Posted: March 9, 2015 Filed under: Kindness, Meditation, Yoga | Tags: Body Image, Buddhism, Competing, family, fitness, Identity, kindness, Labels, meditation, nature, Omaha, Racing, United, writing, yoga, Zen
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.
Sitting here on the porch, I lowered my head knowing that I was still living in a place, a place I had vowed to return to only as a visitor. Feeling the cool March sunset fading away, I began to ponder whether my heart was simply hard-wired for discontent no matter where I found myself – Sipping coffee and preying to nameless yearnings that could never be fulfilled in Omaha, Nebraska. Could I gradually begin to honor my present “circumstances” instead of succumbing to fleeting, yet persistent longings for some imaginary, unrealistic and unattainable future? Could I, a lifelong have to “win at all costs” competitor, trade my anywhere-but-here perspective for enthusiasm about the here and now?
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.
Posted: December 9, 2014 Filed under: Kindness, Meditation, Yoga | Tags: Bliss, blogging, Body Image, Buddhism, compassion, cycling, exercise, family, fitness, freshly pressed, gratitude, happiness, health, holidays, hope, kindness, life, love, lululemon, marathon, meditation, Mindfulness, Omaha, passion, pilates, Self-love, Solitude, winter, yoga, Zen
Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.-
When I became chronically “injured” over five years ago, I was forced to trade the exciting life of an aspiring athlete for the isolation of my own mind … The loneliness was dense, palpable at times, it was hard to distinguish between the injury I was struggling through at the time and the loneliness that gripped me all of the time.
Back in the wonder years, I found being alone anything but glorious, and far from being soothing. It wasn’t even remotely sweet and delicious. Although, a close friends advice that yoga was what I needed – planted a delicate seed in my mind, and so I began to explore the meaning of “being alone.” I realized early on that being alone on my mat, in and of itself, is neither positive nor negative. This profound feedback described a good portion of my life trying to be someone who I was not – The painful loneliness of striving to be better than the person next me on the starting line or the glorious solitude of going home broken and empty-handed.
The spiritual manifestation of yoga (not to be confused with the physical) and a deeply rooted mindfulness “practice” showed me that if I could let go of the desire to win at all costs, I might be able to open my heart and soul to the possibility that life could be sweet, maybe even delicious?!? I gradually warmed to the quiet calm of my mind, mindfully following my breath entering and leaving my body. My powers of observation, began to bloom – noting the subtle details swirling around me, details that in the past – Escaped me, like the play of sunlight reflecting from the metallic rims on the road as I cycle along or leaves dancing carelessly in the air on a windy fall morning.
Once I opened my heart and soul to being alone, my loneliness did become sweet and delicious. And some days, when all is calm, it’s even beautiful. Cultivating self-compassion more so than anything else, softens my loneliness and pain, which in turn makes me smile.
Rachelle, Jeff, Cheryl – Sandra, Jim, Katelon, Alyssa, Susie – Michelle, Sara and Maia. To all of you who have “followed” my ramblings from the beginning – My sincerest gratitude for your kindness and support. There truly is no way I can accurately put into words how much you have helped me – Thank you.
Posted: December 3, 2014 Filed under: Kindness, Meditation, Yoga | Tags: Bad Religion, Bliss, Buddhism, compassion, cycling, family, fitness, free range, gluten free, gratitude, happiness, health, hipster, kindness, life, lululemon, marathon, meditation, Mindfulness, motivation, natural, nature, nebraska, Omaha, passion, pilates, running, time, trail running, winter, writing, yoga, Zen
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana-
Often, in our self-absorbed naiveté, we believe time to be infinite in nature. Oddly enough, time as we are experiencing it, right now in this wonderful moment … Is the one “thing” in our lives of which we can be absolutely certain of (I am deeply grateful for you being here with me right now). Why then, do we insist on spending our precious time consumed with how many followers we have on WordPress, or perusing the latest “Likes” on FaceTube, rather than being engaged in our lives?
The past few weeks I have been paying more attention to the virtual world, instead of the real world. Rather than being fully engaged in the fleeting moments before me, moments that, for their own nuanced reasons, are even more precious than most. A none too subtle slap upside my head brought me back in time, and this abrupt moment prompted me to begin thinking about just how much distraction we volunteer for on a daily basis, and how much it impacts what we have come to consider “meaningful” in our lives.
The end result of my introspection is a simple question I often fail to ask when I’m distracted – “What’s important in this beautiful moment?!?”
The scrambled priority of our lives keeps us from savoring each sip of our morning coffee, or enjoying conversation with a dear friend, or going for an early ride/walk/hike and enjoying the sun rising gently on the horizon.
… The view that we no longer notice.
