Stop, and go.

Have you ever switched lanes in frustration, only to later watch drivers from the lane you previously occupied pass by with ease?

Several years ago, I made the decision to stop doing this. And at the time, it was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself. Of course, now that I am car-less in DC, I have found validation through a new and related challenge: crossing the street.

When I lived in China, crossing the street in Beijing was mostly an, all-hands-on-deck, experience. While a car may try to break the pack, it was more difficult to plow through a sea of 50 people all trying to cross the street at the same time. There was great safety in great numbers. And time and time again, especially on major intersections, I watched people pack together to cross the street.

And a similar sentiment exists while crossing streets in DC (although, I generally like to consider myself a rule-follower, waiting on the crosswalk signal to provide pedestrians with permission to move forward). Whereas a light will change and people will walk, it is also not at all uncommon for people to dart across the street, with grave attempts to dodge cars and traffic. These people stress me out.

I walk ten blocks to work every morning, and as a rule-follower, I try not to follow these renegades into the road without an accompanying, you-may-walk-now-you-good-citizen, affirmative light. Around block two this morning, I was joined by a man who was clearly in a hurry and visibly stressed. Three blocks in with this individual, I realized the other passers-by had also noticed his frantic behavior, and we shared, “Yeah, I know, dude needs to chill,” expressions.

Every time a light blocked us from crossing the street, this man would huff/puff in frustration, and find the least dangerous opportunity to cross the street. Every single block. And between his dart across the street and arrival at the next light, I caught up to him. Three times. And to be clear, I caught up to him in my normal, easy-breezy (beautiful, Cover Girl) pace. It almost became a game for me. Same pace, same result each time. Again, changing lanes only to pause.

Of course, I have no clue what was going on with this individual, and chances are, it was something deeper than just a lack of patience and a load of frustration. Although, these things happen a lot, right? Impatience and frustration. We get “stuck” in a space, and think the only option is to switch lanes. Or, in the case of my fellow-DC busy bee this morning, we rush through intersections, only to be stopped by the ones glaring and waiting ahead. This is also a metaphor, y’all.

Please, friends, let your current reality happen. Sometimes, you’re going to be in a lane with no movement. And sometimes, you’re going to hit every red light. Pause. And let this be a gentle reminder to slow down. Let the flow happen. Trust the process, and let the process be a partner to your trustworthy spirit.

You’ll get there.

Patiently,

Michael

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