I ride the bus to our downtown office most days. When I originally moved our headquarters downtown, I understood that it would take me a while to get used to riding the bus to work so I decided to give it a few months before I tried to judge the experience. It’s often impossible to tell the difference between how you feel about something because it’s new and how you feel about it on its own.
Within two weeks, I mostly loved the commute, despite my attempts to be detached from how I felt about it.
While there are many reasons why I love it, the one that’s usually the most meaningful to me is that riding the bus starts me off practicing acceptance for whatever comes. It’s not just acceptance of what happens to me, but also seeing that we’re all subject to forces and events outside of our own control.
Even the bus driver is subject to outside forces and events. It’s not like she acts in a vacuum – some riders take a while to get on, some stops have a lot of people, her bus might break down, and traffic may slow her progress. It’s odd to think that the driver is just riding along, but she is nonetheless.
As I was walking to the bus this morning, I saw the bus leaving my stop. That happens more often than not, as I learned that it’s not worth the stress to figure out when the bus leaves and to try to run out the door and make it. There will always be another in 15 minutes or less. After my natural, half-second irritation that I just missed the bus yet again, I took a breath, smiled, and looked to the sky to enjoy the day. The next bus would be there in 15 minutes – there’s no need to have my day corrupted for a 15 minute wait.
After my brief appreciation of the sky and air, my gaze returned softly to my street-level surroundings. I saw a bus a few blocks down the street. I had just enough time to run across the road and jump on it before it left.
Had I not been open to the sky and had the broader view, I surely would have missed my opportunity to see the bus in enough time to cross the street. Had I let my natural irritation run the show, my head would have likely been down, my gaze harder, or I would have observed different conditions and would have predetermined the very conditions I was irritated about. History, luck, and intention, yet again.
As I’ve been practicing acceptance, I’ve been better able to be happy, responsive, and appreciative to whatever comes up. “Bad things,” with patience and acceptance, have led to unforeseen treasures. Lost horses have returned and brought friends with them. Time is on our side exactly when we see it’s on our side. Oddly enough, by practicing acceptance, I’m able to have a bigger impact.
None of this is happening because I’m riding the bus. It’s happening because I see the bus ride as a way to practice acceptance. Remember, every moment is a chance to practice.
What’s your bus ride helping you practice? (We’re all on a bus ride of some sort.)