Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation-
By obeying our iGadget, our self-imposed deadlines, our rigorous training plans, our insatiable lust for material — and carrying the burden of the “stress” involved with each action — What gets missed during our daily lives?
What’s at risk, for me, when performance is my “goal” and “wasted” time my mortal enemy? The very real and tangible consequence of inattention. My single-mindedness points me on target, completing “whatever” task, although my friends, single-mindedness it’s a narrow path to walk on. Single-mindedness speeds by our own insights and imaginings, the many creative ideas we have that never see the warm light of day. Single-mindedness refuses detours or slowdowns to hear someone’s distress or requests – mainly our own bodies screaming for attention.
Being beholden to everything but our true selves, puts our own well-being at risk, and at what cost do we obey the tyranny of time? Performance and wasted time nearly killed me last year during the Gravel Worlds. My inattention to the beautiful and inspiring scenery led me down a dark path, not this year!
I’m grateful for what you’ve done—and I’m ungrateful for what you haven’t done. A cup half full of coffee is also half full of sleep-
A little over 8 years ago, I traveled and worked in the Middle East and Southwest Asia for two years. I was miserable, unhappy, and I spent a vast amount of time alone, worrying about what the future had in store for me.
Travelling around Afghanistan and parts of western Pakistan had a profound effect on me. I befriended a local man on the Pakistan border named Ajiphan, we were close in age and shared many similarities in life. I feel in love with his country. However, Ajiphans life was a daily struggle of survival for him and his family – Will there be enough food and water to make it through the day, shelter at night and fuel to warm themselves during the harsh winter months.
When I returned home to Nebraska, I felt as though I had a completely new perspective on life. I felt incredibly lucky to live in a part of the world where life is easy, where even the poorest folks seemed wealthy when viewed from my perspective. After witnessing many beautiful people struggling with the basics of life, I felt incredibly lucky to be healthy, a roof over our heads and not having to worry about what will be for dinner. Looking back now I remember saying to myself when I arrived home, “‘My days of complaining about trivial things in life are over … ”
Of course it didn’t last. My appreciative frame of mind lingered for a few weeks, then slowly I began to take my situation for granted, and returned to the same state of unhappiness and dissatisfaction as before. Instead of “waking up” to the reality of the our phenomenal world and of life’s situations? Bitching and moaning (for me) was easier.
My Son and I watched Big Trouble in Little China over the weekend, a favorite movie of mine and Ajiphans. We watched this movie no fewer than a dozen times on my computer, which was powered by a generator. Sitting in a warm shelter, snacking on naan-e afghani, while enjoying a cup of black tea. I genuinely miss his companionship, and everything he taught me about this “thing” called life. Be well my friend, I miss you.
Day after day, day after still day,
The summer has begun to pass away.
Starlings at twilight fly clustered and call,
And branches bend, and leaves begin to fall.
The meadow and the orchard grass are mown,
And the meadowlark’s house is cut down.
The little lantern bugs have doused their fires,
The swallows sit in rows along the wires.
Berry and grape appear among the flowers
Tangled against the wall in secret bowers,
And cricket now begins to hum the hours
Remaining to the passion’s slow procession
Down from the high place and the golden session
Wherein the sun was sacrificed for us.
A failing light, no longer numinous,
Now frames the long and solemn afternoons
Where butterflies regret their closed cocoons.
We reach the place unripe, and made to know
As with a sudden knowledge that we go
Away forever, all hope of return
Cut off, hearing the crackle of the burn-
ing blade behind us, and the terminal sound
Of apples dropping on the dry ground.
You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful-
All of us, you read that correctly … All of us need to do better. To provide a little context, delicately pulling back the velvety curtain to reveal the inner workings of today’s post: I recently shared two conversations, with two dramatically different people. One person went to Bulgaria to practice yoga (for whatever reason) and the other just finished cycling across Iowa, yet they both shared the same message when they arrived safely back home:
The overpowering pressure to fit in with the “crowd“, undermined their true spirit and what they had hope to achieve – Loosely paraphrased.
Think for a moment how many people you have heard announce, particularity around New Year, “Yoga class is what I need, if I want to fit into a size 6 for our upcoming summer holiday!” or “If I had a lighter bike like some of the other riders, I believe I would had a better time out on the road.”
When I introduce the practice self-acceptance. Why is it seen as an insult to the other person? Why is celebrating life by banishing our self-loathing frowned upon?
This morning I passionately ask to stop trying to fit ourselves into the world, and in-turn, making sure the world begins to fit us.
Very occasionally, if you pay really close attention, life doesn’t suck-
Can’t separate yourself from preparing for the big event (Gravel Worlds) two weekends from now? Constantly checking social media for updates, even in the middle of the night? Are you suffering from a strange compulsion to browse Strava profiles, fitness blogs for hours at a time comparing your training program to the other competitors? Feel awkward if you’re not blogging training updates, texting pics of your dirty yoga mat and bike, live tweeting work out session(s), and creating a Vine as you down a recovery shake?
Like helpless passengers aboard a ship violently broken from its moorings … We are adrift in a storm of angst, riding the waves of useless competing/bullshit/whatever, and I do the very same. More so than I like.
Finding a balance between useful “information” input and informational quiet that I can live with, is hard. Which is why we need a lifeboat to gently guide us back to safe harbor.
When I remember to climb back into my lifeboat, a lifeboat where I can do anything. A sturdy vessel where I can day-dream, and talk to myself about gear ratios (aloud) while pedaling down a back country road. My lifeboat is easy to climb aboard, and it shelters me from the oncoming storm … When I stop to remember that is.
in my driveway
(for the whole eleven years
I have owned
but have not owned
I have never
Always on a plane.
Always in the arms
of man, not God,
always too busy,
that all along
are red, red raspberries
for me to taste.
Shiny and red,
unlike the berries
from the market.
I share them
with the birds!
On one perches
a tiny green insect.
I blow her off.
I burst the raspberry
upon my tongue.
In my solitude
with the world.
The world was always
if you are so beautiful
upon my ready tongue,
lie in store
Take someone who doesn’t keep score,
who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,
who has not the slightest interest even
in his own personality: he’s free-
Alongside all the noise in the social media world in regards to how we are wasting our daily lives away in front of a gadget of some sort or another – All of us seem to have a tighter daily schedule with all the training, club/social events, competitions … And let us not forget about the “The weekend is here its time to race” mentality. Dinner has become a leftover lovers, microwave users dream! Stuffing our faces, racing to catch the 5pm pilates class at the gym, only to be stuck in traffic, feasting on leftover mandarin orange chicken from Trader Joe’s. Down time is the eight minutes we get to wait because the instructor is late from running her own little “turds” to soccer practice.
And here I am lamenting, writing yet another post about our hyper-media-constantly-on the run world we live in. Dear Reader – Enough is Enough. All our efforts to keep “fit”, “active” and “involved”, are actually keeping us dazed, tired and confused (awesome movie title huh?!?).
There are a few times during the year that I like to share a link(s) to a worthy cause – Consider this one of those times. There’s no need to twist your arm or whatever, however, these kids are doing such amazing and inspiring work and having fun doing it! A classic win-win situation!