Do you recognize how much others affect your life?  That a chance encounter can set things spinning that affects you in the future?  We like to think about this when we are thinking about romance and good luck and the lottery.  That’s when the butterfly flapping its wings in China which causes the flowers to bloom here makes sense and makes us smile.  What we don’t notice is that incidental things affect us throughout our day and like it or not that affects how we see the world around us, the choices that we make, and the things that we do.  There are ad agencies that get that and so have built whole ad campaigns around actors seeing other actors do kind or charitable things and allowing that to affect the next actor into doing something which is seen by another actor, etc. etc.

So how aware are you of the incidental things that affect you?  How much are you in that conversation that irritated you 30 minutes ago and so you frown at someone or comment sharply because you are in ‘a mood’ and haven’t snapped out of it yet?  How much does not getting the food you were expecting to find at the store affect how you deal with traffic that evening?  How much does you expectation of someone answering the phone affect the message you leave when you get voice mail, that will be picked up probably by someone who doesn’t know the story and isn’t really involved in the situation?  You get the drift.

Being in the “now” isn’t just about being metaphysical or just about yoga or meditation or practicing to be a better person, it’s the way you drive safely in life.  We are interconnected beings and so every single one of us affects the rest of us, but being in the now means that you can respond to what is actually happening more effectively and appropriately than if you were still responding to that comment that some jabbed in your direction in the hallway and your plans to pull her hair out later.  Or whatever your particular scenario is.  I’m sure we’ve all experienced this and probably are even in this moment.  Learning to breath deeply, keep things in perspective, take a break if something is happening that needs your attention and is keeping you from being in the now with other things can really help prevent a snowball of irritation from becoming an avalanche of catastrophe.