So I have a bit of a confession to make: I am addicted to the automatic car wash. Let me explain.

My addiction began earlier this fall, after I leased a new car — which I call Tuxedo (but I won’t go into all that). Who doesn’t want to keep their new car clean, right? 

I was feeling lazy one day and my car needed washing after a bird decided my car made an excellent bathroom. I tried the automatic car wash on 12th Avenue and I discovered something about automatic car washes — they are therapeutic. I’ve heard other people swear by the therapeutic benefits of an automatic car wash as well.

It’s been many years since I’ve been in an automatic car wash. I’ve never really wanted to spend the extra money so I’ve always done it myself. As I sat in my car with the radio turned off that day, I could hear the water trickling down my windows and pelting the side of the car. I noticed the patterns the water made as it ran down the windows. The best visual part of the car wash is the triple-shine protectant — a colored foamy substance that makes the most beautiful patterns (and smells pretty good, too).

What I learned during that seven or eight minutes it took the machine to wash, wax, rinse and dry my car, is this: for those several minutes I was fully in the moment — enjoying what was right before me. I didn’t think about my worries. I didn’t wonder what was next on my to-do list. I was 100-percent involved in that car wash.

This is a lesson I’m working to include in my daily life. This life is short and worrying doesn’t do any good anyway, so why not fully immerse in each and every moment — no matter what is going on?

Whether it’s work or play or time with friends or family, I want to be as fully engaged in every moment as I was inside that car wash.

While I have found the car wash relaxes me — like an unconventional sanctuary — there is another lesson. Any place can be a sanctuary. Unconventional places — like car washes in my case — but it’s more than that.

It’s important to have places where we can relax and unwind. And they don’t always have to be physical places. They can be internal. One of my favorite visuals includes a stream with koi fish, a log cabin and birds in the forest canopy.

With all the above said, I still enjoy a nice sit in the automatic car wash after a hard day. But I’ve had to limit myself because if I went every day it would put a nice crimp in my budget.

—Brandy Nance is the online and news editor for The Emporia Gazette. Her blog, The Wandering Pigeon, can be found online at lifefrontandcenter.blogspot.com. Brandy can be reached at brandy@emporia.com.

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