Tool: My Car = My Sanctuary

This is pretty cool. In fact, I can’t believe I didn’t think about it for myself years ago. Or maybe I’ve been practicing this anyway? Who knows, who cares. Here we go… So I was talking to an awesome friend recently who is stressed out. I was helping her see that how she feels actually comes from her thinking and not from the world directly. She’s a very awesome person who just has some bad habits of over-thinking, basically. Welcome to the club! I know that club well… In fact, there are literally billions of people on earth right now with this same issue. These habits of hers have been in place for decades now, so they’re fairly set, but it doesn’t take decades for them to be undone. That’s the magic of what we do here at A Clean Mind. It really is like magic. Amazing…

In a situation like this, it can seem like an overwhelming and even impossible task to clean up our thinking. If I’ve been doing this for so long that it’s all I know, I might think there’s no way I can change. But that’s not true, because I’ve seen this change too much. And I’ve seen it too much in myself as well (with plenty of room for more!). So what we need is some way for the person to remember. Remember what? Remember to take a break and stop carrying this constant load of stress and worry from place to place each and every day. You can do that if you want, but it’s a painful way to live. And it’s optional and self-inflicted. It’s nothing more than a habit, and we can change a habit.

I have one client who needed to remember some life-changing things, so we wrote these things down on a piece of paper she could carry around with her. She started and ended her days by reminding herself of what was on the piece of paper, and it was always there in her pocket throughout the day. And it worked like a charm! MAJOR improvement in three weeks. Like I said, the key is remembering.

So with my friend, we decided to make her car be her sanctuary. She’s busy and running around a lot, so this is the perfect idea. Even if the kids are screaming, sanctuary (take a breath and relax even as you quiet them down). Even if she’s in a rush, sanctuary (call or text someone that you’re running late?). Even if there’s a lot going on in life, sanctuary (because she’s driving now and can’t do much about it at the moment).

She said this has helped a lot, and I was very happy about that. So here’s what it can look like. Since the key is remembering, you can write “Sanctuary” or something else on a little sticky note or something so that you see it. Stack the deck in your favor, people! At least in the beginning. Now that we’ve remembered, we can let everything go the second we sit down in the seat. Or after we’ve gotten the heat or A/C going, gotten the kids settled in, or whatever. But before putting the car into gear, I’d take at least one super relaxing breath where you just let everything go. Don’t even think. Let go of what you’re carrying in that moment, because you’re just going to drive from Point A to Point B now. So let’s just drive without carrying that load. It’ll still be there when you’re done driving if you want. And write it down if you think you need to. Also, know that you don’t have to name everything you’re carrying. Just drop it! You’ll eventually feel it move and dissipate. It’s pretty relaxing after a while, and it usually doesn’t take long at all. A lot can happen in one breath. A lot.

Now you start driving. Relax your body as you drive, even if you’re in a hurry. Even if you’re speeding and running lights, and I don’t necessarily condone that or not, you can relax your mind and let your mind be still, just focusing on the road, the other cars, the scenery, etc. You’r muscles will start to let go, too – it’s pretty cool. Stress in the forehead starts to relax. Because you’re just driving anyway, so you might as well just drive. We multi-task way too much. And I’d cut down on the texting, too. Not a good idea. Let it wait. Also know that you’re in charge of what you listen to. Do you need to hear the same 25 depressing news updates everyday? Sweet, some more really bad news!! Listen to your Inner GPS about what it wants. You are the customer. Sometimes silence is nice. If you feel your head is full, it’ll naturally drain if you let it.

When you arrive at your destination, you might feel really good and light. Take one more breath if you want to, though, and just be free and empty. Even as you’re about to go into an important meeting or whatever (you’ll end up having a better meeting or whatever it is most of the time).

Feel free to try this out. Many of us drive a lot, so it’s a great idea. And very effective. Then spread this idea to other areas of your life. Note that this will actually happen automatically. When we get that one ray of light shining through, that’s all we need. It’ll grow from there; that’s just what it does. How about your bedroom? The backyard? Even the bathroom! The masters live in this space all the time, effortlessly. But there was a time when they had to consciously practice just like us. And the good news? That’s the direction we’re headed in, folks. All of us. And it really does start out by doing simple things like writing “Sanctuary” on a sticky note and putting in your car.