Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Thursday, July 16, 2009

When Not to Follow the Signs

My Fave Sign

Are you someone who pays attention, who follows the signs? Do you see the signs but ignore them? Do you miss the signs completely? Or do you see them and follow them, but they turn out to be wrong?

Yesterday, I paid close attention to the signs--traffic signs, that is. I was making the 180 mile drive up to our mountain cabin, the temperature in the valley was 101°, I was driving the last air-condition-less car in California, and roads were being repaved. As my pre-iced water bottle turned tepid and the back of my seat grew stickier I thanked God that the usual bottlenecks were flowing freely. Extra bonus: the highway patrol car that had joined us five miles back moved onto the off-ramp. Only thirty-five more intolerable miles to go. I might actually escape the usual nausea and migraine this time. What a treat!

When I made it up to a high enough elevation for the inside temperature to drop to a tolerable 90°, I thought I was cabin-home free. That is, until I started seeing “Left Lane Closed Ahead” signs. The first such sign forced me to pull over behind a 100,000 pound truck going 35mph up a steep grade. Take one of those slow deep-I-hate-yoga-and-there’s-nothing-calming-about-this-breaths. Problem was that the left lane was still open…still open…still open. A couple miles later, finally convinced, I pulled back out into the faster lane.

The next “Left Lane Closed Ahead” sign appeared five miles later. Huh! I thought, I’m a quick learner. No sir-ee, you’re not going to fool me this time. I’m not going to let the next fifty cars pass me by while I’m stuck behind 100,000 pound truck’s twin brother. So I continued on my merry 75mph trek up the mountain. Cars started moving over, and I kept thinking Suckers! As far as I could see, my left lane was still open—no signs—no orange cones—no construction trucks—no nothing…oops! Until NOW! Suddenly the left lane was-yes-closed. Fortunately, I was able to move over without endangering myself or others.

There were several more “Left Lane Closed Ahead” signs—far more than one would expect in the twenty or so miles left of my trip. Some were on the road, some on the backs of slow-moving vehicles. Some were real. Some were fiction. My psychology background kicked in, “Intermittent reinforcement is the strongest reinforcement.” Ain’t that the truth. I felt like Pavlov’s dog or Skinner’s duck (He was the one with a duck following, wasn’t he?).
How often are we reminded to pay attention to the signs, both outer and inner? And how proud are we when we actually do pay attention and avoid yet another catastrophe? But it looks like my lesson for the day went beyond following the internal and external signs. That, in itself, is difficult--how often have you disregarded your signs? Nope, it appears that we also must be able to distinguish truth from fiction, and this is not always easy or obvious.

If you would like to take a quick trip into the world of signs, travel to the list below:

1. What signs have you ignored recently? Has your intuition been knocking at your door? How loud does the knock need to be for you to pay attention?
Make a list of your signs. Listen to what your intuition is telling you, to the voice in your head, and write it down.
Look at your list. Are these signs real or fiction? Is it a “crazy” voice talking? Is it your voice?
Is the voice coming from someone or somewhere else?
What would happen if you were to follow them? Have you ever followed them before? What happened?

2. What Signs have steered you wrong? Which have steered you correctly? Were they internal ones or external ones?
Were these signs dependable?
Who made the signs? Were they your own homemade signs or were they composed by someone else?
Which signs can you trust?

3. Have any of the familiar signs changed? Did you notice?
What signs have changed? Did you have a hard time believing and trusting the change?
What is preventing you from taking action?
What would happen if you followed this new sign?

Happy Travels! Here’s to following the real signs!

No comments:

Post a Comment