If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath-
This morning, I’m anxious about any number of things and more specifically the Big Ring Ranch MTB Enduro this coming Saturday. I have not been able to find peace and tranquility very well, or as much as I would like the past few days. This race was supposed to happen in June, however Mother Nature won in the end. I feel tense and unsettled no fewer than a couple of times throughout the day: Worrying about pedantic things like gearing, my level of fitness and health, and I worry about “why” I was talked into this in the first place … I worry a lot, because I find comfort in worrying.
The first thing I try to do when my worrying mind takes over, is to figure out what is not working right now in this beautiful moment. Sounds easy enough right? For me personally its harder than it sounds. Some mornings there’s a clear answer to be found during a sun salutation, but often it’s jumbled and convoluted – for my mind is not entirely present. I feel like I’m “hanging out” and going through the “motions.” I feel like I’m going to disappoint a bunch of family and friends – You – My Dear Readers. The once solid relationship I had with myself is spiraling out of control.
Other mornings, though, I really don’t know what the problem is. On the surface it appears that everything’s going fairly well, my breath is in tune with my flow and my mind is centered in the moment. Although, buried under the surface: I’m still struggling with worry.
The more I struggle with worry, the more anxious I become. I desperately need to find peace and tranquility, but how? Where do I start?!?
Does what I shared above sound familiar? Some folks go for a walk, others head to the gym and surrender to a warm bath afterwards to find peace and tranquility. However, through being bold and trying, surrendering to the moment … This is when we find peace and tranquility.
Time to head out for a morning walk.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself-
What are we seeking when we engage in self-reflection along our path to discovering our true authentic self? I asked myself this question during a recent cycling event, one where I had quite a bit of time to think about “things” in life.
Stumbling upon my path to discovering my authentic self has been riddled by a myriad of close calls, disappointments, pain and yes: Suffering. Years of engaging in destructive behavior seemingly crushed me as a person and still haunt me, even as I proof read this post.
Everywhere I sought help and refuge, I was continually told the way to discover “who we really are” is to simply scrape away all the dreck that has been heaped upon ourselves over the years. Sounds easy enough right?!? If life were only as easy as reading a $5.99 self-help e-book or a top 10 list to discover your true self blog post. The more self-help advice and guidance I marinated in, the more I began to notice how self involved I was becoming. I gradually became concerned only with what affected me or only with that which is useful to, or focused primarily on myself. I started to make every day life “things” that were not about me, about me, and I became blind to world unfolding around me … The more I looked inward, the more I tuned out. I stopped living life.
Each one of us has a self that is beautiful, flawed and unique. Each one of us are blessed with a complicated set of life experiences that no one else has. Our lives are an accumulation of experiences – both good, bad and the ugly. We are amazing – dynamic creatures, and we are continually a work in progress!
These experiences, however, are the very “things” that the searching to reveal our true authentic in a book or whatever, toss to the side as unimportant or distracting. My path to an authentic self, starts with acknowledging my woeful self-deception, that I am my own worst enemy and bringing my Son along to a few cyclocross races last season helped to shed light on what matters the most to me in life (more on this next week).
I hope each of you reading today have an amazing weekend, take care and be well!
That long-ago morning at Ruth’s farm
when I hid in the wisteria
and watched hummingbirds. I thought
the ruby or gold that gleamed on their throats
was the honeyed blood of flowers.
They would stick their piercing beaks
into a crown of petals until their heads
disappeared. The blossoms blurred into wings,
and the breathing I heard
was the thin, moving stems of wisteria.
That night, my face pressed against the window,
I looked out into the dark
where the moon drowned in the willows
by the pond. My heart, bloodstone,
turned. That long night, the farm,
those jeweled birds, all these gone years.
The horses standing quiet and huge
in the moon-crossing blackness.
Shine your soul with the same
egoless humility as the rainbow
and no matter where you go
in this world or the next,
love will find you, attend you, and bless you-
Here’s the real deal folks, when ever I hear that I should do “something”, my resistance ramps up. For example, as a child, when I was told I had to practice my hand writing (Catholic schooling – go figure), Guess what happened? I never wanted to, and I have the scars to prove it! It should come as no surprise, that when I was introduced to how wonderful yoga and mindfulness are … I threw up my defenses and prepared for a fight.
