grumpiness. Well, I got that and more, within minutes of starting the exercise!
I had been doing it for a few minutes, waiting in a long line of traffic in the 2-mile construction zone that is MLK Blvd currently. Suddenly a silver car pulled out from behind me and sped past me, two other cars and two huge trucks in the intersection. I thought to myself, "Sure, and where are the cops when that happens? Why do bad things always happen to ME?"
I realized immediately that I had in effect wished ill fortune on another person, who I knew absolutely nothing about, and that that didn't feel good. In a flash I realized that it was another form of commiseration, another pattern I have been working to shift in my consciousness. The time lapse between having the initial thought, and feeling what it was, was so short that I knew I am making progress.
Two seconds later an unmarked sheriff's car pulled out and began chasing the silver car, with lights flashing.
All at once my perspective totally shifted. I started laughing and was very widened back from the whole scene. I was relieved that I had noticed my desire for another to experience failure BEFORE the cop pulled out after him. I felt the kindred ness with others, including the police, not in commiseration, but in a "just like me" kind of way, like in the compassion exercise. It was a great feeling and a little hard to translate into words.
I continued my exercise as the traffic paced forward. Realizations compounded. I went from feeling sorry for myself to realizing how far I have come in my spiritual growth. I felt that though I had had a few thoughts, I had not gone to the place in my psyche that I have lived in so much in my life of feeling chagrined that others don't recognize my 'special case'. All at once the charge was off and I realized that hey, I chose to drive a car, there are certain rules, I broke them and I got caught. Shrug, smile.
Then I felt gratitude for the policeman for treating me well during our interaction. I felt how serious I had been, and how I had tried to manipulate him. I regretted not just enjoying the interaction I had created by my actions in the game of life. I had passed by a chance to connect with another being by not being willing to see past his costume. 'More work on authority'-- note to self.
Then I felt gratitude for the entire incident. The $194 seemed a small price to pay for the freedom I was feeling. I saw, in a microcosm of an Akashic record, how many, many incidents and creations of mine led up to this happening. I saw the inertia of things in my life, the momentum in a certain direction, and the choice to hang this up as a bummer or to hold the powerful intention, "I can't wait to see the good that will come of this."
I finished the exercise before I had reached the spot where the incident happened, and passed by the landmark with a soaring feeling of appreciation, humility, and cheerful high spirits. Without having this Avatar exercise in my handy, portable toolkit, I would have probably been faced with a day of feeling minorly hard-done by, alternating between trying to talk myself into finding the positive side and criticizing myself for being careless. As it is, it's 10 am, and I am feeling a day of expansion and growth ahead! What next?