Tuesday, October 14, 2008


last thursday night my car battery died.
it died in a most unusual way for a battery to die: it committed suicide.
now maybe this isn't a strange thought for most of you, but for me, it's just not up there in the "what I expect a car battery to do" list.

thursday night I went into my garage to get something I keep stored there. I opened the door, flipped on the light, and immediately heard a kind of a clicking noise. I paused, my eyes and ears searching the garage for what it could possibly be. I saw nothing unusual, but continued to hear this rhythmic sound, which seemed to be coming from the northwest corner of my garage. there were two cars in my little garage, so everything was packed in tightly, and I wiggled my way over to that area, where I listened even more carefully. my ears finally told my brain that the sound was coming from under the hood of my car. hmmm.
now I have to backtrack and tell you about the ghost in my car.
I bought this car (I just can't bring myself to admit it's a minivan, so I will continue to call it a car) four years ago, from a nice couple who had been its only owners. I should say, at the time of purchase I thought they were a nice couple. I have since decided that I need to qualify that statement, and perhaps call them a usually nice couple who were more concerned about unloading the vehicle than they were with being completely upfront about its history. which is probably how almost all of us are when we're trying to sell a car.
I hadn't had the car long before the ghost made its presence known. I was driving, on my way to one place or another, on the freeway. suddenly the electronic locks clicked, locking the doors. then they clicked again, unlocking the doors. then silence, as my mind raced around, trying to understand what had just happened. then, click. click. click-click, as it did a quick lock-unlock sequence. click-click.
then nothing.
I smiled. it had to be a ghost.
to keep to the point of the story, I won't go on and on: suffice it to say, there were numerous times my car decided to unlock itself. or lock and then unlock itself. the ghost in the machine.
so, back to thursday night: my first thought was just that the ghost was just back at work.
and then I opened the door, and saw a feeble little "door open" light come on and weakly flash in time with the clicks.
I tried the key: dead. nada. muerto.
three males later, we found a fuse that was playing mexican jumping bean, causing the noise. we pulled the fuse, the sound stopped, and I still had a dead battery.

yes, there is a point to this story: when the AAA guy came the next morning, he explained to me what had happened. apparently a battery recharges as you drive. if you don't drive a lot, the battery can find itself living in half-mode: carrying a charge, but never recharging itself completely. the mechanic told me this will ruin a battery. so what the car does when it detects this situation is to set off an event that will drain the battery completely, because a completely drained battery has a better chance of new life than a battery living forever in half-mode. (can you tell that these are MY words, not his??).
so my really intelligent car made this fuse go crazy, in an effort to drain the battery and thus, heroically, save its life.
and I'd thought it was just my silly ghost at work again.

the moral of today's story:
we humans are just like car batteries. it's destructive and sometimes deadly to live in half-mode. it's not okay to just partially recharge ourselves. we need to engage in activities that fully recharge us, on a regular basis, otherwise we risk living in this dangerous half-mode.
our bodies, like my car, when pushed to that certain point do have "suicide plans," and that's when we end up hospitalized or in some kind of treatment facility. and those are best case scenarios.
I have lived in half-mode. there is a saying about "filling the well," that you can only keep giving to others as long as your well has something in it. and therefore, you must find ways to fill your well. enough sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, laughter, joy . . . all of these contribute to a full well.
but I have reached points where, like my car battery, whatever things were recharging my battery were only doing it partially: I never made the long-enough drive that recharged me completely. and I lived in half-mode. which is an exhausting place to be.

this past sunday morning I went to yoga, and during the warm-up phase our instructor asked us each to set an intention for what we wished to gain during our hour of yoga practice. I thought of a friend of mine who often attends a class called "restorative yoga." I like that idea, and thus I chose restoration. I chose to be fully restored by that morning's yoga class. I had had a run-around, sit-and-watch-my-kids kind of day saturday, and the rest of sunday would be busy as well, so I decided that I would leave yoga class restored. and thus I did.

and these two events are why I decided to write about restoration today. because without being restored ~ check in with any old house you see ~ we absolutely fall apart. in little ways, in insidious ways, and in great ways.

I choose to walk ( and ride ) a restorative path through the rest of my life.

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