Nothing demands attention faster than an illuminated Check Engine light. Drivers may either pull over immediately or call a mechanic within a few days but rarely do they ignore the warning altogether.
I want a Check Engine light for my life.
This dawned on me during a recent chiropractor appointment for a sore hip that has prevented me from running. “When did this pain start?” Dr Kim asked. “Oh, I don’t know, about two, maybe three, months ago” I said. Bless Dr Kim that he didn’t ask the question I asked myself in the waiting room, “Why the hell did I not come in sooner?”
I am not saying that we should panic brake and jump into immediate fix-it mode for any problem. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a fine-tuned personal Check Engine light as a reminder to “check in” with ourselves so that we can evaluate the seriousness of a situation and decide an appropriate action before it escalates into a catastrophe?
Problems do not go away by themselves. Check Engine lights signal problems and if you ignore them, problems increase in intensity and then take more time, energy, money and other limited resources to fix.
I remember when I felt the first twinge of pain in my hip. I thought about making a chiro appointment but dismissed it. My Check Engine light would’ve gently reminded me to take action by blinking or perhaps increased to a steady glare if I continued to ignore the “make the appointment today” message. When I finally arrived in Dr Kim’s office, my invisible Check Engine light was in full-blown strobe light mode. Not ideal.
My ultimate Check Engine light would not be limited to physical ailments but alert to psychological situations too.
Before I allowed somebody else to talk me out of something that I really wanted to do, my Check Engine light would respond. Flicker -- this is a minor difference that a simple compromise can fix versus FLASH FLASH FLASH -- this is a critical boundary invasion that will build into resentment, take action now!
Before I allowed myself to talk me out of something I wanted to do, my Check Engine light would respond. Flicker -- be aware that this is a slight step beyond your comfort zone so just feel the fear and do it anyways versus FLASH FLASH FLASH -- be aware that this is a monumental jump out of your comfort zone so don’t expect yourself to go it alone or to tackle it all at once; reach out to friends or break it down into baby steps.
A driver thinks he is in control of a car but if the driver ignores the Check Engine light, the engine will cease to work and it doesn’t matter what the driver wants or tries to do, the car will not go. Our brains are like the drivers of cars. Our engines are our hearts, souls, guts, or whatever you want to call them. Our brains may temporarily steer our hearts but if we ignore our hearts’ true desires over time, problems arise, then disasters, then catastrophies. Our Check Engine lights eventually demand attention.
Just as owner manuals have the best maintenance information for our cars; our hearts have the best information of what we need for our own well-being maintenance.
I guess we already have personal Check Engine lights, we just need to open our eyes and be aware. I’ll still wish for the bright flashing neon option though.
© 2011 Michelle Sevigny. www.michellesevigny.com. Reprint permission granted with full copyright intact.