I was about to sneeze.
This was bad.
It was bad because I had a badly-strained quadratus femoris (a little flat muscle that runs under your backside at the back of the hip), and it was causing all kinds of “fun” in my lower back. The resulting cramps and spasms were strong enough that they were actually pulling my spine out of alignment, and I’d had to go on muscle relaxants temporarily in order to give myself time to heal. Those pills were weeks gone by now, and I was slowly improving, emphasis on slowly.
The upshot of all that? Sneezing was bad. Whenever I sneezed, the force of the sneeze stopped right at the top of my pelvis. Every sneeze felt like I was ripping my own spinal cord out.
I was driving from Dallas to Seattle, and was just south of Moab in Utah when the sneeze hit.
On the other hand, the weather was beautiful, I was enjoying the scenery, and I wasn’t stiff or sore from driving at all, even though I’d been “in the saddle” for sixteen of the last twenty-two hours, and would be in the car until I made Boise that evening.
Wait a minute….
How does a guy whose back is such a mess that he’s literally scared of sneezing manage to drive a thousand-plus miles and not be stiff or sore?
That’s what I’d like to share with you.
I’m very lucky to work with a kind of education called The Feldenkrais Method, and I use it, along with some other tricks and exercises, to help people with body mechanics, stress, and critical-thinking problems. A lot of that revolves around fencing and martial arts, but the Method is powerful and extremely flexible and can be applied to almost anything a human being could think of doing.
A while back, I started to use it to help students have an easier time driving back and forth. This was really important at the time, as one of my mentors was having personal crisis that forced her to drive much more often than she had ever wanted to (through some of the DFW Metroplex’s worst commutes, to boot), and to do so under hugely stressful circumstances.
Needless to say, I had a strong motivation to help. And that’s what this book is about. Most of what I do in life is only really interesting to a few small groups of people (seriously, how many fencers do you know?), but hundreds of millions drive daily – and hate doing it. They drive only because they must. They’re stressed out behind the wheel. Worse than that, they frequently make poor decisions, because people who are under stress tend to assume bad motivations on the part of other, also probably-stressed-out people, who cut them off or do other silly things in traffic.
How many people do you know who need a good ten to fifteen minutes to “detox” after driving through rush-hour traffic? What does that do to the quality of their relationships?
If you get white-knuckled at the thought of on-ramps, assume the worst in people while trying to merge (even if they’re those dudes who run right up to the merge in order to “use the road,” so that the entire freeway now has to merge at two miles per hour, rather than forty, and yes this is a pet peeve of mine, why do you ask?) or find yourself realizing that you’re just plain nicer to your family if you haven’t had to spend much time behind the wheel that day, this book might be for you.
If you have to drive more than an hour per day, and would like to get out of your car or truck as relaxed, and possibly even more relaxed, than when you got into it… this book is definitely for you.
After all, you have to drive, right?
The average person spends up to an hour and a half per day driving. That’s a lot of time. But it doesn’t have to be wasted time. If you can pay attention to how you do things for a bit, and work with a few simple ideas about how to make the car your friend, you can convert that “Waste” time into “Recharge” time, and develop a set of good habits that can have you get out of your car looser, happier, and more relaxed than when you got into it.
Even if there are four news helicopters flying over your commute home.
Sound too good to be true?