THE fuel gauge/fuel indicator of my 1999 Kembara is broken. It shows that my fuel level is at “E” even though I had just filled it with gas. My mechanic quoted me RM400 to fix it. Oh, dang, that’s a lot of money. I told him I’ll come back later. So what I had been doing is manually reset my counter after each gas fill, and do estimation as to how many kilometers I should drive before the next fill. Problem now is, I don’t remember how much I last filled my tank. Was it RM20, or RM40, or full? I don’t remember, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ll just fill it later and reset my counter again.

Now let’s look at the interior of a car. When the door is not shut properly or when your handbrake is still up, or when the hazard lights is turned on, the dashboard control instrument panel will light up accordingly to tell you what’s wrong. As long as the instrument is still fine, it will indicate when something is missing. But hey, my fuel gauge is broken but even then that tells me something is wrong. When my handbrake is up, all I do is put it down. When my fuel is low, all I need to do is fill it up. It doesn’t mean I need to immediately send it to the mechanic. All I need to do is follow and fulfill it accordingly.

Take the car to be the metaphor of your body and life. When you are tired, you yawn. When you are bored, you begin fiddling with your phone. When you are sad, you cry. Does this mean there’s something wrong with you? It doesn’t. Do you need to fix anything? You don’t! Just like the indicators in your car, your body tells you when you need to stop too. Does it make sense to let your car’s engine run non-stop just because it can? No, you will exhaust it. Same goes with your body.

When you are tired, you sleep. When you are feeling stressed out, you stop what you’re doing and go do something else. When you are out of ideas, instead of staying at the same spot to milk something out, do something else. Listen to your body. It knows what it needs to perform its best. Your mind, body, soul, works best when they are coherent in health.

There is nothing wrong with you when you feel the above. Don’t feel guilty about it.

I believe what we want is the best. Do you think you can give your best when you don’t feel at your best?

When was the last time you felt at your optimum, ideas come in easily, you are in a great mood, life feels smooth?

Or do you feel that life is a dread, but it’s okay, you ‘bertahan’, because you can look forward to the weekend?

Who told you success comes with stress? Or that responsibility is burdened with restless thoughts? These are outdated beliefs. Why not choose your happiness now, and not depend on an unknown future success, or hope for a ‘better’ future, while compromising how you feel NOW?

Personally, when I’m tired, I just go to sleep. Set my phone timer to 20 minutes. Just like you would put your car at rest to cool it down for a while after a long drive. Just like you would isi minyak when it’s not even empty yet. Treat your body how you would treat your car. I would wake up with fresh new ideas flowing it, because I am energised. When I am energised, I get work done well and with ease. When I feel sluggish, the quality of my work goes down and I would find myself complaining. So I allow myself that sleep.

Assuming most of my readers are Muslims, that’s why we have a five-times obligatory prayers per day. It helps us disconnect from the endless business we face in the world, to humble and bow down, to remember that we are nothing if not for Him. With it too comes the sense of surrender, penyerahan, that you do what you do with the best of intentions, and the rest of it you leave to the Almighty. Knowing and living this also puts stress and anxiety at rest, so you won’t feel guilty for taking a break.

Take a break, go to sleep, but I will also end this with one of my favourite Rumi quotes:

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep!”

This means too, wake up and start your day early and fresh. You’d find that successful people wake up early. Up to you how you want to interpret Rumi. I won’t say much about it except: Don’t sleep after Subuh, ya!

Penerbit. Pemilik #KABO (Kafe Buku Oakheart).

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