I have been driving cars now for many years, ever since I was around 12 years old. Those who know me are aware of my love for cars but it's not only the cars themselves, it's the driving of them that gives me equal pleasure. If we take this back to where it started it may make more sense. Growing up, my parents loved cars and as a sideline they would detail cars together at our house for a local car dealer. My father in particular would always be washing and polishing his cars and this was something that transferred to me. My Dad was a role model for me; as I grew up he was one of the strongest role models in my life – as you can see from the photo below.
When it came to driving my father was my first teacher and as I mentioned, these lessons began when I was quite young. What was great about my father was he gave firm direction while at the same time was willing to allow me to have responsibility and grow.
My first steps into driving were in a paddock at home in a small Mini Moke – it had 2 seats and didn't have any brakes. The lesson for me here was to learn to use a manual car without needing brakes and also took away the temptation to speed. I remember driving around for many hours in the paddock; I only had a certain amount of fuel I could use and so I also learned to care and appreciate the time I did have driving. I would drive fast at times but driving for me, even at that young age, was so much more then driving fast. I loved and enjoyed just driving; learning how to be smooth in changing the gears, to the relationship on of how when my body was tense it seemed more difficult to drive. Even though this was an old car I would wash and polish it then always reverse it into our large shed out of the way. Even the reversing of the car into the shed became something I wanted to master.
Fast forward to now some 30 years later and I still love driving and love cars. As I said, it's never really been about going fast or having fast cars, it's more than that. I love driving to a feeling, watching passengers, watching the traffic and most of all, feeling how my body feels. I learnt from a young age that if you bring a tense, busy or frustrated body to driving, then this is how you drive. In other words, you drive how you live. Ever get into your car and it seems like every light changes to red in front of your eyes, or you get stuck behind a slow driver that really bugs you? Then ever experience the times when the ‘seas seem to part’ and you have a dream run to a destination? This relationship is not by chance . . . it comes from how you are before you drive.
What happens in your driving is only a reflection of what happens in your life – the two are linked.
The next time you drive or sit in the driver’s seat of the car, take a short moment to check in with how you are feeling. Are your shoulders tense, your mind on other things, are you talking on your phone or texting or are you sitting ready – ready for the drive ahead? Then as you are driving use the time to check in to your body: how are your hands on the steering wheel, how do your arms feel and how are your legs feeling? There are many little games or ‘check-in's’ you can do while driving. It's not a time just to get from point 'a' to point 'b' but a time to use to feel your body.
Do all this knowing that how you are is how you drive.
This first part has also appeared on https://raykaramblog.com.au/