A Mixed Tape for the Open Road
Have you ever meandered out of your driveway at a snail’s pace, wondering why your car neglected to have its Wheaties that morning, only to look down and realize the e-brake was still perched in the upright position? If you’re nodding your head yes, I’m with you. (If you’re shaking your head no – and you always get your oil changed on time, and you never find almonds gone astray and wedged between the seats – read on. I think you can still relate to this post.) The moment you disengage that stuck parking brake, your once-was-clunker transforms into a rally car. The engine is revved, Danny Zuko pops up the backseat singing Greased Lightnin’, and off you go.
In our lives, we often drive with our metaphorical parking break engaged. We don’t realize we’ve been cramping our own style until green lights and smooth sailing suddenly juxtapose resistance and friction.
My personal, self-inflicted decelerators include worrying about circumstances I cannot control, not taking action on the things I can influence, agonizing over or longing for the past, anxiously awaiting the future, and identifying with each and every thought that swirls in my head.
What a mess of dead weight. (Can you relate?)
We can only hold so much physically, eventually maxing out and setting the barbell to rest. Though mentally and emotionally, we somehow trudge on. I picture mud caked to boots, and a backpack full of sequestered rocks, endlessly traversing switchback after switchback, with no vista in sight.
Nonetheless, there is good news about being our most steadfast obstacle: not only do we have the ability to impinge our freedom, but we can also go pedal to the metal with checkered flags waving.
For me, it usually takes a yoga practice, whether in a studio or on my own, a free-writing session, a trip to the mountains, or simply a few minutes staring at the night sky to realize that e-brake crept into place long ago. Only then do I do myself a favor, get out of my own way, and release the anchor. I find breath, movement, and unbounded streams of consciousness offer clarity. Fresh air and grand landscapes allow me to feel wild and resilient, yet connected and whole. And all of the above offer perspective on the triviality of seemingly significant matters.
For you, it may be cuddling with a good book, a beat bumpin’ weight lifting session, or pulling out your cutting board and whipping up a grandiose meal. Regardless, we all need to take time to knock the accumulated earth off our boots and discard items we’ve been hauling around and no longer need.
(Repeat: I am not a tugboat, I am not a tugboat…)
Whenever we feel like a running back carrying three hippos toward the end zone, it’s time to take inventory on what is weighing us down. Regardless of whether we can identify our exact pain point, simply noticing that it is something may be our most profound realization – and a huge leap toward the fast lane.
Let’s continue jumping into those hobbies, rituals, or excursions that lighten our load. Hey, you may only be one Savasana away from singing Smokey Robinson’s Cruisin’at the top of your lungs.
In short, you aren’t getting this moment back. Or this one. Or this one.
Why not spend it as footloose and fancy free as possible?
Friends, the Autobahn has never looked so good. Let’s strap on our five-point harness, ditch the e-brake, and kick that car into gear. YOLO.
P.S. I took the liberty of making you a highway-inspired mixed tape. Click here and enjoy! And hit me back if I missed one of your favorites – I’ll add it to the mix.