The other day, as I was driving to pick up my kids at school/daycare, I came across an angry driver.
There is a S-curve that I drive through to get to my kids school that is quite narrow as it was created before cars were invented. On one side are houses, and another side a wall.
Many people drive in the middle of the road, which is quite dangerous given the lack of visibility.
Today, I might have been a little bit too far to the left, and as I came around the second curve, I had to quickly move to the right to avoid an oncoming car.
The response from the other driver was INTENSE to say the least. I could feel the anger emanating off of him, past his window and into me. My initial instinct was to get angry right back, "Nothing happened, asshole. Just chill out," would have been a typical response. Luckily, before those words could form in my brain, I took a deep breath and remembered this...
I may be the catalyst to others anger and pain, but I am never the cause.
When we encounter anger in our daily lives, it is difficult to not get defensive, or feel responsible, or become angry right back. It takes breath and mindfulness to keep it together, and compassion and curiosity to see beneath the surface.
Breathe...I wonder what his life is like?
Breathe...I wonder what is the cause of his pain?
Breathe...I wonder what his anger is covering up?
Breathe...I wonder what it is that I don't know?
Breathe...I wonder if he feels LOVE?
What is below the surface of the anger that you have encountered recently?
Courage. Compassion. Connection.