A little over a week ago I shared my shame of procrastinating on learning how to drive for the past 17 years of my life. As an update to my progress, I’m happy to report that my driving lessons with Steve have been going great! Steve is a fantastic teacher. He’s patient and encouraging, yet practical and straightforward.
I’ve driven more this past week than I ever have in my life entire life! That said, I still have a little ways to go in terms of feeling ready enough to take a driving exam, and I still have yet to attempt parallel parking. But even so, I feel really good about my progress. I also feel confident that I’ll be able to reach my goal of getting my license before the end of this year. Yay!
I’ve written about driving before. I’ve understood the ideas behind driving and the rules of the road for quite some time. My issue has simply been a matter of my needing to put this understanding into practice.
Last week I had a driving first: Driving down a 45-MPH Boulevard. I know that doesn’t seem like much of a feat at all if you’ve already been driving for years and are an experienced driver. BUT! Just this past Sunday morning, I had another driving first: Driving on the 65-MPH Freeway! Woo hoo!
I feel this feat gives cause for celebration! Then again, I did treat myself to a soy cinnamon dolce latté afterward. I suppose that was my way of celebrating. 😉 For me, driving on the freeway is sort of akin to someone who has a fear of drowning overcoming that fear by going swimming in the Great Barrier Reef… or something like, anyway.
I find that driving lessons and the rules of the road have a lot of common parallels with the lessons that life has to offer. One such driving lesson / life lesson I’ve recently come to realize has to do with resistance vs. going with the flow.
During my practice driving sessions last week, I’ve been noticing that I have this tendency and desire to constantly monitor the speedometer to ensure that I’m driving neither too fast or too slow… and it’s really been quite distracting! I should really be watching the road and my surroundings instead. I realize it’s important to keep an eye on my speed, but I’ve found that my tendency is to pay too much attention to it, taking away my focus from the road and my surroundings.
So what does this have to do with a driving lesson… or a life lesson, for that matter?! Well, what I came to realize is that I don’t need to keep a constant eye on the speedometer. Instead of continuously paying attention to its readout, I should instead be focusing my attention on my immediate environment outside of the car. In other words, my position in relation to the other vehicles on the road, how fast or how slow I am going in relation to the other vehicles, taking note of pedestrians or stray dogs — everything else going on outside of the cabin of the car. …Especially, I gotta make sure I’m going with the flow of traffic.
I find the parallels between the idea of being in a creative sense of flow contrasted against the parallel idea of going with the flow of traffic to be quite fascinating. Equally fascinating is the relationship between resistance and flow — in both the creative sense as well as the driving and traffic sense.
When it comes to driving and the rules of the road, going with the flow is of major importance. If you go against the flow, you will undoubtedly encounter resistance. If you’re driving too slow, other drivers will resist you — they’ll become annoyed at you, and may possible even honk or yell at you! Conversely, if you’re going too fast, the flow of traffic (which is flowing at a slower rate) will undoubtedly be a source of resistance to you, as well. And if you are literally driving the wrong way and going against the flow of traffic, well — that is a sure fire recipe for disaster and chaos.
The same can be said for the story of your life: If you are out of flow with your environment in some shape or form, then subsequently, you are some how resistant to some aspect of the reality that you’re creating. This can be true whether we’re talking about a fictional reality that you’re creating (a script or a story, for example), or the reality you’re creating that is your very life — both are different forms of creative stories.
Resistance and Conflict
When you’re out of flow, nothing seems to go your way… right? Sometimes it may seem as if the whole world is against you. How do you overcome resistance and get back into that ideal state of flow where you can create the life and story you desire without external resistance?
First realize resistance is NOT futile. This is true whether the resistance is coming from you or elsewhere. Resistance is what makes you stronger. That’s why lifting weights is called resistance training. Resistance offers you the opportunity to grow and learn.
How do you go with the flow when driving a car? You pay closer attention to your movement and positioning within your environment and surroundings — in other words, your setting. The same idea is true to get into a creative state of flow so that you can consciously create your reality: Examine your positioning and movement within your environment, surroundings, and setting. Stop looking so intently at your speedometer, get out of your head, and take a look around.
Resistance and Story
It helps to examine your life and your position in it through the lens of story. What’s your setting? What’s the plot? Is there an underlying theme? What are the types of resistance and conflict at play? The main types of conflict are: man vs. man, man vs. himself, man vs. nature, and some stories even include man vs. the supernatural. What’s the desired outcome for the protagonist? (Hint: That’s you!)
Any good story offers conflict and resistance. Without it, it’d be a pretty damn boring story! And hence, an extraordinary life involves overcoming extraordinary resistance. Once you understand your sources of resistance and conflict from the standpoint of story and plot, it’ll be a so much easier to resolve, allowing you to regain your power and a wonderfully creative state of flow.
As for going with the flow of vehicular traffic… sure, it might make for a boring ‘story’, but at least it’ll keep you safe and sound — which is exactly what you’ll want — so you can focus on creating the best story of your life possible. 😉