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Orange Barrel Therapy

Don’t lose your focus in construction zones. Hazards surround as you click off the cruise control and pass the enormous reflective sign – Maintain Your Lane!

I thought truck drivers and the lady in the iridescent cranberry SUV with the cell phone planted firmly against her ear presented the biggest dangers. Not so – it’s me. You see, construction zones make cry. I’m not talking a silent tear or two sliding down my cheek. I mean the big chest heaving, snot flying cry that threatens to take my breath away. What the hell?

I’ve always done my best crying in the car, as if it is a heated contest. I listen to music. I feel like a rock star as I sing along – the radio cranked so loud I can’t hear the cracks and squeaks released from my throat reminding me I can skip American Idol sign-ups. Mental reserves often rejuvenate with the energy blasting from that CD player, but sometimes the tormented artists hit a chord within me, and the tears start flowing.

Is it that I’m stuck in this tight space and all the exit ramps remain closed for renovation? Does the music and the attention paid to the road distract Little Miss Control Freak long enough to let down her guard? Intense blips, good and bad, provide feedback of where I’ve been, but more importantly, where I really need to travel.

I used to try to suck up these tears. After all, if I’m in my car, there’s at least a 50 percent chance that I’m headed somewhere other than home. Do I really need to show up with red-rimmed eyes, make-up washed away clinging to a soggy brown Chipotle napkin?

I discovered though some pretty interesting things arrive from this private time in the car. Clarity often comes to me once the tension releases, and underneath the message remains. The other day on my way to the writer’s conference I heard positive affirmations about myself and not only did I believe them, I embraced them. Progress.

In a previous continuum, I wasted an inordinate amount of time ignoring my talent, needs and dreams. I used a 100-pound invisibility cloak, but plenty of detours are available. I coasted and wondered why life seemed to fly by without any interesting road plaques to read.

Living in an authentic space doesn’t guarantee easy travel, but what I see along the way adds breadth and depth to my road trip.

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