Tag Archives: Cars

Calm: The Power of Mindfulness

This week, I’m participating in #theprompt once again. I am rather late, because I was quite busy with other things over the week. For example, on Wednesday, I had an intake interview at the country’s top notch autism center, which happens to be in my town. They are hopefully going to assess my needs and provide recommendations for when my husband and I will be living together.

The meeting was quite intense. However, I have been able to feel relatively calm lately thanks to practising mindfulness. Since this week’s prompt is “calm”, I am going to share some information about mindfulness and how it’s helping me.

Mindfulness is, as far as I understand, more or less a western, popular term for meditation. This is at least one type of mindfulness, the type that I practise when stressed. It involves trying to sit with my thoughts, feelings and bodily sensatiosn without judgment. You can try to focus on one aspect of your experience, such as your breathing. When distracted, you should not waste energy on fighting the distraction, but simply notice it and return to paying attention to your breathing.

Any activity can be done mindfully. For example, you might notice that you start eating and suddenly the entire plate or packet is empty and you didn’t realize you ate this much. Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of what we’re doing, feeling or thinking.

Mindfulness does not eliminate life’s pressures, but it helps us look at these pressures with more clarity and less judgment. For example, when you’re eating, you might think about all the calories you’re consuming rather than simply noticing the act of eating.

Mindfulness will also teach us to respond more adequately to experiences. This is achieved by creating a gap between the experience and our reaction to it, as in the example above. Mindfulness can help me actually enjoy food rather than binge on it.

In the example of the autism center meeting, I was constantly worried about what if I had to be re-assessed for autism all over again and what if my parents had to be involved and what if they were going to convince the professionals that nothing was wrong and what if… You get the idea. By being mindful, I would look more objectively at the meeting, which went quite well. However, I’d also sit with my present thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations without judgment. For example, I’d be conscious of my butt touching the chair or bed, my breathing, my current emotions, etc.

At this very moment, I am relatively calm. My fingertips touch the keyboard as I type this blog post. My bum and back touch the chiar as my toes touch the floor (my chair is too high for my entire feet to touch the floor). I could be thinkign about how the car broke down again yesterday. I could be worrying about all the stress of possibly buying a new one. Instead, I let these thoughts go by without judgment. I don’t fight them, but I don’t give them extra special attention either. It doesn’t mean the car isn’t broken or that we don’t have the pressure of buying a new one, but what use is there in worrying about this now that I’m writing?

Mindfulness can be useful in dealing with emotional stress, as in the examples above. It can also help in dealing with physical symptoms, such as pain. After all, we often tend to make the symptoms worse by worrying about them. If I feel an ache, the ache is usually not so all-encompassing that it in itself overpowers every other sensation. There are exceptions of course, but in most cases, the effects of pain get amplified by our thoughts about this pain. Again, what use is there in thinking about an ache? Will it lessen the ache? Quite likely not, and it will distress me. So I notice the ache but don’t give it more attention than it deserves. Of course, we do need to pay just enough attention to pain to take appropriate care, but particularly for chronic, largely untreatable and/or intractable pain, mindfulness can definitely help lessen its impact.



This week’s spin cycle prompt from Lemon Drop Pie, in honor of NaBloPoMo, is “free choice”. What Ginny Marie means by this is to write what comes to mind. I have been feeling particularly uninspired this month, which is why I’ve written less than I do in most months rather than more. It’s not that nothing’s been on my mind, but it’s been tough to put it into words that others find interesting to read. Then again, I write more for myself than for my readers, unlike some heavy weights in the blogosphere. Then again, they seem to write for their sponsors even more than for their readers. Oh well.

A few months ago, I came across a prompt from I think it is The SITS Girls, which was to write about your first car. Now I don’t drive, but my husband does. I find this prompt particularly relevant now, as our current car broke down on the highway on Saturday. It sudddenly became unmanageable while my husband was driving 110 km/hour and not in the right lane. Thankfully, he was able to maneuver the car onto the shoulder before it crashed completely. Neither of us was injured and the car was taken good care of by roadside assistance. He now drives a car on loan and we’re having to get this car repaired. This is the third time the not-so-lovely secondhand Kia Rio has broken down in the four months that my husband owns it.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we long for our lovely Suzuki Baleno, also bought secondhand in August of 2012, three months after my husband got his license. We sometimes nicknamed the car “Balympia”, after my sister-in-law’s horse, whose name is Olympia, but usually we just called it Baleno.

The car was fine for a sixteen-year-old car when we bought it and didn’t have its first problem until its annual check the following year. We had this issue fixed and the car was fine for almost another year, when the head gasket broke down. The head gasket, my husband explained, is a piece of cardboard that sits between the engine block and the cylinder head of a car. It is cheap, but in order to replace it, the entire engine needs to be taken apart. Cost is approximately E700. Given that we bought the car at E995, we considered the car ecnonmically totaled in May of this year.

After the Baleno, we got a 1995 Kia Sephia. I don’t remember what caused us to throw out this car. Since it was a cheap car, we didn’t want to invest a lot of money into it, so we brought it to be interchanged at its first major problem. My husband reasoned that maybe a more expensive but also newer car would be a reasonable choice. This is how we ended up with the 2002 Kia Rio.

Kia Rio is a much more popular brand than Kia Sephia or Suzuki Baleno, which may be why my husband isn’t as attached to it as he was especially to the Baleno. We however fall into a familiar thinking trap, which is that, the more expensive something was when you first bought it, the more likely you are to want to keep it and invest in it. This is why we’re still keeping this car despite three major repairs in four months.