full contact sport

When I was a young girl, the fair would come to town every summer.

While I wasn't a particular fan of the fair, I tagged along with friends in search of some fun and adventure.

My favorite ride was the chair swing ride.

It was a variation of the carousel except that each swing was raised and suspended in the air while the carousel rotated round and round.

I loved the wind in my face and my feet off the ground.

It felt like freedom and joy swirled into one.

Oh, what a ride!

And then...

there was the bumper cars ride.

I disliked the bumper cars ride.

My little kid mind couldn't wrap itself around the fact that the purpose of the ride was to deliberately crash into other cars.

I thought it mean-spirited.

I thought it dangerous.

I thought it brought out the worst in people.

And so...on those very few occasions that I participated in bumper cars, I made sure to maneuver my car in such a way as to avoid allother cars.

As you can imagine, I was in for a rude awakening as it was swiftly made clear that...

unlike me...

others were not the least bit interested in courteous well-mannered driving.

With horror, I watched as drivers gleefully veered toward my car and abruptly put a stop to my "Sunday Morning" drive.

Conflicting emotions erupted within as I came to the realization that I would not leave this ride unscathed.

All at once I was filled with horror, fascination, disgust, fear, excitement, anger and a teeny weenie bit of exhilaration.

Stumbling off the ride I immediately took note of any physical damage to my person...

all was good.

BUT,

my emotional wellbeing had taken a hit.

I internally recoiled from the feeling of being

targeted

hunted down

and hit

by other drivers -

especially since I had given them NO cause to do so.

In fact, I had literally gone out of my wayto ensure that NO ONE had cause to retaliate let alone target me.

Oh, I was indignant!

It was only years later that I realized something quite profound; in my attempt to avoid the purpose of the ride, I had inadvertantly caused myself to get stuck in many-a-corners - helpless and wedged in by a number of cars "having their way with me." 

My refusal to engage resulted in my becoming both a by-stander and an unwitting victim to the 'game'. 

I was neither fully IN nor fully OUT.

And then it hit me.

Bumper cars are a full contact sport.

Much like life.

Bothrequire full engagement for maximum enjoyment.

Life isn't always going to be

neat and sweet

and

kind and fair

and

uncomplicated and easy.

It can very often appear

messy and cruel

and 

mean and unjust

and

complicated and difficult.

And as I revisit my feelings of joy for the chair swing ride

and disdain for the bumper cars... 

I realize that in each case,

it was my mind and my thoughts that created the experience...

and that

the opposite experience could have easily been created...

in my mind...

with new thought.

* Thank you David for inspiring this insight.

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