The Zen of Renewing Your Driver's License
Heal Your Life Blog
The Zen of Renewing Your Driver's License
“Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, not in the one ahead of you.”
— Bill McGlashen
Have you ever heard of the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale? It’s one of the most famous methods for evaluating your stress levels. It lists all of the life events that can cause you stress and rates each one with a score. The scale was created by two psychiatrists to help evaluate how certain events can ultimately alter your overall health and well-being. Last week when I went to get my driver’s license renewed, I wondered why a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) isn’t included on this scale!
Here in California when your driver’s license expires, you receive a reminder in the mail that you have about 30 days to renew. And sometimes, it will say that you must renew in person at the DMV office. When I read my form, it also stated, “No appointments.” Now there’s something to get the stress level going.
I decided to plan my visit early on a Tuesday morning. Surely everyone else would go on a Monday or Friday, so I thought a mid-weekday was the smartest choice. I hopped in the car about an hour before opening and was on my way.
When I pulled into the entrance, my heart dropped. I could already see the lot overflowing and more cars darting around the corners to get the nearest space. My “parking spot” angels were on hand, however, to hold one for me.
I grabbed my purse, my tactical weapon of choice for an encounter with the DMV—equipped with plenty of water, snacks, reading material and any other survival gear needed. But as the entrance doors came into my sights, I could see that the line had already snaked around the building. So much for my Tuesday morning strategy.
As I began my trek, I smiled and said hello to a few people who gave me the “What Are You In For” look as we flashed our paperwork to each other. I turned several corners before realizing that the line spiraled around the entire building. Yet this didn’t deter the DMV officer who still found me by the trash bins tagging me with a post-it that had the letter “G” on it.
As my anxiety rose to the “Why does this always happen to me?” level, I fished through my purse for Joan Borysenko’s new book. Joan is known for her powerful wisdom on how to beat stress and find inner peace even if you’re too busy, so I knew she could help. I laughed out loud when I read the title: It’s Not the End of the World. Many of the chapters in her book became affirmations for me as I crawled closer to the DMV entrance: “Hope Rules.” “Letting Go and Moving On.” “Smart Cookies Don't Crumble.”
They must have worked because I finally made it to the door where another DMV officer checked my paperwork, pointed me to a bank of chairs, and slapped me with another tag: G:44. As I pushed through several people to find an empty seat, a computerized voice echoed through the PA system like a bingo hall: I:22. B:63. G:11. Only G:11?
Turning to Joan again, I decided to try her 15-minute exercise to reverse the flow in any given stressful situation and help me return to a calmer, more balanced state of being.
- Close your eyes and take five to ten breaths to calm your mind and body.
- Bring your attention to the center of your chest and imagine you can breathe the air around you into your heart. Feel the air massage and soften your heart.
- Recall a time when you helped someone and felt a compassionate connection. Something about the individual spoke to you—some conscious or unconscious connection called you to stop and offer this small act of kindness. Bring this scene to mind. Where were you? What did the person look like? What happened in between?
- Now let the memory go and be mindful of the feelings left in your body.
- Open your eyes and write down a list of what you're feeling.
Joan says that recalling a memory of an experience of compassion is called an agape moment. And when you feel positive emotions of awe, love, joy, faith/trust, peace, hope, forgiveness, gratitude and compassion in this moment, you are connecting to your spirit, a Divine source that will help you relax your muscles and body, and enable your energy to flow again.
“The positive emotions that generate compassion represent a common spiritual ground,” Joan says. “And it's available to everyone regardless of belief system” . . . or if you happen to be standing in line at the DMV.
Something I Didn’t Know…
Joan Borysenko believes that stress hardy people will someday rule the world. Amen to that!
Best Line I Read Last Night:
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
— Author Unknown