: When a friend opens a random page in your life :
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well-
Before a cyclocross race recently, I was listening to a close friend describing his favorite hobby – He likes to make wooden toys and other wooden “things“. Although, he starts many projects and simply lets them stack up, unfinished. “I don’t have a real passion for my hobby at times,” he said to me … His last words before we started the race planted a question in my head that I have often thought about: How do we cultivate and nurture our passion(s) in life?
You know it when you feel it don’t you? You get that butterfly sense deep inside that “something” significant is close and you gently move towards it. You make room for “it” and you fully awaken to its presence in your life. Maybe these new-found feelings affirm what we desired, or maybe they will completely change them? For some folks, a single passion burns for their entire lives. It’s their true essence, their true authentic self and they would never give it up …
I know that whatever compels me toward these deeper experience(s) will likely wear thin at certain times during my life. But you know what? It’s totally fine with me.
ought to be swum
without knowing it,
afternoon lost to
re-finding the rock
you can stand on
way out past the
raft, the flat one
that lines up four-
square with the door
of the boathouse.
Freestyle and back-
stroke and hours on
the dock nattering
on while the low sun
keeps setting fin-
gers and toes getting
number and number …
how could we know
we were swimming the
last swim of summer?
Do not ruin today with mourning tomorrow-
Struggling to eliminate our flaws, tossing abrasive feelings to the side … Fighting ourselves into a place we deem more pleasant and less disruptive. Our instinctual fight or flight response operates in perpetual “autopilot” mode, navigating us toward safety. Although, what happens when we switch our autopilot system off?
I quite literally stumbled, and flicked my autopilot switch from “on” to “mindfulness” about five years ago. Mindfulness offered me a very specific and helpful way to accept, and value myself, by gently inviting me to pause … To look within my thoughts, and notice what I am experiencing moment to moment – The polar opposite of killing the gym and running myself into the ground. Rather than conclude something was “wrong” with me for experiencing troubling thoughts and feelings, I simply acknowledged and attended to whatever I happened to notice at the time. Acceptance of who I am is enormously freeing, as long as I pause long enough to recognize that the path forward is awakening to myself, and not who I want or wish I could be.
As the many experiences in life arise and float away, we dip our toes into a pool of stillness that has long sat stagnant.
Every afternoon that autumn
walking across campus
past the conservatory
I heard the soprano
her voice rising
making its way up the scale
straining to claim each note
weeks of work
storms slamming the campus
the semester staggering
to an end
heading out and going home
the campus nearly deserted
but the soprano
still working the scales
when I passed under the trees
the liquidambars on fire
the clouds like great cities
sailing out to sea
and didn’t I ascend
my own weariness
didn’t we rise together
her voice straining
at the top of its range
Never to suffer would never to have been blessed-
There’s something deeply ingrained between our ears, that believes if “something” is hard to do, takes us out of our comfort zone or doesn’t come naturally, it’s better to avoid “it” at all costs.
It took me quite a few years to have the proverbial light bulb go on, although I am confident in saying now that virtually everything which creates positive results and change in our lives, will be hard to do. Better yet – Some things will always be hard to get ourselves to do … Coconut water and staying up late on a weeknight instantly come to mind?!?
Thinking out loud this morning after completing the grueling Big Ring Ranch Enduro this past Sunday – It’s a strange phenomenon that our lives seem to ebb and flow with a natural current toward what we don’t want, toward what will make our lives miserable. Much like its easier to sit on the couch, being programmed by mindless TV shows, than it is to spend quality time with a loved one, a close friend, or heaven forbid – To enjoy the richness that only comes when we read a book. We simply stop stimulating our mind and spirit, enriching our lives – Going with the flow.
I’m an expert when it comes to hanging out and doing nothing after a long day at work. Packing it in rather than getting up to do something that could be considered productive, such as helping my Son with his homework or going for a bike ride with him. It’s easier to pick up some fast food, turn on the TV and worry about homework in the morning. This is something I need to work on.
My only way to combat this natural ebb and flow is to be determined to swim against the current. I deeply cherish nurturing relationships, whether the person is sitting next to me eating Cheerios, or in some far off land.
I can’t sit back ant wait for my Son to do it, or anyone else for that matter. Yet, sadly … Many people won’t, as they unconsciously go with the flow of – Drifting apart.
*Join us “Dudes” tomorrow evening in Lincoln for the start of Star City CX series*