As I sit here in Connecticut with snow piled on the ground almost two feet high and waiting for still more snow to come, I think back on a previous winter and the troubles I brought on myself when I didn’t just “go with the flow.”

I live in a condo, so I usually don’t have to worry about snow.  It snows, and a crew comes and plows and shovels. Then we move our cars out of the way so they can finish.  When they’re done, we all move our cars back.   But problems can occur, like the year my son was visiting his father in Florida, and it started snowing.    It was early evening when the crew came out to plow, and I was headed out to teach yoga.  I took a chance in not moving my son’s car, figuring that at the back of the parking lot, he wasn’t in the way—I was wrong.   By the time I returned, his car had been completely plowed in. It was surrounded by snow.

Snowy Street - www.unfoldandbegin,com

Even yoga teachers fall out of balance sometimes, and this was a big fall for me…..I blamed my son for not being there.  I blamed the snow crew for plowing it in and called the property manager.  I told him it wasn’t right, explained the situation with my son on vacation, and then asked what I was supposed to do in two days when another storm was going to come in and end while I was at work.  How was I supposed to move the car when I wasn’t there?

He told me where to move it, and then I set about trying to dig his car out with just an ice scraper.  I dug behind his back tires and then tried to move his car back and forth.  Then I dug some more and moved the car some more.  All the while, blaming my son and the plow guy.  It was their fault that I was in this situation, certainly not mine.   Finally, the car moved, and I was able to park it where I was told.

The next day, a new storm and the car is plowed in again!  Literally, a wall of snow artfully surrounded my son’s car. My frustration, mingled with fury, was raging when I called the property manager again.  He had the crew come back and remove the snow, and I went to start it but the engine wouldn’t turn over.   I called AAA, and they gave it a jump, but it still wouldn’t start.  I could feel the tension bringing my shoulders up tighter to my ears as I blamed my son for going away.

Plowed in by the Snow - www.unfoldandbegin.com

It might not look like much in that picture, but both the front and back of the car had snow piled up higher than the bumper. I have seen the snow plow driver do precision plowing, getting his plow as close as one inch while he helps drivers move their cars, so I know this pile of snow was on purpose.

I decided to buy a battery and called one of my son’s friends to put it into the car.  In the freezing cold, he took out the old battery, put in the new one, and got into the car to start it up, but it didn’t work.  So the poor kid pulled the new battery out and put the old one back.  He told me I should have it towed to a shop to have it looked at and got in the car to put it into neutral to make it easier for the tow.  It was then that he realized the car wasn’t in park.  He threw it into the park and started the car right up.  And it was at that moment, I realized that I was to blame for all of my problems, and I sent a silent apology to my son.  I learned a lot at that moment:

  1. Accept responsibility.  If I had just moved my son’s car the first night, he wouldn’t have been plowed in then and probably not at all during the second storm.
  2. Go with the flow.  The more I allowed the situation to frustrate me, the worse it became.  I was very frustrated and distracted the night I parked the car and left it in drive.
  3. Stop placing blame.  I was the one at fault, not my poor son, who was miles away in Florida and didn’t know that any of this was happening.
  4. Put your car in park. (Oh, and buy a shovel.)

Have you ever let your emotions take control of the moment?  Let me know if you’ve had similar experiences and the lessons that you learned.