I’ve been on a money kick lately. The last several months, through a possibility created through the coaching of friend and mentor, Javier Silva, I identified a huge loss of power around my personal finances, and I put the kibosh on previously unrecognized frivolous spending. I’ve needed new tires for a while now. I started shopping around in July.
After deciding new tires were out of the question, I began to do some serious homework around how to inspect used tires. For THREE MONTHS I shopped. One night, I randomly looked on a local classified ads site. Lo and behold, there was a very nice set of “lightly used” Michelins listed within the last six hours, and they were just the size I needed. I called the next morning and went to the guy’s house. Very nice neighborhood in a prestigious area. They were taken off a company car per protocol to replace tires every three years, regardless of condition. I inspected all four tires and they passed. I took them to a reputable tire place. The guys told me I’d made a good choice. Happy to have this checked off my list, I had them installed.
The next morning, I drove about 30 miles to work down the interstate. About 2 miles from the hospital, the back right tire blew out. I pulled into a parking lot, hoping it was something minor. It wasn’t. This freaking tire looked like it had been on the wrong end of a drive-by shooting. I called work and informed them that I’d be late. I then proceeded to get the jack, lower the spare, etc.
Still dark at 6:30 AM, I’m in a deserted parking lot, changing this damned tire, cursing under my breath, envisioning what I’d have to spend on another set of tires, thinking about having to dig into my savings, watching my hard-earned money float away like piss into the wind. In that moment, as I was cranking off the last lug nut, I happened to look over my left shoulder. Above me, in the distance, a bright and full moon hung quietly, with wispy gray clouds passing over it like transparent curtains. I became aware of the stillness in the middle of town in the early morning. It was eerie, but not disturbing, if that makes sense.
Directly I became aware of how small I was. I became aware of how, in the grand cosmic scheme, in the great wide world, a flat tire in the middle of a quiet town was utterly meaningless. I actually laughed out loud at myself. It was completely absurd that this event should bother me so. I was alive. I was breathing. I could smell the morning air. And if I should have to deplete my entire savings account, it was completely within my power to build another savings account.
One could say I “became present.” That is to say I became aware of what was occurring in that exact moment and stopped surrendering myself to the stressful, chaotic and reflexive machinery that was my subconscious stream of thoughts on auto-pilot. My friends, one of the greatest discoveries I’ve made in life thus far is the identification of those thought processes which regularly find themselves in my stream of consciousness. If you can identify those thoughts, you have the ability to change them. But be warned: Doing this regularly can cause loss of cynicism and anxiety and complete transformations of one’s worldview. I am the evidence. 🙂