There are some questions that shouldn’t be asked until a person is mature enough to appreciate the answers-
We are made up of many “things,” so are our handy gadgets, fancy cars, spiffy shoes, colorful yoga mats and ridiculously expensive bikes – A bunch of cells and molecules blended craftily together. If there’s a major distinction to be pointed out between us and these cherished inanimate objects, it’s that we tactile beings are blessed with the ability to feel our emotions and to communicate them to others. Or do we?!?
While we have the ability to express our emotions to others, sometimes – most of the time, we don’t always do it when we desperately need to. It’s important to pause and ask why every once in a while. As you may have noticed in my recent posts, I have been asking myself “why” quite a bit of late. I do so because we live in social media/hyper connected world that tells us, don’t feel upset,” or don’t feel sad, don’t worry, and to “Be brave and stand tall” when adversity graces our lives. It’s also important to remember that the world we live in has a double-edge sword, waiting patiently to chop our heads off when our emotions sway the opposite direction, when we boast and brag about a new gadget, personal best and buying a new bike. The net result of all of “this,” is one sad but brutally true underlying message – Stop being and don’t feel anything.
My posts of late have been painfully tedious for one important reason: I’m starting to make a habit of honoring myself and you, each and every day. One last question before we part ways this morning: Before you click “publish, “like” or post anything online … Is there a moment where you think about the ramifications of your action(s), a moment where you stop being and fail to feel anything?!?
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life-
While cleaning the garage this past weekend, I came across a handful of Enduro – Mountain Bike race medals and tattered bibs from the nearly 4 years I spent living in the United Kingdom. I was preparing to pitch them in the bin outside when curiosity overcame me, I sat down on the warm west-facing front porch and started to look through them. On these worn and faded relics, I found a record of a life that seemed so impossibly exciting to me that I could hardly believe it had once been mine.
With my Son carelessly riding his bike with some neighborhood mates, I sat there, coffee in hand and reminisced about my life competing in England. When I meet fellow cyclist at a local coffee shop early on a Sunday morning, a recent swap meet or my favourite MTB trail head, they invariably inquire why I don’t compete at the same level now. The “thing” is, during nearly all of my years there, my heart longed to be somewhere else. It seems incredible when I think about it now, watching my Son creating long fluid skid marks in the road, when I’m holding objects such as this Thetford Forest MTB Racing Series podium medal, serves only to remind me of the seemingly rare and blessed glimpse of my days spent there.
I tossed the medals and bibs in the trash bin and placed my stained streaked coffee mug on top, sealing the contents inside. Hooked our now warm and cozy beagle up to his leash, grabbed a sweatshirt from inside the garage door, and proceed to tear up the now quiet neighborhood with my Son.
Only the hand that erases can write the true thing-
Do you want to “train” with a riding partner who is hesitant to think that things will work themselves out fine and dandy further down the road? Or do you want to practice next to a Pollyannaish yoga princess who never, ever – never ever thinks that anything could go wrong during yoga class – Until it does, chipped nail polish and all? Have you noticed of late this “spiritual presence” wafting in the air, pressure of having to be positive, jovial, and enthusiastic every stinking moment of the day?!? Even my Son asked me the other morning if I was feeling excited about rebuilding a Cannondale Headshok that exploded on me recently. “What was that little dude?” I said, “You must be kidding.” He paused, looked into my furrowed eyes and simply laughed. He knew he was trying to manipulate me into feeling “something” I was not at the moment, or he wanted to watch Star Wars Rebels?!?. Anyways, he could not help himself. He just had to give this leaky, broken down fork, a fork that was going to bother me for the rest of the mountain bike racing season, a positive spin.
What’s lost in our “spiritual presence” conquest, constantly needing to be coaxed and persuaded into balance - Is perspective. What is truly lost, is the idea to question the way we experience ourselves and others before we even acknowledge these negative thought(s) or event(s). True spiritual practice kindly offers us perspective. Once we tap into who we truly are, we look at the particular, nuanced daily experiences with wisdom and a gentle heart. We don’t have to take “life” so seriously anymore. Just looking at our inner thoughts and feelings from the perspective of – Being - causes us to find peace and smile. A deeply rooted spiritual practice allows us to observe, allowing the wonders of life to unfold before our very eyes – naturally.
