It’s no secret that I’m easily stressed out.
It doesn’t take much. Which is kinda funny considering how much I push myself, how much of a work-aholic I am and just what a perfectionist I can be. Well--you’d think that over the 23-years I’ve been around that I’d be able to y’know, calm the fuck down.
You’d be mistaken.
No one does stressed out, frazzled or anxious as well as I do.
Doesn’t matter what it is. Friendship issues, school, work, whatever. I can probably freak out about it in some little way or another. Call it a natural talent, call it a freak trait. Whatever. It’s cool. It’s one of the many quirks that the people around me endure.
I guess it doesn’t really seem that shocking, then that I have looked to many different ways of calming my mind down. For something that runs on a nearly constant basis, it does often take a bit for me and my mind to unwind. Sure, I have some of my back up calming down techniques--most of them require either extreme amounts of caffeine and/or sugar or managing to wind myself up so much that I end up shutting down completely. However, I’m always on the search for something that’s a little healthier.
I’ve tried meditation and while at times it works, I have neither the will power nor the stamina to manage to do more than a couple of weeks’ worth of meditation. If anything, meditation often gets my mind even more worked up and it’s often a battle of wills that only mass amounts of practice will help me overcome.
And let me tell you, practicing is exhausting in it’s own right.
I’ve tried yoga but again, haven’t managed to make it stick. Maybe cause a lot of the classes start so goddamn early.
Either way, there are few moments when I’m truly--for lack of a better word, zen.
As I may have mentioned, I recently (okay, a couple of months ago) finished reading Eat, Pray, Love and while I haven’t managed to have her strict schedule of meditation--hey, I work, go figure, there has been one idea that has stuck to me. Now, if I had my copy I’d be able to look up the exact term but alas, seeing as I’ve loaned it out you’ll have to bear with my interpretation. Basically, there’s an idea that we are all capable of finding true peace. That we have, in rare moments, been able to find that peace in our every day lives and that meditation is just a way of regaining that, that inner moment of clarity and ‘whole-ness’ that we’re always, constantly, searching for.
Or something like that. Don’t quote me on it.
While writing this article, I ended up having a conversation about this idea with C. You see, I often thought most people were aware of this peace, this ideal or this act/exercise that gives you that small fraction, that small moment of contentment. It’s that moment that my meditation tapes often discuss, an act of non-doing or non-judging. Just being in that space for a tiny moment. A rare thing for me, seeing as I’m generally five steps ahead of myself and freaking out about the five different possibilities that -might- occur.
What he said, however, and I guess it’s not all that uncommon is that not everyone has that. Not everyone is aware of that one thing that is able to bring them to that moment of clarity.
For once, I’m not behind in the world.
I guess in my heart, I always knew to a certain extent what was able to give me those moments but I just knew it was something that relaxed me: driving. Or to be more specific, being a passenger. For some reason I’ve always felt safe and able to just let go when I’m in a car with someone (perhaps cause I never learned to drive and don’t know the perils). It’s the time where I don’t have to have a conversation or anything, just let go and my thoughts go out the window with the wind.
Sure, it’s not always a recipe for peace. Often times in the city there’s road rage, my mother nagging at me about something or being late for an event--most often work. However, when you don’t have anywhere to go, or just open highway with no stop lights or a lame speed limit and you can just... drive, that, to me, is contentment.
It’s no wonder why road trips are so appealing.
The best and most recent memory I can think of, the time where this realization hit me the hardest, was on our way back from the renaissance fair in the middle of July. My mother had let us borrow the car for the trip out to Langley and so my three closest friends and I piled in and made our way to the fair.
The trip there brought a bit of stress, managing to get lost a couple of times added to my anxiety and being on a supposed schedule to meet some friends in the city for a house warming didn’t help matters. However, on the way back, accepting that we’d be late anyways and driving across the bridge was the moment I really realized that this is it. That moment that we’re all searching for: Contentment.
I couldn’t tell you what song was on the radio or what was going on in that moment. All I can tell you is that we were each in our own little worlds, full of sun and tired with a full day’s drive and event. We were driving across the bridge back to Vancouver and I was watching the water as the wind played with my hair, surrounded by three of the people I love and cherish most in the world.
Cheesy, yes, I know. But I was safe, I was me. I wasn’t worried or stressing or thinking about that afternoon or the next day or work on Monday. I was there, in the car, feeling the wind in my hair and the hum of the motor in my body.
Unfortunately, it’s harder than it seems to recapture that moment. I’ve been in the car many times over in similar situations but they don’t always end up in that sense of ease or relaxation. The best I can do is catch glimpses of it, riding on the skytrain the few times when my nose isn’t in a book or I’m not late for work, and I can watch the trees bend and pass us by as we zoom off where.
Sure, it only lasts as long as the teenagers three seats away stop their yakking about the hottest boy in class or the baby is still asleep and not crying it’s lungs out but I’ll take the tastes, as short and bittersweet as they may be.
Well, I suppose there’s one thing that I’ll always have.
And hell, a $2.75 is a small price to pay for total peace--even if it’ s only for a few short seconds.