Maybe we shouldn’t have bought her the car?
Recently we needed to get my daughter a car to get her to and from school. She did all the research, scouring the local dealerships’ websites for her first car. My job was easy; I just needed to pay for it.
She settled on a used, rather sporty Honda Civic, two door coupe. Her only concern?
She didn’t know what the clutch was for.
The car was perfect, except for the fact it had a stick shift. My job was to teach her the art of driving with a manual transmission. At some point it just became easier for me to simply drive the car myself.
I had forgotten how much I had always enjoyed driving with a stick shift. I had gotten used to the less-involved, far more simplistic version of driving with an automatic transmission. But just like riding a bicycle I quickly regained the mechanics of smoothly negotiating gas-clutch-shift. For the first time in years I felt like I was actually driving, an active participant interacting with the road ahead. No more free ride for my left foot.
The biggest difference in driving a stick? Awareness. You focus far more intensely on things you wouldn’t ordinarily need to when driving an automatic transmission. You need to more fully understand your environment, observing and accounting for the contours and elevations of the road, shifting and adjusting accordingly, listening to and feeling the vibration of the engine in order to purposefully and intentionally respond with the fluidity and grace of a tai-chi master. A rather tactile experience.
It’s the arms, feet, and mind working harmoniously together on the journey to where it is you are going.
Funny, though, how most of my life doesn’t feel anywhere as harmonious or intentional.
Using the transmission analogy, life often tends to feel far more automatic than manual, as if we are being driven instead of actually driving. The repetitive and reactive nature of so many days renders each one relatively insignificant because it feels and looks just like every other one, and tomorrow, we expect, will be more of the same.
Perhaps you may feel the same?
Life is the ultimate miracle, each day a glorious blessing given to us in hopes we will celebrate and fully express the miracle of our own creation. But as we get caught up in the demanding pace of life, have we become so busy going someplace else that we’ve forgotten what it feels like being where we already are?
Have we become too busy living at the expense of being more fully alive?
When I can stop and remember life is supposed to be lived I am then able to shift away from reacting to what the world is throwing at me and instead towards proactively creating the life I was created to live…
Life is indeed a journey. Are you the one who’s driving?
It’s a great day to be you!