Saturday, January 26, 2013

Driving in the moment

Over the summer, I started meditating.  It's something I'd been meaning to try for several years, honestly, but I never quite got the motivation.  Then I discovered that there's a subreddit for meditation.  There's a subreddit for just about everything, actually, but subscribing to this one is probably the best decision I made last summer.

While just thinking "I hear meditation is good for you, I should try it" wasn't great at making me actually want to start, seeing lots of testimonies about the benefits of meditation and tips on how to do it every time I logged into Reddit was a fantastic push into the world of mindfulness.

To say that meditation was "helpful" would probably be an understatement.  After starting to meditate, I slept better, was more focused (most of the time), and was significantly less stressed.  When I say significantly, I mean... since I started meditation, I haven't needed to take my anti-anxiety medication.  Since I started meditation, I also wrote my entire thesis, so it wasn't because I wasn't under any pressure.

Fast forward to last weekend.  I was driving my car down to campus so I could have an easier time getting all my stuff back home after graduation.  It's a long drive, supposedly around 18 hours but, including our detours off the highway for lunch and sleep, I'm pretty sure it took closer to 24 hours of driving... 3 very long days.

As long as the driving was, though, it wasn't painful.  It was peaceful.  Meditative, you might say.  Driving is the ultimate test of living in the moment, because when you're driving, the most important thing to pay attention to is what's going on around you - not doing this has very real and costly consequences.

Much of the drive was also gorgeous...
In addition to the need to pay attention, driving to campus was a reset, in a way - three days where all I had to do was get to the next location, and if someone else was driving, I could knit or read.  I had my phone on hand if I needed it, but otherwise I was disconnected.  I was waking up early to get where I needed to be, and I was with a couple of the people I most enjoy being around.  We even managed to stop at a beach on the last day.  It was the perfect combination of peaceful and fun.

Since the drive, I've been waking up earlier (my sleep schedule never went back to what it was before), and feeling better.  I'm looking at a completely overwhelming semester with excitement, and looking forward not just to the overwhelming amount of classwork and workwork... but to the time I'll have to spend with friends before I graduate, and the time I'll have to read and knit and do things I like to do.

Maybe I'm over-optimistic.  I think I can pull it off if I really want to.

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