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.
A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for-
At the risk of mentioning something new, doing “things” a little bit different for a change … I have sensed for some time that many of my kind and passionate readers (just like you) need a pinch of courage to get them to finally go after their hearts desire, whatever that may be. Maybe its shedding the thought of looking silly in yoga class, or out-of-place at the gym. I personally know it takes a lot of courage to say no to running and choosing a nice relaxing walk instead. I could go on and on with examples, instead here is a tidy little list of ideas to be courageous today.
Make a mistake during yoga class today, like on purpose.
Follow your hearts desire while ordering a coffee.
Say, “I don’t know” instead of “I’ll look it up … “
Genuinely ask for help from someone, instead of asking Siri.
Share your vulnerable moments, openly.
Trust your inner intuition, the crazier the better.
Let the past be just that – The past.
Say “yes” to the things you want and “no” to those things you don’t.
Ask someone how they are this morning, and really listen to their answer, instead of formulating your own.
Let go of your need to control everything, all of the time.
Let go of being busy this afternoon.
Say kind things to yourself, whilst staring into a mirror.
Be open to changing course, even at the very last moment.
How have I been courageous this beautiful morning?
I set some new personal boundaries, listened to and trusted my instincts, decided to say no to riding to work – instead choosing to practice yoga instead. I penned a self-serving advice post, which many of you know I loathe … Be well today and please take care!
One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful-
I had lived life as if, by necessity, my weekends had to be filled with competitions and competitive activities of one flavor or another, which had to be strenuous and intense so that I could feel productive, like I had actually accomplished more than picking up some schwag at the sign in table. My weekends, and the time spent during the week “training” ruled me! All of this magically disappeared over the prior four years due to injury and focusing more on my true self. You know what the most exciting part of not training and competing is? I couldn’t believe how much mental space was suddenly available to me. It was truly was invigorating, even more so than a grueling predawn training ride!
It was less than two years, before I fully understood that the absence of competing, was not enough to make me feel whole.
What does my life mean now?
In the last couple of years, I made a distinction between competition and play. The difference now is that I have control over competing. I can make calculated and measured choices based on what I believe is meaningful; what I believe is the best use of my talents; and what gives me a sense of value or purpose. Surrendering to this mindset has allowed me to shape the meaning of my life in cool and exciting ways.
Spending more time playing rather than competing, is simply wonderful beyond words. My thoughts are filled with happiness instead of split times and personal records, which is a gift. I’m left to explore what it means to be human or whatever … I wrestle with questions that competing left little time to be asked. Play is a source of beauty—a simple walk, an illuminating trail up ahead, a tight switchback to a challenging climb, gasping for another breath. Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? Will the Avalanche be good this year? Are 26in MTB’s still “cool”?
The many important questions to be asked …
You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know-
I went through a rough patch this past Sunday competing in the Cornhusker State Games Gravel Grinder event. Something really challenging happened that pushed a whole bunch of my buttons at once, pushing my mind and emotions into overdrive, turning what should have been a nine-hour 111.9 mile ride into nearly a twelve-hour 140+ mile ride (single speed).
I’m certain that many of you are familiar with the term “crisis reveals character” or something similar?
Whenever I get really upset about something, my emotions start to simmer and I secretly worry about my unsavory character boiling over, my dark side so to speak. Is this upset, bitchy person really me? Most of the time I like to think “things” easily slide off my back. That I’m a composed, chill sort of dude. Although when I become upset by a really difficult, or unfair situation, I sometimes contemplate or say things that I would never normally allow myself to think or say out loud.
Thankfully I don’t get so far gone that I rant in inappropriate situations, or to the wrong innocent person. However, I still say and think unsavory things that I wish I hadn’t thought or said.
“Forget it – Dude.” This crisis reveals character concept is complete and utter rubbish! When I am really upset? I’m not at my best, and I spent 30 miles (ish), cycling in horrid conditions this past Sunday, figuring this out.
Somewhere between Burr, NE and 134th and Pella Rd (Google this if you are bored) I gave the gift Grace to myself. From the start to mile 80, I was mess, a train wreck oozing with bitching and moaning. Its amazing what a little grace, cold water, kind and compassionate company can do to restore your true self.
If you claim to be a real friend then be real in your soul. If you claim to be fake then be an enemy instead-
I was in my early 30’s when we first met. This particular marathon was in a beautiful and exotic part of war-torn Baghdad, Iraq. I did not like it from the start and it only got worse from there …
I nuzzled my way onto the starting line cocky, arrogant, and self-centered. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to run through the pack, outlasting the early sprinters and generally weaving through the pedestrians. Much to my dismay, I faded back 10 miles into this scorching hot race. This was just another marathon, but I was the same person.
And there I was at the next big race in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The same person I was a year earlier followed me to this race as well …
It finally dawned on me, blonde hair and all, that it was I, who needed to change or else I would be my own worst enemy for the rest of my life. As I began to walk the path of meaningful change in my life, I came to realize my poor marathon performances were a metaphor for the way my life works. I can cast blame and run away from poor performances, although they will keep returning until I finally face them, and owe up to them.
Over the past three years of blogging. I tried at times, and failed more often than I like, to share with you, thinking out-loud, why these particular traits of me bother me so much.
Once I set out to change myself all those years ago, I started to notice that the “old” me doesn’t come around as much anymore. When these feelings do arise out of nowhere? I tap deeper into my inner compassion and gratitude … Noticing that in some ways, I have been trying to help myself all along, I was just to cocky, arrogant, and self-centered to notice.