Be sure.

No way we can be sure.  We have to sail on blind faith much of the time.  I find myself traveling this path, talking to myself, hoping to get where I’m going. I remind myself, sing songs to slow yourself down. Remember, all the people you love.

It’s early when I’m chasing a slow-rolling pickup down the two-lane, a bunch of furniture wobbling about in his truck bed. I know it’s a he, because I saw him consider letting me pass before he jammed the gas, cutting out in front of me. I saw the whites of his eyes, and the furniture unsteadily jumbling about the bed.

A strong wind sends a chair into my lane, splinters it. I am happy for a little dirt shoulder as I skirt around on the right, and the person coming along in the left lane does the same. I look in my rear view mirror and see cars skittering pell mell to either side of the chair, still bouncing dead-center along the double-yellow line. Mr. Pickup ahead doesn’t know what he’s missing.

I flash my lights and blow my horn, and he pulls over.  “What is it?” he hollers, as he gets out. I’ve pulled in behind him.

“You lost a chair!” I holler back, and he lifts his head to scan the road.

“Oh shit!” he hollers, as he sees all the mayhem, and the chair in the middle of the busy road.  He runs back to his cab, jumps in, and turns the rig around.

I pull back onto the road and keep going.  What if that chair had gone through my windshield?

But it didn’t. And no one can tell me why, other than my driving, keeping a safe distance, that kind of thing. I’m hedging though, because I’m simply lucky this time. I can’t be sure I will be this lucky always. I can’t take credit for making things go my way.

It reminds me of how it is when we get a flu and go to the doctor, because we can’t breathe or swallow. Doc hands us steroids, tells us to get a vaporizer, maybe also provides an anti-viral drug. Doc sends us home to live or die, unless we have pneumonia, in which case, doc admits us to the hospital.  However, if we have a little bitty cancer on our skin or under it, doc says we need radiation, chemotherapy, and five years of symptomatically spirit-crushing treatment that costs more than a small fortune, or we will die.

Be sure not to take advice from others about whether we can live or die. And tie down the chairs in the bed. Don’t pull out in front of people, and don’t follow too close.  You’ve got this.

Anxiety

When I am late for an appointment and driving white-knuckled, shoulders hunched, I am lucky to have trained my body to ask me if it’s okay to relax. The fact that I am always a little bit late should be a sign — to be present in the moment. It doesn’t work that way.

On the morning of February 14, 2018, driving to a morning appointment and experiencing my seven-minute deficit on the clock, I felt the tension was higher, wider and more encompassing. Sometimes, we tap into experiences outside ourselves, something we can only prove later. The anxiety is higher, for no apparent reason. We move into the future knowing some very bad thing is about to happen.

So journey with me on this path. We have to sit at the stop light, find the breath and relax no matter what. Our addiction to worry hasn’t gotten us anywhere, and we can’t push the river. It’s time for me to say all this and say I did. I took a breath, let my shoulders drop.

I didn’t use medication or meditation. It was practice, muscle release practice. I started this about twenty years ago.  Tense up, relax.  Tense up, relax. Train the body to let go.

Lift the shoulders, squeeze, make yourself tense as possible, then drop. Add laughter, add a big HAH! Be loud. Alone in your car.

We have so much letting go ahead.  Let’s go.