I think Uber rides could be lost on me too but I've had way too many deep conversations with way too many incredible people who happen to pick me up in their Ubers to think that Uber-ing is just Uber-ing. Chances are if you're reading this then you know I'm the kind of girl who WOULD make more out of my Uber rides, but stay with me here...this is good stuff.
The first time it happened it was a simple question that turned into an esoteric conversation quickly, and when I got out of the Uber I felt like I'd just been in a little time capsule; protected by the outside world and influences. Now I just trust that there is magic everywhere if you are open to it - even in your Uber.
The driver noticed my yoga mat and asked me if I was a yoga teacher. I said that I was and then he asked me the question many ask, "What IS yoga?"
"It's handstands and hard stuff, right?" he said. To which I replied, that the physical part of yoga was just one aspect. "Really? What's the other stuff?" he said. It was just the two of us, I took a second to gauge the answer and then I told him that yoga is about loving kindness. As I answered I heard my teacher Rusty's voice in my head, he quizzes us often about how we'd answer this question in real life.
"Loving kindness?" he said, "what do you mean by loving kindness?" I told him that I practice a devotional yoga and that part of my yoga practice includes being kind to others. I shared that this is called "Metta," which literally means "loving kindness." He asked me how I practiced it and by this time we were joined by a few other riders who were (eves)dropping into our conversation.
"The practice is about loving yourself, loving someone you love, loving strangers and loving someone you have conflict with," I told him. "What do you mean, loving someone you have conflict with?" he asked. I get this question often too because I practice Metta, and I share the power in it, and this part is always the hardest and causes the most shifting in people.
"In my yoga practice I actually devote my practice and send love to people I have conflict with, people who have hurt me, or people I dislike," I explained. By this time all three of my new friends had their brows raised, with the same look on their faces - a look that told me what the driver said aloud, "I could never do that!" To which I replied, "can you imagine a world full of people who could?"
There was, what felt like, a full minute of contemplation before the driver said, "I think it would be a beautiful world to be in." And then suddenly it was my turn to get out, and just like that yoga happened.
The second lesson came from Edmond who greeted me with the friendliest hello when I got into his car, and when I did my standard, "thank you for driving," he said it was his pleasure. I think Edmond was happy because he was almost off the clock, and it was one of those really rare summer-in-February days in San Francisco that make all of us feel like school children with Spring Fever. His comment, that rocked me, came quickly and so matter-of-fact that the delivery was what set it so solidly in place. We were talking about relationships and he was sharing with me how much he loved his wife - they've been together since they were teenagers.
He asked me if I was married and I said no, but that I was ready for love again after taking a big break. And that's when he said it, "lust is easy to find, love is rare." I don't think the comment is prolific necessarily, it's simple and true, I think I was just caught off-guard by Edmond's truth and awareness and it was incredibly refreshing.
The third lesson came recently, and from a driver much past his age. Raised by a single mother, he learned discipline early and has high hopes and big plans to be his own boss. He did most of the talking, and a lot of it - and I listened.
Somehow we got onto the topic of stars and reviews, I shared with him that I recently noticed that passengers have scores too and I was wondering how I only have a 4.83 out of 5 stars. We both agreed that it was a good thing that drivers could rate passengers too and he shared with me that he always rates passengers well, even if they aren't happy or kind. I said, "it only takes one bad review to knock your score down..." and he said, "yes, it's like a bucket of white paint, just one tiny drop of any other color changes the entire bucket."
The wisdom wasn't super profound, or unlike anything I've heard before, but I think because it fell on poet's ears and was delivered by a young man full of compassion and wide awake, that I thought it was a beautiful analogy to be given on to me on my way home that night.
The most recent lesson came in neon green and bejeweled signs, and from my last two Uber drivers.
Anytime you get into an Uber you are stepping into the driver's world. Every bit of the experience curated by them: the smell, the music, the temperature, the vibration, the mood, the conversation...it is all theirs and you are sitting in it.
I got into two remarkable Ubers last week, one with the most incredible neon green accessories - EVERYWHERE, and the second one with carefully hand-crafted and bling-ed signs hanging on the backs of the front seats welcoming riders and offering them snacks and reminding them that tips are appreciated. Of course I told each driver how much I appreciated them for making the experience more personal, but I also made a note to myself to remember that we always have a choice to create our vibration in everything that we do. And, it was a great reminder of what pride in that choice looks and feels like.
Life lessons happen everywhere and all the time, not just when you are looking or asking, but sometimes when you least expect it and sometimes in simply beautiful ways. Be open. Be kind. Be generous. Be in charge of your own happiness.