Re-learning to Breathe

angie harris

car-accident.jpgThree car accidents in one year.

Not really something to gloat about. I admit it, I don’t like driving. Never liked it, probably never will, but it is a necessity. Especially here in Southern California where everything is so far!

See, I’m originally from Northern California, where the lanes are a bit more spacious, the freeways are well thought out, and people are generally in much less of a hurry.

The first accident was probably the worst. I rolled off the freeway on to an onramp. Despite the severity of the accident, I was very lucky as it could have been a lot worse. And it was because someone didn’t check their blind spot.

Second accident, the person didn’t look into his rear view mirror as he was backing up. This happened in a parking lot.

Third accident – it was rush hour. No one pays attention in rush hour…not in Los Angeles anyway. Enough said.

Actually, I’ve noticed a lot of people in Los Angeles don’t really pay attention to the road. They are talking on their cell phones, looking for something in the glove compartment, doing everything and anything except concentrating on the road. My way of thinking now is that everyone who gets into a car is considered armed and stupid.

People are inconsiderate. They don’t let you in when you have been signaling for the past mile. They cut you off. And, worst of all, they casually drift into your lane without realizing it. You know that saying, “stay within the lines?” Well, that should be applied to the road.

Experiencing or witnessing road rage is not fun either.

Yeah, not a big fan of driving.

But I think I could be to blame as well. I’m very nervous when it comes to driving (especially after rolling off a freeway). My confidence and skills in operating a moving vehicle is at an all-time low. How can I keep myself from becoming a nervous wreck all the time when I get behind the wheel?

I learned how to breathe. Doing yoga in the car, so to speak.

I’ve never been one to use the horn or flick people off and I absolutely hate it when my friends do that. And when someone does it to you it’s not cool, especially when you just gave them the friendly “I’m sorry” wave.

It affects me. However small or large the feeling may be, it still affects me. It ruins my day.

Yes, I take it personally, although I know I shouldn’t.

So what do I do? I breathe through it. No use holding it all in anymore, silently cursing up a storm at the wrongful person. Why plunge into the sea of other people’s anxieties and negative energy? It’s not worth it.

But there is another side to this as well. Being nervous in the car only invites my brain to think of some sort of scenario that can happen between my car and someone else’s car. Learning to breathe helps me to relax and focus on what needs to be done: driving.

I’m still learning how to get through the emotional trauma of it all. Not an easy task by any measure, at least on my part. However, breathing helps get me through the driving day after day.

[tags]car accident, breathe, yoga in the car, trauma, breathing, driving, driving in LA[/tags]

2 Responses to “Re-learning to Breathe”

  1. Christina says:

    it’s amazing how just remembering to breathe through rough times, or what seems to be a rough time, can really help us to ground ourselves and take care of what is needed in the present.

    I’m sure you will find the calmness again. Just embrace the fact that you aren’t going to stop driving and you will find the right balance in time.

  2. Angie says:

    Hi Christina,

    Thank you for the wonderful comment.

    For me driving can get very stressful. I know I tend to hold my breath and grip the steering wheel with a “death grip.” :o)

    I’m looking forward to finding the calmness within the storm again!

Leave a Reply