Green cars

Dear President Trump,

A couple of weeks ago I floated the idea of using something one encounters out in the world fairly frequently but not all the time, like green cars, to remind oneself to think about kindness or to wish others peace. I decided to take myself up on the idea and I’ve been doing it a couple of times a day since the idea popped into my head and I’ve noticed a few things. First, it became apparent that in order to notice green cars I have to remember to look for them and I need to discriminate between green and not green. Both of these seem pretty straightforward and simple but neither is actually all that easy. When I’m fresh in the morning and in my commute routine I’ve gotten good at remembering to look for green cars but at other times of the day or in odd circumstances I don’t always remember. And trying to figure out whether a given car is some shade of green is tricky unless it’s lime or grass green, which few cars are. There are lots of super dark green cars that look blue-ish or gray-ish. So, the next thing I’ve figured out, which I feel sort of sheepish to admit, is that it really doesn’t matter if a car is truly green because it’s easy to just go ahead and wish them peace since it’s not like wishing more random people peace or sending kindness is going to drain the well. I’ve also noticed that it feels odd to mentally peg all the non-green cars as “not green” since people driving those cars are no less deserving of peace and kindness than the green car drivers.

Another upshot of this exercise is that I’ve become a nicer driver and I’m more apt to let other cars in ahead of me regardless of their color. This is a nice example of how a little bit of a mental shift, even a kind of silly, arbitrary one, can lead to real positive behavior change.

The final thing I’ll say is that I realized yesterday I have no idea who these green car people are, what they believe, whether they voted for you, whether they hate gays, or whatever. And I’ll never know. And it doesn’t matter. They are just people out there in the world who happen to be sharing the road with me and who I happen to smile at just to smile at them with no sense that they owe me anything at all in return. It’s pretty freeing. I suggest you try it.

May we all be safe to be friendly.
May we all be happy to be kind.
May we all be healthy in our attitudes towards others.
May our lives unfold and intersect generously.

Tracy Simpson

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