With the covid-situation easing in my part of the world, I am back on the bus. In the busy bustle of the city, buses cut between lanes, swerving to the curb, chugging out into heavy traffic and braking dramatically. In a clunky, seatbelt-less contraption, this makes for a jerky ride which I thoroughly enjoy.
Last week I socially distanced myself from other riders by choosing the side seats up the front of the bus. This made the corners, stops and starts more interesting then usual. By sitting side on, I was sitting awkwardly to the momentum of the bus as it accelerated into traffic or swerved to a halt. Each time we changed direction I struggled to brace myself and prevent myself tumbling into the aisle.
Buses get me thinking. This situation was no exception. When in motion or stationary, the ride was comfortable. It was only a change in that motion that threw me off balance. It was the contrast of a new direction or change in speed that caused a flap.
How often do we position ourselves counter-productively to the motion of change in our lives? How often do we choose an awkward position, forcing us to feel every shift and change most intensively?
The position we choose can make it hard to maintain our balance, to feel safe and to avoid a tumble. When we are feeling off-balance and unsafe, is it because we have placed ourselves awkwardly? If we can predict the general pitch of motion and momentum, have we picked the right seat?
That morning on the bus, I didn’t move seats. Partly because I was considering the acceleration and swerve of life, partly because although it was an uncomfortable sensation it was not awful and it did me good. It forced me to pay a bit more attention to what was about to happen and respond more actively to what the bus was doing. Being slightly off-balanced and needing to concentrate snapped me out of autopilot, stopped me playing with my phone and made me more mindful and focused on the moment.
I suspect there are times in life when we need to ditch the safe, predictable, supportive seats and try something different. Fire up our muscles. Take a more active stance. Fight to hold our balance. In the same way, I suspect there are other times in life when we need to stop whining about the driving and motion of the bus and recognise that we have picked the position that maximises drama and conflict.
Consider the flow and momentum of your life and creative projects at the moment. Have you chosen the safest, most supportive seat so you don’t fling about at every jolt and jerk? Or are you tumbling about, blaming the driver?
Is the most obvious, comfortable seat where you need to be right now, or is it time to spice up your world by choosing a different seat?
First published on my website 24 Sept 2020