Well, taking some time for myself turned into quite an adventure on Friday. My husband and I decided to take a train trip from Cordele, GA to Plains, GA. This excursion travels through Americus, home to Habitat to Humanity and the Windsor Hotel and ends in Plains, the home of Jimmy Carter.
Since I had never ridden a train before it was a way to check to two things off my bucket list…train ride and Carter homestead. (I’m a bit of a Presidential Home/Library geek and like to visit one whenever I am in the vicinity.)
It was to be a nice easy day of riding the rails and seeing the sights.
Then the adventure began. Our car, the one I paid for as an upgrade, had a bit of a problem with its air conditioning…there was none. Assuring us at the first stop that someone was going to fix it while we were off exploring, we wiped the sweat off our faces and stepped off hopeful.
Getting back on and seeing fans running popped that hopeful balloon. The air conditioning was never fixed and it was an 88 degree day outside!
On the way back the engineer came on to say he had some bad news for us. Like no air conditioning was good news??? It seemed that the train was out of gas! So we sat for an hour waiting for a fuel truck to come and fill up the tank. In the hot car in the hot sun…
“It certainly is an adventure I didn’t plan on, folks”, came the voice of the engineer over the intercom. Nor did we but at that point everyone on the car just started to laugh called it our “adventure on the HOG” (Heart of Georgia Railway). By this time several elderly passengers had gone to find a place to squeeze in on one of the cooler cars. Those of us youngins’ toughed it out.
I found that sitting quietly, breathing slowly, and meditating on the countryside helped keep me a bit cooler and more relaxed.
However, I soon became aware of a woman on our car who was bustling around picking up empty water bottles, straightening the chairs at the abandoned tables, and cleaning off any left behind debris. This was not a train company employee but a passenger.
My husband said something to the woman’s husband and he said, “Oh, she just can’t sit still and needs to be doing something every minute. This wait is making her antsy.”
Whoa…here was a woman who had the opportunity to just be, to relax and rest, who had no other responsibilities at that moment and she chose to expend energy doing something that was not her job.
And I realized she isn’t that much different from many of the women I coach who say they just can’t do nothing, can’t sit still, get too antsy resting. These statements are not grounded in guilt but in anxiety.
What is underneath that anxiety is key to slowing down and taking some time for yourself.
If you are someone who can’t sit still even when you have no other responsibilities that need your attention at that moment, ask yourself these questions?
- What is it that I don’t want to think about?
- What am I trying to avoid emotionally by keeping so busy and active?
- What old messages do I hear in my mind when I sit still and who is doing the talking?
- What is the worst thing that could happen if I just sit and let those anxieties come into the light of day?
- What would be the benefit from dealing with these anxieties?
- What will happen if I keep up the frenetic pace for another 5 or 10 years?
Back on the train, the hour passed and more seats opened up in the air-conditioned cars. We moved and let the cool air restore some of the energy that had been drained in the heat. The busy woman and her husband stayed in the heat. And when we finally reached the depot and left the train, I noticed that as people walked by any seats or tables that had discarded material on them, they simply picked it up and tossed it out on their way out.
And the woman who cleaned up after so many others, stepped down from the train looking exhausted, hot and frustrated.