My good friend Samantha White contributed this fun narrative for our Praise-a-thon. It’s about personal transformation at the DMV. I love the DMV because almost everybody has to go there! I have edited the piece for the sake of space.
“I was already angry and upset at having to go to the DMV to renew my license because I did not like the DMV and because I knew I was going to have to get a new picture and give up my picture taken over ten years ago that, though it no longer looks anything like me, proves that I once looked really pretty good.
I was dreading having to look at the new picture of OLD me every time I take out my driver’s license and was angry at everyone at the DMV for making me confront my mortality and more importantly, loss of collagen. So I was already in a cranky mood, prepared to spend half a day at the DMV where it has been my experience that everyone is always angry and crazy, especially the employees. Fortunately, spiritual principle is not bound by precedent.
Sure enough, there was a line that extended outside the doorway into the parking lot. That really set off a cacophony inside my head of voices yelling about all the righteous reasons I had for being so pissed off. Then, as the line moved up enough for me to see the sign posted next to the door, I read an announcement that the computer camera was broken and there was no indication of when it might be functional again.
Here was yet another reason to be out of sorts. I wasn’t sure if I should even continue to stand in line because I was specifically there to have my picture taken and didn’t know if I was going to stand in the first line for some unknown but intolerable amount of time only to discover that I could not even accomplish the task.
My license had to be renewed by my birthday, which was two days away, and I had worked myself up into a right fine hellish state.
Then I woke up and had a useful thought. “Ok, I cannot control anything here except my own experience.” I stopped banging around into the furniture inside my head and screaming because I’d bruised myself, took a deep breath and asked for guidance as to whether I should continue to stand in line or just leave. My guidance to stay put was clear. I consciously replaced the screaming inside my head with ‘Om, om, om.’
By that time I was inside the door where I could see that the line I was standing in was the line to take a number so that I could find out what line I should be standing in. I’m not making that up. You stand in line to get a number. When your number is called, someone tells you what line to go stand in. By the time I was inside the building, my breathing was slow and regular, as in meditation.
I was then able to begin to really look at all the people around me. Then I had the thought that this “dream” was just like the dreams I have at nightime and everyone in the DMV was a character in my dream and was some aspect of myself.
As I looked around at the amazing variety of folks, I thought, “as everyone here is an aspect of myself, and I come from the One, everyone here is an aspect of the One.” There was a little girl about two years old who was really wailing. This is a sound that usually superbly irritates me and causes me to feel compelled to DO SOMETHING to make it stop, but I was filled with appreciation for her, for how loud and strong her voice was and how committed she was to making herself heard. I sat next to her and laughed with delight and appreciation. The child did not stop crying but I saw that her mother relaxed a bit as she saw I was not reacting negatively to her daughter’s display.
That’s when time began to shift. The room was filled with people who had come in before me, but my number was called almost immediately. I thought it was a bit wierd but just went with it. Now everything was also looking a lot brighter, shiny, kinda sparkly.
As I approached the window, I noticed the people working there seemed much nicer and more relaxed than I had ever experienced at the DMV. The fellow who took my check and my form was nearly pleasant.
As I went to stand in the next line, I was fascinated by the variety of expression in all the characters in my dream and realized that I could choose to love them all. So I did. I sent blessings to them all for their most joyful well being. Time was no longer meaningful to me because I was so contented with everything just as it was, and standing in the DMV line was just as good a place to breathe and experience unconditional love as anywhere.
Standing in the line to get my picture taken (they were using a non-computerized camera), I noticed a young man in a Forestry Service Uniform standing with a completed drivers test in his hand and invited him to get into line in front of me. Shortly after that, I saw an elderly gentleman who looked a bit unsteady on his legs and brought him into line in front of me. I was calm, deeply relaxed and filled with bliss.
When it was my turn for the camera, I had a sweet interchange with the woman behind the counter about her pretty shirt and about how we both enjoy clothes and it seemed as if we had all the time in the world to connect.
Even with all the socializing and letting people into line in front of me, I was amazed to find that I was in and out in slightly under an hour. I left the DMV feeling as if I’d been to a weekend spiritual retreat.
What amazes me most is how quickly I shifted from a fairly extreme negative state of being into an expanded state of bliss awareness. And, as everything does, it began with an idea. I know that the reason I was able to do this can be explained in one word – PRACTICE. That, in spite of my previous commitment to misery at the DMV, I was able to find a useful idea and move myself into a better experience. Because I have practiced. For years and years.
I am learning to not berate myself when I am in a negative state of being, and I can and do shift out of these states with ever greater swiftness and consistency. I am focusing on appreciation for being able to shift, rather than disappointment at not being able to maintain the expanded bliss awareness state. I am able to do this also because of PRACTICE.”
Do you have short stories of praise? If so, add them to the comments. For me, just writing about them feels good.
Sending blessings to you,