Friday, August 27, 2010

Let Other People Drive - from Four Word Self Help by Patti Digh

This slim little book has been sitting on my nightstand for a week. I pick it up in the evening and read a page or two or three, nodding and agreeing to the simple phrases on the paper. The four-word self help phrases are, on the surface, just funny or pithy or true. Great bumper stickers, perfect for a line of fridge magnets or greeting cards. That one might be good on a tee shirt.

When I click out the light and let my eyes adjust to the dark the phrases become True.

Let other people drive.

On the surface, of course! Great bumper sticker. Let other people drive. So you can talk to the children, or eat a snack. So you can make a phone call, or navigate, or sleep. Just let someone else drive for a while. Relax.

Then the light goes out and I think. Oh. Let other people DRIVE. Give up control of that one thing so you can concentrate on something else or on nothing else. Be a passenger for a while. Sit and observe and allow yourself to be taken somewhere. Perhaps a new place, perhaps an old place, but a place you did not take yourself.

For a self-employed designer this is a hard task. Not the actual Letting Other People Drive as I actually don't love to drive an actual car. I am talking about the metaphorical Letting Other People Drive. Not being in charge of things. Watching and enjoying and not freaking out if my preferred parking space is not chosen, if my preferred route to the destination is not taken. Accepting that your choice is not the best, not the right, not the good choice but one of many. Now, motherhood has already helped me with this tremendously. Nothing like a nursing newborn to show you that you are not in the driver's seat today, thank you m'am. Running a business in a rough economy taught me a bit about this, too. Still, when the words flashed inside my eyelids in the dark bedroom last night I kept thinking Let Other People Drive. Brilliant.

What does this mean for my life? More road trips? More meals I didn't choose but end up loving. Perhaps a bit of stepping back when something is not going exactly my way* and just watching to see the outcome. Who knows, I might enjoy the trip?

this book also features lovely art by friends and artists from around the country, it is a sweet, gifty size and the perfect gift for yourself....get the book right here.


*not a happening that is illegal, or that would endanger someone