She gripped the wheel tightly, focused solely on the arduous task at hand. The snow was thick and coming down in fat, puffy blobs. The headlights shining off the white dots reminded her of light speed in the Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon. She could barely see a few car lengths ahead of her, and the road’s fog lines were no longer visible.
She noticed only too late that she was further along the road than she had calculated. The road so familiar to her had veered left, ahead of where she thought it should have. She turned the wheel, but the back tires had already lost traction. The rear end of the car started sliding to the right, sending the car toward the shallow ditch at the side of the road. The headlights shone to the left of center and she realized she was looking out the passenger window to see where she was going.
In a panic, she pulled the wheel sharply to the right. She jerked the wheel so it would spin a couple times, hoping that would fix her trajectory. She realized only too late her mistake.
The car, once sliding right and pointing left, now began a violent spin clockwise. Soon she was facing the ditch she first thought her back wheels were seeking as a hiding place. Then she was facing the road whence she came, her car going backwards. Her heart launched straight upward into her throat and she smashed the brakes and jerked the wheel the opposite direction. The car obeyed, spinning counterclockwise at a blinding pace. Now she had no idea where the road had gone, where it was going, or which direction her car was now heading.
Her car halted sharply, but she kept moving for a moment. Her head jerked around, trying to find its home atop her shoulders.
She discovered her bearings. She was now off the road, the car resting at an angle. Her door was on the downside. Her headlights were shining in what she believed was into the oncoming traffic – if there would be any traffic. Part of her was thankful there were no other cars on the road to slam into. But now she wouldn’t mind another fellow traveler.
My dad always taught me that when sliding on wet pavement, snow or ice, to keep the wheel pointed in the direction of the road ahead. No matter what the back of the car is doing, keep the front wheels aimed down the road, in the direction you’re heading. Be calm, stay in control.
He also taught me to use the transmission to control my speed. “The brakes will make you go faster, in the direction you don’t want to go” he would say. I always kept my car (if it was an automatic transmission) in L2, then go to L1 when trying to slow down for an intersection. This way the engine would be the brakes. It keeps the car in better control. Use the brakes only at the end to put the car gently to a stop, when I felt it was time.
Oh, how things are so similar in different areas of life.
Sometimes, we are heading down a particular path. We think everything is going well. Then we lose sight of our path. Our vision becomes obscured. Suddenly we noticed we are losing traction. In a panic, we overcorrect. We make a drastic change in the direction for our life, we make a panic decision that leads us in the opposite direction. We wind up in a ditch for a while. Our plans come to an abrupt halt. Our lives take a detour. We lose track for a bit. We lose valuable time getting back on the road, setting our course, and starting our engine.
Overcorrections are costly.
The trick is to keep your eyes on the path in front of you. Keep steering the vehicle of your life in the direction of your destination. Keep your eyes on the road, where you are going. Put down the phone, stop fidgeting with the radio, and concentrate. If the wheels of life start to slide a little, keep steering into the direction of the road ahead. A drastic correction could spin you out of control, you could end up in a proverbial ditch, headlights shining into blank, dark sky.
How do we wind up in a ditch? Just like driving a car, we panic. We allow stress to build inside us, and we react dramatically. Our minds fall into a “limbic” reaction, and we go into full stress “under attack” mode. Instead of looking at the situation as an opportunity, we feel the back tires lose traction, we assume we’re heading toward the ditch, and jerk the wheel. Someone says something to us at work, and we suddenly take it personally. We consider it a personal attack on our character, an insult to our work ethic. We then immediately jerk the wheel, saying something harsh in defense. We snap. Our words can put us straight into the ditch, bumper and fender wrinkled. We might lose that next promotion, our annual raise, or even our employment entirely.
Keeping our minds focused on the path ahead, the task at hand, the bigger picture, we can remain calm. We can then choose a response. And often, no response is a response.
If you are planning to leave the road you’re on, do so at your command, at the intersection of your choosing, because you’ve decided to change course, but on a new road. Don’t overreact and wind up stranded, waiting for strangers to stop and help you.
If leaving your job is what you’re planning all along, do so at the moment of your choosing. If ending your marriage is the only possible option and what is best for all involved, try to do so in a way that doesn’t burn a bridge to your children.
Leave the road only to make a turn onto another road. Don’t leave the road because you panicked, jerked the wheel, and slid into a ditch.
Your life is under your control, if you will only take the wheel, manage the gas and the brake, and look out the front window.
Joe “Weeg” Weigant is an empowerment coach who specializes in combining different bodywork and energy work modalities (Reiki, Acupressure, Tuning Forks, Massage, Reflexology, Sound/Vibration Therapy) to release trauma, reset the autonomic nervous system, and balance the energy systems of the body. This begins the healing process in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our lives. Weeg sells herbal products by Nature’s Sunshine and Pure Herbs Ltd. and is a Representative for Juice Plus. Weeg teaches Karate and Tai Chi, Reiki Certification, as well as seminars and workshops in metaphysical and spiritual matters. Weeg is available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness by appointment only.
Contact by text 812.568.5356, or Facebook Messenger to set an appointment.