Take the Top Off Your Convertible!

by heidistraubephotographer

I took the top off my convertible last weekend. And the earth moved.

Yes, yes, thank you, jokesters for your insight: The earth only appeared to be moving as I zipped along at 70 mph up Texas Highway 290, on my way to see the bluebonnets. Everyone knows it was really the car that was moving.

But of course I’m not talking about the earth or the car.  As you might expect, I’m describing an inner experience: a major shift in my spirit and body.

The top off my convertible, my car flying down the road, I glowed with happiness and light, feeling a blast of freedom, potential, and reconnection to the joy of life.

The experience was so simple, so easy, and felt so good.

“Why”, I asked myself, hair flying, heart uplifted, happily gunning my car and feeling its power, “did it take me so long to do this?!”

It had been five years since I took the top off my convertible. And from a practical perspective, I know what took me so long.

I have a 1978, two-seater Mercedes, which in winter looks like a normal classic car with a hard top. But what many don’t know is this: Lift off the hard top and voila!: Instant convertible.

The problem is the hidden challenge:  The top is very heavy, requires two people to lift it, and needs a garage or other secure place to store it. Which, for a person who has lived in 16 places over the last 5 years and currently lives in an 800 square foot apartment with no garage, hasn’t allowed for much top popping.

Except…Except…blame it on a recent comment by a friend cum spiritual teacher:

The comment: “You have it all right now.”
The translation: You have everything you need to be happy right now, in your current circumstances, whatever they may be. (A basic teaching of many spiritual practices)

Me, driving home: How would that change my life, (I mused), if I really believed that?
How might I be limiting my life right now, without even realizing it?

And then the invitation came from a fellow member of my photography group: To come to her ranch in the country outside Houston to enjoy and photograph the sea of bluebonnet fields, so stunning in Texas at spring time.

I remembered the first time I saw Texas bluebonnets. A  friend surprised me by picking me up in his little Triumph convertible, the top down.

“You must see bluebonnet country in a convertible,” he said. “There’s nothing like the sight, and smell, and pure sensuousness of the experience.” (He was right.)

I had to live that ultimate bluebonnet experience again. And here I was with a convertible! Almost forgotten, overshadowed by more recent identities as  mini-moving van, New Mexico touring car, and ongoing restoration project, I knew there was still a convertible in the heart of that car.

I thought of my friend’s comment.  Hmm, all I needed was right here. OK, then all I had to do was find the other supportive pieces: someone to help me take off the top, and a place to store it.

I didn’t worry about finding someone to help me with the top; that usually wasn’t a problem. It’s the  “No place to store it” belief that usually stopped me cold.

This time, however,  I intensely wanted my convertible in the bluebonnets. I forced myself to push harder. What other options did I have?

I thought about a friend’s pool room. I considered my mechanic’s place. I entertained the idea of asking my neighbor, who used his second bedroom as a storage room.

As I ran through ideas, I realized that it wasn’t just the lack of a storage place that had stopped me before. I was also uncomfortable asking for a favor, possibly imposing on someone who could provide that for me.

But  the day was too beautiful, the urge for freedom too strong.  And after all, what are friends for?

I picked up the phone and called a friend with a garage. He said yes immediately.

I was overjoyed…and amazed. Were the joys of life really this simple?

So last weekend you would have seen me on the perfect day, ecstatically zooming along the highway (not as fast on back roads :), the sun and air on my skin, filled with the feeling of release and freedom that every convertible and fast car lover understands.

I experienced fields and fields of bluebonnets, set my camera soul free, and ended the perfect day with a beautiful sunset and an evening of food and wine with my wonderful hosts and photographer friends.

I’m intrigued now with other beliefs in my life that might be keeping me from enjoying the here and now. What else do I have that I’m not taking advantage of?

“Take the top off! Drive on, girl”, I say.

(Click here to see me in my convertible and some bluebonnet pictures…)