Anne M Portrait 6 0720 pp

Self-care moments: Driving

- Photography by Alan Johnston
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Hi, this is Anne Malatt with self-care moments and this is a moment on driving.

I love driving. When I used to treat myself with disregard and was always running late for my whole life, I drove like a maniac, way too fast, full of road rage and was generally a living nightmare, for myself and for everyone else in the car and all around me.

The more I have learned to care for myself and to give myself time and space in the day to prepare myself and get to where I am going, the more enjoyable driving has become.

The key to enjoyable driving is care, presence and space.

Our cars are like our bodies, and the more we care for our cars, and our bodies, and the more present we are with them, the better they perform and the more spacious we feel in them.

Giving ourselves space to get where we are going so that we don’t have to focus on the time is the key to enjoyable driving. I aim to leave 10-15 minutes earlier than I need to, to get to where I am going on time. That way if the unexpected happens, which it often does, there is time and space to accommodate it.

I notice that when I leave space like this, I don’t feel stressed about getting there on time, and often arrive early, which gives me time to enjoy the space I am in. Whereas when I leave just enough time, or leave a bit late, I feel compressed and almost always something will happen to delay me further, having me arrive at my destination feeling stressed, compressed and not spacious at all!

Even if I have left my run a bit late, the key is to be present with myself while I am actually driving. I cannot now change the time I will arrive at my destination, but I can determine the quality I arrive in. So I stay present with my body, with my hands on the steering wheel, my feet on the pedals, my body on the seat, aware of my posture, my breathing, and any tension in me. If something happens to slow me down – extra traffic, a slow-moving car, or roadworks – I take the opportunity to slow down too, rather than railing against it or trying to speed up to make up for lost time.

It is usually not the end of the world if we arrive at our destination five minutes late. But we can certainly do a lot of harm along the way if we are indulging in road rage, angry thoughts, blame, guilt or are full of tension, because then we are in that energy and we spread that energy all along the way and bring it into the next space we enter.

Rather than making time and our destination the focus of our trip, driving can be a beautiful opportunity to connect with ourselves and enjoy just being in our bodies, and our cars, and moving them in space.

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