Suddenly my little car starts flashing and shouting at me.
First the oil light goes on, then the engine light goes on and then to make sure I’m really paying attention, the beeping starts. My already elevated stress levels shoot through the roof of the car and I’m certain there must be a hole in it now.
For a moment panic sets in as I freak out thinking my car is going to give up in protest and stop moving. Crossing its arms and stopping its legs, kind of like a little kid having a tantrum does.
My car and I would make tonight’s 6 o’clock news. I can just hear the headline –“Stubborn Car and useless driver cause 30 car pileup on freeway”
Thankfully my little car keeps rolling along and I’m able to find a safe place to pull over on the side of the road. By this time, there is smoke billowing out from under the bonnet. I’m not sure if the car is on fire or it’s steam.
Can’t smell fire, so I guess it must be steam.
As the traffic of the freeway flies by, there is nothing I can do but sit and wait until my little car has purged itself of all it’s grot.
I call for help and wait patiently. That’s all I can do.
Did you know there’s a freeway in your head too?
It’s the freeway of thoughts that’s always in peak hour mode. So many thoughts rushing by one after the other.
Sometimes the thoughts collide with each other, sometimes they flow smoothly past each other. But the freeway in your mind, full of thoughts is always flowing.
And there are times when there’s a traffic jam in that red blob between your ears. A gridlock of competing thoughts.
Thoughts about ALL the things you’ve got to do today. Your kids who need ferrying to sports, picked up from school, the deadline you have on a project, your dog that needs walking, the house that needs cleaning, your husband who needs some attention and on and on it goes.
It’s enough to make you want to throw your head on the horn of the steering wheel and just let it blast!
Ma’am, please pull over.
It’s time to give yourself a break from your thoughts. It’s time to power down for a little while.
One of the ways I like to power down is by meditating.
Sitting still and deeply breathing, or listening to a guided meditation. Sometimes it takes a while for my brain to power down, other times it happens in an instant.
As long as I am giving myself the time and space to just sit, breath and be without judgment about how much chatter is or isn’t going on in my mind or if I’m doing it “right” I’m also giving my nervous system a chance to have a break from the adrenalin pumping around in my body. Which is being caused by all my thoughts, which are increasing my stress levels.
It’s become such a habit that sometimes I’m not even aware of this adrenalin fuelled feeling anymore.
Perhaps meditation isn’t your thing (although I really encourage you to give it a go just for a few minutes to begin with) so think of something else you can be in that will help you pull over on the side of the road and power down for a little.
Just to be.
Sit in nature, go for a walk and smell all the flowers you come across. Lay on the ground.
Whatever works for you be consistent.
Now, when I really allow myself to be still, focus on my breath and allow my thoughts to fall away, I feel like I have had a 2-hour sleep in only 10 minutes!
This really is a matter of avoiding a 30 car pile-up or cruising along the freeway of your life, crash free! Do something everyday to step aside let your thoughts go by and power down.
Your body will thank you for it and I guarantee you will be more productive and better equipped to handle the crashes when they happen.
And no sleep doesn’t count!