Buying a Car the Hard Way

December 17, 2009

“160/88,” my doctor announced, “we will need to do something about that.” I felt my reaction and protested; “my blood pressure always elevates in the doctor’s office; it wasn’t that high last week at the clinic; I have it checked each month by my doctor of Chinese medicine.” She was not that impressed but let it go for now but underlying it all I felt mildly irritated. Why was this happening now? I live such a relaxed life; I eat a good diet; I get plenty of exercise; my body mass index is normal; what was this about?

The VW in Happier Days

I reflected later that day on a roadblock in my life. I was without a car and it was becoming increasingly aggravating that I could not even decide what car to purchase, let alone acquire one. Each time I thought I had resolved the dilemma something would prevent completion. I had expected everything to transpire smoothly since the fateful day when I finally surrendered any attachment to my VW Camper and turned it over to the repair shop in return for $500. In fact I can clearly recall the lightness of my being when I left with my cheque and license plates in my hand and a spring in my step.

Yet here I was three weeks later with no vehicle or even the prospect of one and I was missing some really good skiing in the process. I discussed how I was feeling with my friend Philip. “I want the car to come to me; I am so fed up with this hassle; in fact I think I had better let go of the idea of getting one before I go away for Christmas because I am just too confused.

So what happened? First I had determined on a new Suburu Outback but there is a wait of five months. “What happened to the recession?” I asked the salesman. Then I tried a Suburu Forrester. A lovely SUV, not exactly what I wanted, but it would suffice. A little pricey at $35,000 but I could afford it. By the time I got home I sensed the voices of dissension. “Why do you need that much car? And it is far too much money.” The problem with a new car is the $2,000 dealer PDI that is lost the moment you drive it off the lot. So I decided a used Outback would make much better sense. This idea soon crashed as there are very few available and they are all overpriced and have high mileage. I guess Suburu owners hang on to their cars like limpets to a rock! I start to explore the Rav4 by Toyota, the Kia Sportage and the Honda CRV. They all seem so big. Another voice enters the battle. “Aren’t you supposed to be concerned about the environment? How can you justify such a big vehicle?” I am back to square one.

Now I lay down my minimum requirements. I want a smaller vehicle, with a sunroof and all wheel drive. My exploration leads me to the Toyota Matrix. It looks ideal except the AWD is only automatic and by the time you add the sunroof you are over $30,000. Then the salesman suggests a used one. They seem to have one on their books that fits my description but no – it not AWD. Apparently used AWDs are rarer than finding water in a desert. I feel completely at a loss. Whatever happened to flow in my life? And my doctor’s diagnosis of hypertension does not help at all.

The following day I visit my Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Melissa Carr, for my monthly acupuncture session. She examines my tongue that suggests we work on the points associated with the gall bladder and the liver. I ask her what these represent. “The liver relates to yin energy, while the gall bladder is about decision-making but that should not be a concern for you.” (For anyone who doesn’t know, I teach decision-making and have written a book “Life’s Little Book for Big Decisions”) I look up startled and realize that perhaps this is all connected with my inability to buy a car.

During the next thirty minutes, as I lie on Melissa’s table, the pieces of the puzzle slip into place. I have been trapped in what I describe as the battleground of thoughts and feelings. No wonder I couldn’t find clarity. I was trying to resolve the issue using my logical mind but my feelings and fears kept getting in the way leaving me at an impasse. I was not using my yin energy to resolve the conflict. The answer lay in going deeper, beyond thoughts and feelings and accessing my own deeper wisdom. I needed to adapt my own DecisionClarity process to this particular issue. I wondered if this had anything to do with my elevated blood pressure yesterday. Melissa took a reading at the end of my session. 128/78. Much better. It was time to address the decision in a different way.