Accidental Opportunity to Practice Mindfulness
Recently my daughter was involved in a car accident in my car – they’re both fine, don’t worry. The entire experience so far has been an opportunity to practice mindfulness, beginning with the call from my daughter. “Mom,” she cried. “I’ve been in an accident.” I can still recall the sensations in my body as I struggled to stay standing when I took the call. Through her tears she was able to explain that she had been rear-ended in a slow speed collision during rush hour in Montreal. Thing is, when she called, I was just about to start my exercise class. Do I not take the class? How important is it for me to be on the phone with her? Don’t judge – I took my exercise class once I knew she was fine and the rest was just details. But jumping around the gym, my mind kept going back to her, hours away from home, and how she must be doing. I kept my phone nearby in case she needed to call again. I made it through my class.
Our insurance coverage included a rental car for the duration of the car being in the shop for repair. That has been an interesting exercise in practising feeling uncomfortable. The car that got hit is an older car that I’ve driven for almost 10 years, one in which I feel totally comfortable and one I felt was worth fixing through the insurance. I was entitled to an equivalent rental car, which in this case, was supposed to be a Toyota Corolla. On the day that I had to do the swap and drop off my car for repair, the car that was waiting for me was a massive, GMC All-Wheel-Drive Terrain. It’s like a truck. I felt like I could use a ladder to get in it.
I’m a downtown girl. I like my VW. “When do you think I’ll get a smaller car?” I asked. They told me that was the only car they had available and they’d let me know when I could switch as it was going to be over a week for them to finish with my car. At first I was reluctant to drive it. Large. Puffy. It as a rear camera. And my phone goes through a Bluetooth speaker. Such a learning curve!
As we passed the week mark, I started liking this car, even starting to think that, yes, maybe I could drive a big, fat, safe car like this. I had not expected to feel that way. As I sit writing, I still have the keys to the GMC. I’m kind of hoping they’ll let me keep it for a few more days. But if they call me this afternoon to tell me my car is ready, I’ll welcome the drive back to the dealer to get my beloved, Bunbun (I drive a Rabbit).
I wasn’t expecting this to happen. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t even my daughter’s fault, but yet, here it is. The accident gave me an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Find my breath. Stay in my body. Notice how I feel driving a different car. Seeing how things appear differently on the road from that vantage point (the rental car is higher up). Fortunately, no one was hurt. Thankfully, I’ve had a week of a new way to practice being present, of finding comfort in discomfort, and learning to be grateful.