Although, “something” keeps pulling me back to center. I have studied enough texts, read many more books, attended enough workshops (not in Bulgaria though … ), and practiced enough to know that mindfulness and yoga help(s). However, yoga and mindfulness are not the magical cure-all to every challenge we face in life.
I fell prey at the Gravel Worlds one hot breezy day last August to one particular mindfulness practice notion – That by practicing mindfulness you will magically and instantly feel relaxed – Chill. That may happen, although as I learned, the hard way, most likely it will not. By simply smiling and being fully open to the present moment, is truly what matters. I don’t practice meditation to get better at meditation. I practice meditation to wake up to this beautiful world. Think about this for a moment please … Don’t practice to get better, simply be you.
Registering for a 150+ mile gravel ride and participating in a 150+ gravel ride are two different things. I lamented: I think, I’ll take a week off of meditating and practicing yoga leading up to the race, sort of like I used to say I’d taper my training and “carbo load” (<— whatever this is), the week prior to the event. What I found out was, the conditions of my environment did not have to be perfect, that it’s fine to practice informally, and for a blonde haired dude like myself – on a complete whim, even right now. I didn’t have to taper and load to have a good ride, and I certainly don’t have to wait until I have a spare 22 minutes during the day to practice mindfulness and yoga.
What if I’m not doing it right? I don’t feel a lot of warmth and kindness toward myself right now. I’m trying to fabricate and generate all this good will toward myself and, and … Damn it! I’m just not feeling it! Sounds familiar huh?
Artificial, fleeting feelings of self-love by trying to stay positive, race day pep talks … Dear readers, after all the abuse and pain I have subjected myself to, I have arrived to the conclusion that – It’s enough to simply have the intention to be kind to your self, simply being in the present moment, no matter what may happen next.
I don’t want to be alone, I want to be left alone-
Why do we feel pressured into always feeling like we are “doing” something, rather than simply “being“?!?
“Being” involves accepting this beautiful moment for what it truly is. Why? This moment, and the next one … Will be here no matter how much we try to control them. When we begin to chill – relax, and let go of the struggle to form our reality (and others) into our preconceived ideas of what it should be. We gently begin to let go of regrets about past events and fear of what may happen in the future. We learn to extend love, compassion, and kindness to ourselves, and everything around us. Rather than categorizing reality into Facebook Status Updates – “likes” and “follows.”
This moment, right now, sore back and cold coffee in hand – Is just a moment a time, we don’t have to be stuck here forever now do we?
Speaking of Being and Doing: Artsy Wheels <- amazing story!!!
”Being” lies at the very heart of my mindfulness practice. Oddly enough, “being” has required more practice and training in order to overcome my natural habits and biases … Be well this weekend, and please take care!
No matter how hard you try, there are times when things just don’t go as planned. And, it’s not because you are doing something wrong. It is because the thing you are after is not designed for you. It is not a part of your destiny-
The subtle art of paying attention to the details in the present moment – Mindfulness. We don’t often “think” we are engaged in the process of being mindful … Whether through practicing yoga early one morning, listing to the birds playing riding to work, taking in the beauty of a lone daisy swaying in a field … Without getting caught up in where these moment may be leading us.
The past week has been rough, I have to admit that it’s been hard to focus on the present moment; my reckless past and gentle future seem to be taking up all the free space in my brain these days (which isn’t much to begin with). My practice of Ahiṃsā, has fallen out of balance of late as well. Pushing a little too hard mountain bike racing, and not paying attention while commuting to work – Life pro tip: Railroad tracks are “slippery when wet” … Not honoring my true spirit and self has been anything but mindful of late.
This beautiful moment right now, reminds me that the present moment contains the possibility for all things, including freedom from suffering, picking splinters and little gravel bits from the battered left side of my body. Being mindful right now? Is not going to make my bruises and scars magically disappear, reverse the abuse I have put my body through this past week, put the Colorado Avalanche back in playoffs, or even re true my front wheel.
My Dear Reader(s) we are here, in this beautiful – crazy mess for other reasons as well … To marinate in this tender (literally) moment – fully present and mindful. Have a fantastic weekend, and please take care!