Zen In A Storm, by Peter
Some of you heard that last week I was in a head on collision. Since I am writing this, clearly I have an angel beside me. I'm not one who seeks the spotlight, or likes to have attention drawn to me. However, after an experience that could have resulted in serous bodily injury or death, I feel blessed to be in one piece.
In re-counting the story to Stephanie, she encouraged me to share the details with you. Why? Well, as she always says, all experience is an opportunity for learning, especially the painful ones. And... if one person is more relaxed and mindful behind the wheel, well, you know, lives will be saved.
My experience in the head on collision is yoga "off the mat"-- at its best.
Here's what happened. I pulled up to the intersection, with my signal on to make a left turn. There was a car coming straight at me going very fast. The driver crossed over the double yellow line and slammed into my car (see picture).
With no time to get out of the way, I realized I was going to be hit. The feeling was awful. Thankfully, all my years of yoga and meditation kicked in!!! I realized there was nowhere to go. I surrendered. In a split second, I had the presence of mind to make a choice to take my foot off the brake and my hands off the steering wheel. I knew if I did this, I would be relaxed enough to absorb the impact. My friends, a relaxed body will fare better on impact then a tense one, so that is what I did. I exhaled and relaxed.
After the car crashed into me, with my morning Starbucks now in my lap, I realized what had just transpired. The first thing I did was an inventory check of my body. I had to make sure I had both of my feet, my legs, arms, and hands. I wanted to make sure I was still intact while I looked around for blood. All intact and no blood, I said to myself, "you seem OK". Next, I opened the car door, got out and automatically started doing yoga stretches!! Some of you know them-- yes, the 6 movements of the spine: back-bends, forward bends, lateral bends, spinal twists. You know Stephanie loved hearing this!!!
When the police officer and ambulance personnel ran over to ask me if I was OK, I said I am fine and would like to stretch some more. They stood in awe that I was intact. Then they asked me what I do for a living. I handed them my business card!! I actually started laughing as they shook their heads with amazement. They were shocked that not only was I in one piece, I was calm and clear. Now more than a week later, I am sore and have a mild concussion. I don't yet feel myself. However, I am here, intact and grateful.
So, what's the learning from this story? There are a few:
1. Practice awareness and gratitude daily. I feel blessed I am still here to walk this path with you.
2. Yoga saves lives, in more ways than one, on and off the mat. Let's all do more yoga on and off the mat -- and share the benefits with others.
3. Zen is possible in the midst of a storm when we practice it in our daily life. Our ability to stay calm and mindful in the midst of a storm affects the outcome in a positive way.
Speaking of Zen... Yoga Classes - Start September 13th!!