Kids and broken bike parts are wonderful when it comes to offering a new perspective on this “thing” called life.
I paint the spirit and soul of what I see-
Do you recall drawing growing up? A pair of stick figures going for a pleasant bike ride, some puffy clouds and a brilliant sun overhead. Curved lines of a peaceful tree that punctuate the landscape, elevating from the ground, spreading into the unknown. Our childhood drawings were pure, innocent and beautiful. There is something truly magical about drawing and trees – They are, in fact, symbols of our soul.
Trees at times, can be dark and ominous. They cast a long suffocating shadow when we stray close enough. During the winter months, their barren, bleak blackness marks them against gray skies and freshly fallen snow. Tress are survivors of winter, and we would be wise to learn from them.
Trees are, after all, capable of heavenly feats, perhaps trees are more in tune with their true spirit than we are?
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like-
Have you ever noticed that when someone does “something” to upset you – walks across your yoga mat before class, takes your line during a trail run, leans hard on you during the last corner of a local Saturday night crit race? The tendency may be to belittle them in our minds? Our inner critic and dialog begins to spool up, lamenting the “things” we would like to say to them in the moment. Or, as we so often like to do – Lump all the rude and inconsiderate people in the world together into one group.
What am I trying to convey on this beautiful Friday morning: Other people’s actions can often set off a series of reaction(s) within our hearts. Where we ruminate to ourselves, nauseously, over and over again about being done-did-bad, and there is nothing worse than being in down dog – glancing at your hands, and seeing someones foot print staring back at you!
The amount of time we spend in our mind (instead of our hearts), talking and thinking about how insufferable other people are – Is precious time spent creating hate and discord. Eventually, theses feelings will manifest themselves in other ways …
Start each day anew my friends and be sure to have a wonderful weekend!
One love, one heart, one destiny-
True personal awareness arises from embracing our true spirit and taking ownership of the power within. That’s my personal fitness, 30 day yoga challenge, marathon training, “whatever” plan for you! Seriously, that’s all you need. Although, we happen to live in a time and place, when people do not know, let alone nurture, their spiritual life, let alone remain conscious of their soul or acknowledge its existence. Many kind and passionate folks who may not know their true-spirit, may be absorbed by “other” pursuits, their social life or basic everyday survival. These less nuanced areas of our lives, important as they are, simply fail to sustain our delicate hearts and nurture our souls.
I get a fair amount of “odd” looks of disbelief when asked – “What brought you into our new studio?” or “You had a great race today! What does your training plan consist of mate?”
My humble answer: Humility, Courage and Love.
A deep-rooted sense of humility to recognize that I am merely a visitor in this inspiring life, blessed with the opportunity to enjoy the gifts that surround me. Love has gifted me a profound perspective, that fills me with joy and peace – even during the most trying moments of life. Courage provides me the strength and confidence to say “no.” Courage allows me to define myself in the face of the moment or setting, not being tempted to compromise my true inner spirit.
Our true inner spirit enables us to surrender to inner peace, pure love, and real meaning in this thing called life.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free-
The way in which our environment conditions us is more prevalent, and dare I say – perverse, than we appreciate. This topic is wide-ranging and fairly dense with meaning and purpose. In order to present it to you openly, and with an honest heart? We need to look into the dark areas of our souls.
Seldom do we realize that the appearance of unnatural looking/tasting and pretty benign “things,” like the latest carbon fiber/electronic shifting bikes, chestnut praline latte’s, yoga mats and attire, tasteless candy, processed food, and trendy running attire owe their tantalizing properties to the way in which we are conditioned. The way in which the environment we live in shapes our behavior – no drool or droll needed, well maybe just a little?!? I caught myself recently lusting over a new Stevens Super Prestige Disc CX bike for no apparent reason other than it looks like good sex. Why is this so? I have some nice bikes already … The same holds true for other savory objects, such a new the colorful yoga mat for the aspiring yogi, an empty Starbucks cup for the coffee connoisseur , and new shoes for the runners lurking out there.
What scares my personally and as a society, is that, as sophisticated as this conditioning may seem, much of it is mediated unconsciously to us, beneath the nadir of our conscious and awareness.
Why do I desire a new pair of Brooks running shoes, when I can’t even run? This is really scary!