I had an epiphany while I was stuck in traffic

lessons in becoming mindful in mundane and frustrating situations

Harley Bell


Photo by Maulik Shah on Unsplash

I am stuck in traffic. It’s stagnant and static and so slow. It’s barely moving. Creeping one car at a time into a merge lane. I’m hardly moving but my thoughts move into frustration.

I am annoyed. Then anxious. I’m going to be late. Late. All because these tar-eaters don’t know how to merge.

I wind down my window. Ready to yell. Ready to hollar.

Then I realize: I am the traffic.

It’s a simple truth. A tiny epiphany. But one that makes me think about my behavior.

I wasn’t always like this. Somewhere, somehow through the years of my life. I have become that guy on the road. I have let my unsettled emotions escape into anger.

Why am I being impatient?

Why am I externalizing my blame?

Let’s see. Did I leave myself enough time in the morning to beat the traffic?

No. Why? Because I went to bed late. Got up late. Because I was on a YouTube wormhole about WWII. Because I dreamt about death.

Why? Because I was not satisfied with my day. My mind needed to be occupied.

Why? Because I am not fulfilled in my job. Not fulfilled in my social life. Not satisfied with my sex life.

Because I am addicted to emotional escapism.

This is a simple series of questions. A quick foray into internal reflection. The reflections indicate like blinking lights that there is something going on. Something below the surface that I need to work on.

My time management is often a symptom of underlying issues. I love the identity of being an organized person. But this is one of my first habits to slip if I’m not doing well. If I’m going through the motions of routine. This is when I switch off.

But even when I’m switched off, it’s easy to appear like a perfectly functional human. But when I drive in this state. It can be dangerous.

Then I arrive at work. Thinking, how did I get here?
I barely remember driving but I must have.
Should I be driving in these half-awake…



Harley Bell

I write about writing, creativity and business. I'm currently working on a poetry book, titled Wild Altar. www.harleybellwriter.com