I will admit it. Sometimes I hope the traffic pattern results in me being stopped at the intersection of Capital Circle Northeast and Centerville Road here in Tallahassee so I can check in on FourSquare at “The Punishment Light.” (And, living up to its title, I usually have time to check in, peek at my Facebook, send a tweet, and whip up a smoothie.)
Likewise, I am a frequent visitor (and checker-inner) at “The Longest Light in Tally” (the intersection of Capital Circle and Apalachee Parkway). I view this checkin as a little “we’re all in this together” nod of commiseration to my fellow Tallahassee Drivers who endure plenty of time at this intersection.
Because of my route to work, the Capital Circle intersection I can guarantee being at daily is the intersection of Capital Circle and Mahan Drive. The light is not quite as long as the two mentioned above, but it’s a major intersection that typically found me fretting about how late I was to work, how I was going to get everything done that I had committed to, how I was going to overcome the problems big and small in my life. It was yet another place to give in to worry and anxiety.
Which is why, on my birthday on November 28, I pulled over at a business at that intersection and created my own checkin for the intersection of Capital Circle and Mahan Drive: The Optimism Light. It is an alternative to the “Capital Circle NE and Mahan Dr.” checkin. It was a gift to myself. And it fascinates me how having one small symbolic homage to the positive makes a difference. If I am stopped at a red light there, I checkin and take a deep breath. And then I:
- Say a brief prayer of gratitude for the indisputably precious gift of another day
- Send a positive intention for a friend or someone I know of who is ill or troubled
- Give the person in front of me, beside me, or behind me the vibe that “it’s okay – we’ll all get where we’re going” instead of “what’s taking you so long to MOVE?!”
- Hope that hope will prevail in the face of the world’s darknesses
And, you know, I would be lying if I wrote, “and if no one else ever checked in here, that would be fine – I created this for myself.” Honestly, I want others to check in there (and I appreciate those of you who have). It’s why I tweet the checkin every time and post it to Facebook. Around 50,000 cars pass through this intersection every day. You could argue that taking two seconds to give your fellow driver a break or say a quick prayer/intention (whatever your faith tradition) for someone else is not even a drop in the bucket. But, in my opinion, 50,000+ drops could create some waves of tranquility.
And in a world where it’s all too easy to make waves with sarcasm and vitriol, waves of optimism surely couldn’t hurt any of us.