I ran out of gas today. I really did. Literally, car stopped moving on I-35 as I was about to exit onto one of the famous, MASSIVE Texas highway overpasses (and you know that every time I drive on one of those damn things I hold my breath out of fear that a simple sneeze could send me flying though the air like a not-so-romantic version of Sandy and Danny riding into the clouds…fan fiction background here).
Back to the highway. As I stood there in the median between highway and exit, between shrieks of potential sideswipes and soundless screams of profanities, I pondered my own predicament and the series of events that put me there. Quite simply, I had chosen to be there. I’ve never been out of gas, but I have ALWAYS pushed that limit to see just how far I could get. I even got a bit of a thrill at the station when I inevitably stopped to fill up, looking to see how much longer I could have gone. It’s stupid and I know that. Sorry Momma. Needless to say, I helped myself to a healthy serving of Life Lesson and will no longer play this “just a bit longer” game with my gas tank.
I have a bit of a habit of being on E, in more ways than one. I push and push the outer limits, sure that I can defy the rules of time and space because I’m special. As my car not-so-gently reminded me today, Not So. I spent the rest of the day a bit startled, but also introspective. What other areas of my life are on Empty? Where else have I been neglecting a good fill up?I’ve been going for just about as long as I can remember. I graduated high school when I was 16 because I was bored and doubled up on classes. In college, I took every course I could possibly fit, one more each semester just to graduate with two majors and two minors that I BARELY use. Now I’m “adulting” by “balancing” colored blocks in my planner with three jobs and my daily doses of sunshine therapy, exercise, and invaluable time with loved ones. My days are long, my mind wayfaring, my eyes heavy. I’ve neglected certain creative outlets (like this one) and my words are stiff after months of a silent keyboard. Despite it all, I am happy. Things feel good. I’m no stranger to the depths of the dark downs, but my ups have been particularly pleasant as of late.
I know I owe much of my happiness to the acceptance I’ve cultivated through a committed relationship with mindfulness (Okay, and the recent purchase of a heavy bag helps…). I gain a new, more robust perspective with each experience, each person, each journey, and this big picture helps calm my old anxieties. BUT, is this feeling REALLY happiness, or am I simply well-adjusted? My habits haven’t changed, only my attitude, and that is really just a meager step on a lifelong path. I pride myself on having firm boundaries to make time EACH day to do the things I love…but it’s just that- I’m doing things, always. I’m living on my reserve tank, filling up only when it’s convenient and nonchalantly daring my gas pedal to fail me. Now I have the opportunity to Learn; there are no ordinary moments. I know that I will never run out of gas again, and I say that with vigor and without space for ifs. I will not choose to learn this lesson again. I have the power to control the gas in my car, and my challenge now is to control symbolic tank fueling the miles I pace each day.
Your turn. Let us be ever aware that every car has a different size tank, mileage, and type of fuel. My lil 13-gallon tank will never compare to yours. Same goes for my Reality. Holding difference as given and comparisons aside, where is the little orange arrow pointing on your gauge? When is the last time you checked your gauge to ensure its accuracy? What is the quality and quantity of fuel you are using, and how frequently do you stop at the pump? Answer today, tomorrow, and each day until your pattern emerges, then do something (or nothing).
P.S. Thanks Practice Yoga Austin for the best yogi memes, appropriately featured here. You da real MVP and I love ya.