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.
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!
Decanting from bucket to pot,
jug to jar, air bubbles suspend
themselves in galaxies:
sucrose solar systems, each
glinting orb a perfect
pearl reflecting light.
The little giants are first
to rise, stately as moons,
toward the surface. They
catch and form a necklace
at the throat, or continue
upward, quickening in that
last few millimeters to bob
in silence on the top, collect
in planetary clusters,
molecular models. Super-
novas erupting in their own
sweet time. Later, a day
or more, even the tiniest
have risen. Some will remain
like distant nebulas, faint
milty pockets of deep space
abuzz with stars humming
with some new kind of being.
- Nick Norwood
Even chance meetings are the result of karma… Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence-
Its a beautiful morning and the perfect time to discuss karma.
I often hear from different folks (I personally contemplate these thoughts as well) who want to know why they are struggling, when others are not (running specific this morning). The vast majority of them think their training/performance is some sort of “karmic retribution” for a fleeting, bad action in the past – Heaven forbid we eat three pieces of wedding cake the day before a race! Fast forward to limping across the finish line, emotional and sick because “bad karma” doomed them to suffer from the very start.
This next bit is a memo to myself: The simple truth about Karma? Karma is about the nature of our intentions, our intentions in this very moment.
When we respond to our intention and action(s), with kindness, compassion, and generosity? We are planting the seeds of change, slowly blossoming into someone who is kind, compassionate, and generous. We are defining our character, which in turn has a pretty cool effect on the world around us.
The teachings of Buddha in regards to karma can be life changing. Each one of us posses the ability to change ourselves no matter how ingrained our habits may be, even blaming a poor performance on wedding cake. As some wise dude once said: “Intending, one does karma.”
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!
I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction-
Social Experiment: Arrive 5-10 minutes early to your next yoga class and simply look around the parking lot, take a moment to observe how many people are on their phones – doing whatever – instead of walking inside, setting up their mats and chatting with their fellow students. People can’t even use the restroom anymore without feeling the need to stay connected. A symphony of sounds, beeps and buzzes coming from the people around you … Who does #2 really work for?!?
Last summer I asked myself, aloud, midway through a series of asanas at home one afternoon: Do you need to have your gadget on to feel connected? Can you truly practice mindfulness if you are constantly accessible to the rest of the world?
My intention during this time was to make “exercise” <– whatever that may be … A time to connect with myself, leaving the distractions and stress of my day behind. This so-called “tech curfew” quite literally took my breath away during a long, flowing summer ride and while practicing at home. Less time looking up poses to contort and twist myself into and more time being, me. Riding down hills now, head up, smiling, feeling the cool breeze racing past. I don’t need a computer cluttering up the bars to let me know how fast I am going.
At first you may be uncomfortable with how naked you feel as you go about your everyday activities. Although, after the initial shock withers away, you will be pleasantly surprised as to how liberating it is … Not being connected.
Make today a day worth remembering. Without having to chronicle your adventures on Vine …
What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness-
Its early on a Sunday morning in Eastern Nebraska. The temperature is below zero and bone-chilling. The moon, still glowing, casts a pale and cold shadow upon the newly fallen snow. The last light of distant stars sparkle brilliantly, dancing as the world is still, and glistening.
I bring my cold hands to heart – centre, my palms pressing actively together to bring warmth and presence, the tips of my numb thumbs pressing into my layered sternum. On a deep inhale, I raise my arms in a gentle sweeping motion, turning my palms outward toward the sparkling sky … Balancing myself before starting off on an aimless ride to nowhere in particular.
Cycling (any outdoor activity) during the long Winter months is purely about finding balance, flow and our true selves. Cycling early on a cold winter morning, encourages me to look mindfully into the furtive places of my mind, from which I can view information from my past, this cold moment – slowly and gracefully.
Be well this weekend and please take care!