“My Way or the Highway!” – Not and Ultimatum but a Conscious Choice to Live Mindfully

“My way or the Highway,” the ultimate ultimatum. For many, it conveys “get in line with my thinking or hit the road.” It conveys that there is only one right way to accomplishing something. It exudes negativity, conformity, and operating “inside the box.” For many, this phrase can be quite defeating when on the receiving end. For those slinging it, it connotes arrogance.

However, what if it is not an ultimatum at all? Can it can be a vivid metaphor of introspection at times when standing at crossroads? Can it serve as a reminder to consciously choose the path in life that is true to who you are? What do I mean by that? Let’s travel both routes to discover the answer.

The Highway

Life in the fast lane. The quickest route. Many travelers on the same road. Cars jammed into two, three, or four lanes, zooming in the same direction, each but a blur to all others traveling the highway. Whipping in and out of lanes, many times without warnings. Honking at each other. Flipping the bird to other drivers. Road rage. GPS is yakking at you. Accidents are occurring as a result of excessive speed, mindlessness, and distractions.

Open road. Straight path. Miles and miles unfold rapidly. Signs flash by, unsafe to slow down or stop.

“Wait…did that sign say this exit or next? Shoot, I missed it!” GPS “recalculating route.” “Damn, I need to be in that other lane. No one is letting me merge.” Flip the bird, honk your horn and lane change, regardless of the consequences. Maybe pray first, or after, or both! Everyone does it. It’s how life operates on the highway.

Life on the highway. No real scenery to take in, and no time to do so even if there is. Fast. Fast. Fast. Gotta keep moving, gotta keep up. To not do so is dangerous, hazardous. Slowpokes cause accidents.

Even darkness doesn’t slow the pace. Well-lit signs. Well-lit roadways. Cars’ headlights almost seem unnecessary.

Life on the deserted highway, the pace doesn’t slow. It increases! “No one on the road, no one  in my way….sweet…let’s open this baby up!” Fast. Fast. Fast.

Traffic jams and construction slow the pace but fuel the impatience. Horns are honking. Drivers are on their phones. GPS quiet. Feverish attempts to reprogram it. “Gotta get moving! No time to waste. Why isn’t it recalculating my route?”

Finally, the pace resumes. Fast. Fast. Fast. Gotta make-up the time.

Final Destination: So how was your trip? What did you see along the way? What did you experience along the way? How did you feel along the way? What stories do you have to tell?

My Way

Life on the mountainous road. The slow route. Few travelers on the same road. Cars travel a single lane, self-paced. Pass with caution, when need arises. Tooting at each other while waving as you pass. Road kindness. No GPS, there is no Wi-Fi! Few accidents. Stopping and assisting if you happen upon one.

Dense road. Winding path. Miles unfold slowly. Signs are few and far between. Slowing down or stopping to read.

“Ok…I got it. I’m on the right route!” GPS silent, well actually turned off. Offer up a prayer of gratitude. Everyone does it. It’s how life operates on the mountainous path.

Life on the winding way… breathtaking scenery to take in, and all the time to do so. This is the scenic route after all. Slow and steady. Slow and steady. Slow and steady. Just keep moving, one mile at a time. To not do so is dangerous, hazardous. Perils are a plenty on the rugged, unmarked road. Careful to pay attention as the path unfolds. Potholes, downed trees, no guard rails. Aaahhh but the view…breathtaking!

Darkness slows the pace more so. Signs aren’t lit. Roadways aren’t lit. Cars’ headlights are a necessity. Speedsters cause accidents.

Life on the scenic route, the pace is slowed. “No one on the road, no one in my way….sweeet…let’s slow to a crawl and take in the sights!” Creeping. Creeping. Creeping.

Traffic jams are non-existent. Solitude fuels mindfulness, awareness. Deafening quiet. Cell signal is spotty. GPS quiet. Beauty surrounds. “Think I’ll pull over, that view looks spectacular! Plenty of time to spare. I’ll film a panorama with my phone!” Breathing deeply in and out, the fresh clean air. Eventually, the trip resumes.

Final Destination: So how was your trip? What did you see along the way? What did you experience along the way? How did you feel along the way? What stories do you have to tell?

Insights

Living mindfully is striking a balance between the roads you choose to travel. Living mindfully is an invitation to slow your pace and pay attention to your present surroundings. It is recognizing when to leave the Highway to explore the scenic route. It is an awareness of the need to zententionally feed the body, mind, and spirit.

The winding, wandering mountainous route naturally slows our pace, reveals hidden treasures, and sparks a feeling of awe and wonderment. It awakens our zenses, aligns body, mind, and spirit, and harmonizes our relationship with Nature. It is on this road that we find nuggets of insight and inspiration as we creep, crawl, and baby step our way along the more rugged, less traveled route.

The Highway is a necessary route of travel. It maximizes time, energy, and efficiency. However, we need to be mindful of the amount of time spent traveling this route and remember to exit it when prompted by signs announcing an upcoming scenic route.

Published by Lindsey Foose

Lindsey is the founder of Zententional Living and the author of Awaken your Zenses, Nature Poems for Meditation and Reflection. She is a Level II Reiki practitioner, traditional Feng Shui practitioner, Energetic Empowerment Guide, and Essential Oils Specialist dedicated to empowering individuals and families to live mindfully through intentional practices. Visit Zententional-Living.space to learn more! Follow on Instagram and Facebook via @zententionalliving

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