Does Your Life Feel Like a Bumper Car Ride?

May 13, 2013
What can you do when the direction of your life seems out of your control, as though you are riding in a  bumper car at an amusement park?

Bumper cardsJohn Earle, a spiritual and relationship counselor and an interpersonal communications consultant, recalls his great joy as a child when he and his sister went on bumper car rides in the amusement park.

In Waking Up, Learning What Your Life is Trying to Teach You, he shares “both the joy and the misery these colorful, iron wheeled demons can generate.”

Then he compares the ride to life, saying:

Many of us live lives that have a great deal in common with a bumper car ride.  You could say we live a bumper car lifestyle. In the bumper car lifestyle everything seems to be going along fine when suddenly we are hit by an event (large or small) and we are thrown off balance. Or maybe we get locked in the corner, paralyzed for a while. We work hard to get back on track and, poof, almost magically, we are in the groove again; everything is going great, right on plan, we’re doing the driving, we’re doing the scoring, and we think, “Now I am so happy.” We might even become bored or complacent. Then, from an unexpected quarter, we take another hit and down we go, and on it goes.  Life seems like a perpetual series of highs and lows, unexpected attacks and surprise events. If we stop long enough to check, we find that our lives contain a constant and subtle undercurrent of fear because living the bumper car life style is so unpredictable. We never really know what is going to happen next.

In a recent post, I talked about the need for support when you are in a crisis, forced into a corner, bumped into a new direction, unsure of what will happen next.

What do we do when the rug has been pulled out from under us?

In Waking Up, Earle observes that:

Our response to the unpredictable is to try to make it predictable. We try to control our environment, or the people in it, in ways both subtle and gross. We develop personal strategies for threats real and imagined. We spend much time and energy trying to make our world safe and solid. We engage in ongoing, and often futile, planning.  We plan for old age, for sickness, for disaster, weaving our bumper car through the never-ending obstacles. But just when we think everything is under control, we get hit; we lose our job, we break a bone, our child gets sick, we discover our boyfriend has been secretly seeing someone else, or someone close to us dies. The list of possible hits is vast. As long as we are alive there is the possibility of a surprise hit.  In the bumper car lifestyle, instead of accepting change (the inevitable) we fear it. We deny its constancy.

The bumper car ride is the perfect metaphor for the unconscious life, the unaware life; the life lived in constant reaction to the world.  While many of us remain in the bumper car existence for our entire lives, a few of us find ourselves desiring something different.

Waking Up: Learning What Your Life is Trying to Teach You

. . . Whatever ignites it, the desire for change is the sign that awareness is ready to birth, that it is time to wake up to a deeper more complete reality.  In fact, this is the first moment of our awakening. Taking notice of our discontent, admitting that we are not really as “in control” of things as we assumed, becoming aware that, more often than not, we have been “at effect” rather than “at cause” in the story of our life, our head pops out of the sand.  The understanding dawns that there is more to life than the bumper car ride, and, with this understanding, the desire for change intensifies.


If these ideas resonate with you, I want you to know that you can receive the Amazon Best Seller,  Waking Up: Learning What Your Life is Trying to Tell You, for absolutely FREE from Amazon — for FIVE DAYS ONLY. May 14 to May 18.

Here is the link for the free book:

Want Another FREE Book?

How to Love a Perfectionist Without Going CrazySince I’m using this post to tell you about John Earle’s book, this is also a good time to remind you that I am still offering one of my own books for free from Support4Change (and for only $.99 from Amazon).

Go to How to Love a Perfectionist Without Going Crazy and discover how it can help you if you love or are married to a perfectionist.

In this enlightening ebook you will discover:

* How the author(that’s me) became a recovering perfectionist

* How to know whether your partner is a perfectionist

* How to help him become a recovering perfectionist

* How to instill high standards in your child without creating a perfectionist

If you are ready to turn around your relationship with a perfectionist, this is the book for you!

Learn why perfectionists give themselves (and others) so much unnecessary trouble:

How to Love a Perfectionist Without Going Crazy

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