All 4-wheel drive means…

When I was buying my first SUV in 1985, I was certain I wanted one with 4-wheel drive. I was often driving off roads, usually with a kayak or two on top of my car.

At the first dealership I went to, they only had 2-wheel drive vehicles. When I told the salesperson that I had my heart set on 4-wheel drive, he said “All 4-wheel drive means is that you’re further from help when you need it.” Despite his wise words, I went to another dealership, and bought a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

I feel his statement applies not just to SUVs. When I ruminate about something, keeping it in my head, letting the bother of it grow, I can easily get “further from help when I need it.”

The help I need is to connect to my heart, in addition to thinking.  I need to get in touch with my feelings. It usually involves slowing down, both my body and my mind. Sometimes, I write down my thoughts, or even better, express them out loud to a caring listener. What I often find is that my train of thought, the one that got me so far out there, doesn’t come out nearly as dramatically as I had it in my head, nor nearly as sound an argument as I was imagining.

Once I have re-grounded myself, taking some deep breaths and reconnecting to the natural rhythm of life, I feel a great relief. When I find myself starting down the same path again, it’s easy to stop before it becomes an endless circle again.

As I get older, I find it important not to dwell on past events, wishing I had acted differently, because I cannot change what happened. What I can change is my feelings about such happening, forgiving myself, and any other participants as well. Such conscious work makes today better, with fewer regrets. I feel freer and lighter, even on days when my body isn’t feeling so great.