A personal revolution is the consequence of confronting self – as is -
Over the years, I have slowly arrived at the conclusion, that who I was, turned out to be largely influenced by whom I associated with. Quick example: Have you ever noticed how you feel and behave one way with your family on Thanksgiving and differently with your friends on a rowdy Friday night, and another way with your running buddies early one morning and super flexible yogi’s during a rigorous class?
Not that who we want to be is of no consequence during our daily lives. Although when it’s at odds with what another person’s presence pushes us to be … Let’s pause for a moment – Personal story time. I get caught up in the moment, depending on whom I am surrounded by and the given setting. Who I truly want to be often loses out, or is muted by their presence. How often, for example, do you want to be loving, kind and gentle towards yourself during yoga class, only to be left feeling cold and bitter by the lack of gratitude and energy in the room?
The idea I’m trying to highlight and one I feel is quite important, is that all of us, let me say this again – All of Us – exert far more of an influence on the people around us, more than we perhaps realize. This may not be our conscious intention, but by who we are ourselves.
When we allow our true selves to shine through, no matter the setting, the intention or who we are surrounded by? Let’s just say I feel its immensely important to sit up and take notice of the profound effect this may have on our lives …
There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature-
One vibrant morning in Omaha last summer. I joined a friend for bike ride and a “refueling” stop midway. We decided to try a little café in Countryside Village that is well-known for diverse, healthy fare and devilishly good treats. Both of us were trying to get our diets in order for the upcoming cyclocross season, so splitting a sandwich fit in perfectly with our plan(s).
Moments after sitting down by the front window, a friendly waiter arrived to take our order. We asked for a club sandwich (which could feed four people) and two waters, one with a wedge of lemon. As our waiter was starting to walk away to place our order into the bustling kitchen, my friend threw in a side of homemade kettle chips. Needless to say – “things” just got real!
“Dude… You, of all people, know that I am not very good at saying “no.” Do you smell how delicious they are?Look at the young couple enjoying their order! Fresh kettle chips are simply irresistible I tell you! It’s torture! The humanity – Gah!!!!”
“I’ll have a few and toss the rest away …“
Finally I chime in …
“How about “no” kettle chips? Let’s say “no” to the order of chips now, so we don’t have to say “no” over and over when they arrive from the kitchen – begging to be savored and devoured!”
My friend finally relented and we kindly asked our waiter to cancel the order. Twenty miles down the road, my friend said he felt pretty good that he didn’t get the tasty, perfectly fried kettle chips. Who needs duck fat fried slices of potato heaven, when you can share good company and an awesome sandwich instead!?!
This is when my Strava obsessed and quasi – superstitious friend discovered the strength and power of saying “No.” Did saying no to the kettle chips add watts and power to our hill training program? Who knows, and who cares. Although we did go back after finishing our century …
There are an infinite number of reasons to say no. Instead, try to focus on one good reason to say yes-
This weeks post will focus entirely on two harmless letters: N and O … And why it’s extremely difficult to put them forth in good faith, in a manner that honors and respects our true spirit. A little context is in order before we begin. This past Saturday my plans went sideways, really quick! My team fell apart at the last-minute for a gravel ride over in Iowa, which we had planned back in January over a few soul warming adult beverages. No biggie, such is the ebb and flow of life when you try to get five dudes together at once, add in work and kids?!? You know how it goes, anyways … A new yoga studio opened up not too long ago in West Omaha that I was curious about trying out. This is where I failed to say “no” for the first time on such a lovely Saturday morning. What do you think when you read “Hot Yoga?” For whatever reason, and maybe what my spirit needed at the time, was a hot vinyasa flow. I could rant about Bikram yoga, but I won’t – not here. I had hot yoga firmly planted in my stubborn mind, until class started that is.
Saying “no” to anyone, about anything, is easily the most challenging part of our lives. Do you like being told no? Do you take comfort in telling someone, maybe yourself, “no?”. We want to avoid the discomfort and the consequences that might come our way for being fully “exposed” in our unwillingness (my stubbornness). Many of us continually strive to be caring and available, and we often find it strenuous to face a situation in which, for whatever reason, we don’t find the willingness, the courage or ability to say “yes” to what is being asked of us.
If we are able to keep our attention focused on attending to what matters most, and keep coming back to that intention, this beautiful “thing” called life may surprise each and every one of us. We begin to hear the needs of our True Spirit more clearly.
When saying no eludes me, however much I am committed to “whatever” … Rather than closing my heart in order to say “No,” which is what I often do, I consciously choose to open my heart wider, in order to actually feel the pain of saying “no” and bear witness to its effect – To honor my true self, to tell the full truth, and to remain present to hear it.
Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength-
“Slow down, you move too fast … Life, I love you, All is groovy.“
Can you recall the last time you were in love, with life? Noticing the subtle – yet profound flowers blossoming from the dormant grass below ?
During lunch with a close friend this past Friday, I struggled to put into words this exact thought: When was the last time you fell in love with life. All of us have become multitasking savants, hastily doing no fewer than three things at once. Making breakfast while texting about the NCAA tournament and updating a post we have been working on for a few weeks. Our minds are literally filled to capacity, overflowing with “things“. When does the Sun rise tomorrow? The Sun does rise – right? Why does Windows take so long to boot? What’s the forecast for this weekend? Am I out of shape? I look bloated! What if I perform poorly in yoga class, my next 5k? This latte is too much, are they stealing my debit card information? Will it snow tomorrow? I need to book an appointment to have my nails did – done – whatever? What time is it, do I have time to workout/run/swim?
Time is flat, circular and restrictive. We continually arrive back at the same point, with a gadget of some sort close by.
Can you recall the last time you went for a leisurely walk after dinner? The “garden of life” variety of walk that didn’t involve a pedometer, taking a selfie or tweeting to the masses the calories you burned, and all the “other” information we vitally need to live.
If you can name the song and artist that set the gentle tone for the post today,without using your Google Machine – You win a prize or something! All, truly is groovy!!!
Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you-
” … Get your bike off of my road asshole!!!“
Last summer I built up an old Jamis road bike in order to make it more efficient and useful for commuting back and forth from work. For me – This is the perfect way to get a bit more exercise, heal and rehab some old injuries, save a couple precious dollars on gas, and in all honesty – I enjoy the ride, alone, the peace and quiet of spinning along in the early light. (I’ll save my rant about saving the environment for later this summer)
On my afternoon ride two Thursdays ago … I was waiting at an intersection near home for the light to change, when an Audi Q7 (affectionately adorned with five look at how many kids I have created stickers in the rear window) squeezed past me to get to the front of the line. The “kids” driving turned sharply in front of my front wheel and the driver kindly shared her advice mentioned at the beginning of the post.
My first reaction was one of slight amusement, as an avid cyclist, events like these happen all too often. I was simply waiting to cross the last intersection after a long day of work, when out of nowhere I was called some rather amateurish names. Instead of reacting, I simply crossed the street when the light changed, and then gently rode home.
When I arrived home and started to remove my helmet, I thought for a moment what was shared with me 15 minutes earlier … The recalcitrant behavior of our society is nauseating.
Why do so many people feel the need to make these kinds of remarks in the first place? I’ll share with you my theory as to why: There are critical thinking flaws present in the way we live our lives, especially pertaining to unwarranted inferences from others.