As I write this entry, there are kids playing outside somewhere I cannot see them out my window, but the sound winds around the building corners of the brownstones and up my stairs, through my window. I hear from another indeterminate location, dancehall music playing, slightly muffled, so perhaps out of a car. These are the sounds of the summer in my neighborhood and I adore them. If we are aware and awake, we can note that everything around us is in constant flux and motion.
Yesterday I was laying in the park, absorbing more of Brooklyn, and I felt the ground tremor beneath me. I pushed my back closer into the ground and it felt like I was in the ocean. It was a beautiful experience of the first earthquake I’ve felt on the East coast. I was laying there in the moment, not trying to define it, just letting it pass over me. I felt how infinite the universe was, and how the earth was alive. I smiled while basking in the sun above me and the living breathing ground beneath me.
It was only after I got up and left the park that I was told it was an earthquake. The earth is in motion, but it also has creatures on it that are constantly moving. From a satellite one could feasibly see the sphere of the Earth, and at any given moment, one could see the constant gesticulation of humans, vehicles, animals, blowing trees, the ebb and flow of the ocean, clouds moving. Constant change, constant movement, constant life.
Whether we like it or not, we have changed the planet, and we continue to do so. We have already reached the point past sustainability. Conservation is an afterthought, environmentalism is a result of centuries of superfluous use of resources. It is not futile, however, to try to slow our destruction. Things that were once coveted, are often now disdained (e.g. SUVs) and an increasing number of people are understanding that we are our own deleterious enemies.
Whether for practical reasons or economical reasons, countries like Korea, and many parts of the world, implemented conservation measures decades before the States. One such example is the almost universal use of manual transmission cars. I learned to drive on a manual car (okay maybe I “taught” myself when my father was out). All the cabs and most cars were manual transmission, which run on less gas.
The only cars I’ve ever owned have been Hondas. I’ve had many different models throughout the years (Passport, Prelude, Civic) and they also were all manual stick shifts. Yes, they’re more fuel efficient, but mainly, it’s just way more fun. Driving to me is not simply a means of transportation, but it is an experience much like riding my bike. It’s not simply to get from one point to another, but to experience something exhilarating and filled with adrenaline.
And just as I experienced the earth quaking beneath me, I thought about an astronaut’s eye view of the planet, and how cars are mere specks on black strips all throughout the land. Constantly moving, constantly changing. Humans are even smaller specks. Specks driving specks.
I didn’t surrender my last car voluntarily; it died. After not having a car for a couple of years, I’ve grown to love the non-attachment to a car. We adapt. We are better at adapting than we think. I’ve kept the keys to my cars over the years, even though the cars themselves have gone to different owners. I indubitably was attached to each car I drove because I lust after driving. I am clear about this attachment to the extent that I’ve kept the keys to my history of cars as medallions of my steel companions. It’s time to give these keys away though. The wonderful thing about car keys, is they make wonderful keychains. So on Day 351 of my 365 Release practice for non-attachment, letting go and change, I am finally releasing those cars.
For those who have been asking how they can continue to be a part of my journey even after this project, you can subscribe to my monthly email newsletter here, where I share life lessons, contemplations of awesomeness and updates on projects such as this 365 Release and much more.
[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]