Trying to tie my shoes, clumsy, not able to work out
the logic of it, fumbling, as my father stands there,
his anger growing over a son who can’t even do
this simplest thing for the first time, can’t even manage
the knot to keep his shoes on—You think someone’s
going to tie your shoes for you the rest of your life?—
No, I answer, forty-five years later, tying my shoe,
hands trembling with this memory. My father
and all those years of childhood not being able to work out
how he loved me, a knot so tight it has taken all my life
God wanted to make heaven and the earth is that heaven. Nowhere in the universe there is so much love, life, beauty and peace. Enjoy your stay with the fellow beings-
Its Earth Day/Week\Weekend once again, which can only mean that it is time for a torrent of pecksniffian-esque blog posts and woefully self-serving “talk” beating us upside the head with the benefits of green living. Plant a tree, maybe two? Recycle this and that, munch on some kale and drive a Prius. Lament about our filthy ways, buy an Earth-friendly yoga mat and a 100% recycled content bicycle saddle. Peruse green-themed cycling and yoga magazines, grow your own “herbs“, and swap the old light-bulbs, (that work perfectly fine) for the energy-saving ones because the government said we had to.
With the infinite amount of environmental issues confronting our beautiful planet: Global warming, the increasingly trash filled oceans, deforestation of the Amazon Forest, Monsanto and our insistent overuse of pesticides and herbicides? There are far-reaching global issues for us all to feel terrible about.
I spend a lot, and I mean a lot of time riding dusty gravel roads in and alongside the farmlands here in Nebraska. Nothing troubles me more than seeing the signage of a freshly sprayed field with pesticide and herbicide. Pausing for a moment, beer cans and trash bother me more, but this is a rant for another day. From my humble perspective, these “global” issues seem far too vast even to wrap my simple mind around, much less address and take action on. Its only when we, you and I, pause for a fleeting moment during Earth Day/Week\Weekend long enough to acknowledge the scale of these problems and how long it might take, to take meaningful action. I get discouraged, if not pissed off lamenting these global “problems,” and nothing pisses me off more than seeing Natural Ice beer cans strewn along a 100 mile stretch of gravel road(s).
Allow me if you may, to turn my frustration over to the beautiful and inspiring poet William Blake. Blake once remarked: Don’t think big, think small in his Auguries of Innocence. William Blake goes on to eloquently write that the ability “To see the world in a grain of sand, And Heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.”
It only takes a moment, a deep breath, a gentle heartbeat during one of these rides for me to shift my attention to a simple grain of gravel on the road or a single Black Eyed Susan sprouting in a nearby field. If I look at a kernel of corn in the palm of my hand, snap another bite of a freshly picked wild apple. If I really pay attention to the parts of the world that are right in front of me, right now? I eventually witness everything I was meant to see.
Do something small with me this Earth Day/Week\Weekend. Over time? These small actions grow into something amazing! If you are curious about my “small” project? Please feel free to contact me/leave a comment and I will be more than happy to share. Take care and have a wonderful weekend!
Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything-
Our appetite for wealth, the latest and greatest, and material gain isn’t driven by any sort of “hardship“, but by our own, deep-rooted inner discontent.
I was convinced that I could buy my way to happiness after all the years of abuse I put myself, and my family through. I believed that my discontent was wrought from hardship, and that the only way to permanent fulfillment and well-being was the acquisition of things. Sadly, our society still measures “success” in terms of the quality and price of the “things” we can buy, the size of our house and salaries – the size of our manhood and Ego when we drop trough and boast about a new bike or whatever.
As much as I take comfort in casting blame on society for my faults, my Ego is what defines my role(s) in the material world; I am a father, I am an engineer, I am an avid cyclist. I am liar, I am a fakata of things in this thing called life. When asked to introduce or say a little bit about myself – I instantly define myself in the conscious realm, and my ego is hell-bent on pulling me away from my True Self.
The more I identify myself with the “I am … “, the less I am able to identify with the, me.
When my nineteen-year-old son turns on the kitchen tap
and leans down over the sink and tilts his head sideways
to drink directly from the stream of cool water,
I think of my older brother, now almost ten years gone,
who used to do the same thing at that age;
and when he lifts his head back up and, satisfied,
wipes the water dripping from his cheek
with his shirtsleeve, it’s the same casual gesture
my brother used to make; and I don’t tell him
to use a glass, the way our father told my brother,
because I like remembering my brother
when he was young, decades before anything
went wrong, and I like the way my son
becomes a little more my brother for a moment
through this small habit born of a simple need,
which, natural and unprompted, ties them together
across the bounds of death, and across time …
as if the clear stream flowed between two worlds
and entered this one through the kitchen faucet,
my son and brother drinking the same water.
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.
The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling-
Meditation is like that. Full of seemingly impossible contradictions! Meditation is tedious and difficult to write about given our connected-analytic nature. Meditation is much easier to explain to someone who habitually thinks poetically. Like the inspired yoga instructor who creates a magical flowing class off the top of their head, or the mountain biker who flows with little effort on tight single-track. Meditation, my kind of Meditation that is … Centers on expanding our logical thinking into poetic and logical thinking. Still with me?!?
How then do we tap into being both a logical thinker, in addition, to being a poetic thinker? This is the essential transformation that a deeply rooted Meditation-Mindfulness practice teaches us.
Allow me to change logical thinker and poetic thinker into – Mind and Heart.
A few years ago, I decided to attend a local workshop and “learn” to meditate. The plan was to attend this workshop, receive a mantra or whatever and instantly become healthier, increase my focus, and calm my crazy mind in like, 13 1/2 minutes of practice twice a day. That was the promise printed on the meditation workshop website. I was “that dude” at the time before tearing my knees apart. An over-achieving runner, and I prided myself on the hard, mindless work I put in daily. Maybe this mindfulness meditation stuff would help me compete at a higher level?!?
On the day of the workshop, as I signed in and unfolded my freezing yoga mat in the picturesque studio, something began to stir within my mind and heart. I had a warm sense of excitement and anticipation that quite surprised me. I literally had no idea what to expect from this class, however in some “weird” way, I resonated with the people who were presenting the workshop and my fellow class mates – Each one of them had a sense of calm that was palpable and real. I listened attentively to their words and the stories they shared, but it was something far beyond the resonating words that was connecting with me, stirring my soul. It’s as though I had passed through a doorway into a serene, peaceful place where my heart expanded and connected to world spinning around me.
This was the first time that I had an awareness of my mind, separate from the peaceful part of my heart.
There are two ways of experiencing Mindfulness … Mind and Heart.
To know that the atoms
of my body
to think of them rising
through the roots of a great oak
to live in
leaves, branches, twigs
perhaps to feed the
the blue iris
or rest on water
freeze and thaw
with the seasons
some atoms might become a
bit of fluff on the wing
of a chickadee
to feel the breeze
know the support of air
and some might drift
up and up into space
star dust returning from
whence it came
it is enough to know that
as long as there is a universe
I am a part of it.
– Anne Alexander Bingham