Posted: December 1, 2014 Filed under: Kindness, Meditation, Yoga | Tags: blogging, compassion, cycling, exercise, family, fitness, free range, freshly pressed, gluten free, gratitude, happiness, health, hipster, kindness, life, love, lululemon, marathon, meditation, Mindfulness, motivation, musings, Namaste, natural, nature, Omaha, passion, perspective, pilates, running, trail running, writing, yoga
At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets-
Is it safe to say, given the byzantine nature of modern life, that most of us would admit that we could put gratitude into practice more in our own lives?
I still find myself handing out kindness and gratitude without acknowledging the what and why behind my actions. I fail to ignite a feeling of gratefulness within my heart that will ultimately burn into my memory … That this is no ordinary place or period in time – but rather a valuable one. Enriching our acts of “Thanks” – “Gracias” – “Namaste” with feelings of gratitude only serves to deepen our connections moving forward. I have been stuck in “Automatic Politeness” mode for the better part of the year, and I feel its time to put more meaning behind my actions, and deepen my presence in the world.
*BREAKING NEWS* – The Holidays are about to speed our lives up by adding “things” to our already overflowing to-do lists, this is precisely the time to slow down and savor the important moments in life, instead of expanding my holiday shopping list while saying “Namaste” at the end of yoga class.
Posted: November 18, 2014 Filed under: Kindness, Meditation, Yoga | Tags: Bliss, blogging, Body Image, coffee, compassion, Conversation, cycling, exercise, family, fitness, free range, freshly pressed, gluten free, happiness, healing, health, hipster, hope, kindness, life, love, lululemon, marathon, meditation, Mornings, motivation, musings, natural, nature, nebraska, Omaha, paleo, passion, pilates, running, whole foods, yoga
The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance-
I was speaking with a close friend this past weekend and he asked me – quite bluntly like most dudes do, what change(s) since I ended the “reign of terror” on my body had the greatest impact on my being able to “compete” again? <– whatever this means. He waited patiently for me to share my “bad-ass” – “hardcore” training plan with him as we sipped our coffee during a frigid mid ride stop … The answer he eagerly awaited never arrived. As many of my longtime readers may know, the change(s) I made in my life were due in part to neglecting and abusing my body for many years. Moving on, after a long awkward pause I finally answered his question: I get up at 4 a.m. – Every single day. His response, in typical dude fashion was: “Why?!?” – Why wake at four in the morning?
I simply, love waking up early. I get to be myself before the little one wakes up for the day. It’s peaceful early in the morning, and the world awakening around me feels calm and serene. The subtle gift of time speaks to my soul. You have to meet yourself there, early one morning to experience it – Dude.
We fail to realize the rejuvenate energy given to us in the morning as we rush straight through it – Rushing to the gym to count reps mindlessly, updating our social status to let the world know we attended a 5:30 am yoga class. Such is the ebb and flow of life …
Posted: October 3, 2014 Filed under: Meditation, Yoga | Tags: blogging, compassion, Competing, culture, cycling, Cyclocross, exercise, family, fitness, free range, freshly pressed, gluten free, gratitude, happiness, health, hipster, kindness, life, love, lululemon, marathon, meditation, Mindfulness, motivation, musings, natural, nature, Omaha, paleo, passion, perspective, running, whole foods, Winning, yoga, Zen
Fame you’ll be famous, as famous as can be, with everyone watching you win on TV, Except when they don’t because sometimes they won’t-
Watching a cycling (running – whatever) event affords both participants and spectators alike, an intense experience of competition, and if we pay close enough attention – An unfettered obsession with winning. Many hard-working, competing riders define success as a podium finish and anything else as an utter failure.
How do we address competition and competing in a different way?
Opening up and pouring my spirit before you … Winning is an outcome. When I become obsessed with the outcome, rather than the moment – I lose sight of the journey, I lose sight of my true spirit and how I arrived in this magical moment. I lose appreciation of simply being and my sole focus on is on me … And sometimes, I don’t enjoy this side of “me“.
Our culture is obsessed with winning, often at any cost and by any means. Once we have tasted winning, we need more of it – Winning is an addiction. The alluring pleasure, the rush of winning is fleeting, unlike the deep-rooted satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best. Winning makes people focus outside themselves for validation of their self-worth.
My past obsession with competition and winning, restrained me from engaging in a personal journey of self-knowledge and finding my place in life. This journey is entirely an internal and personal process, not one that requires a podium finish or constant competition with others as a measure of my true self-worth.
Posted: October 1, 2014 Filed under: Meditation, Yoga | Tags: blogging, Buddhism, compassion, cycling, Cyclocross, exercise, Faiure, family, fitness, freshly pressed, gratitude, happiness, harmony, health, hipster, kindness, life, love, lululemon, marathon, meditation, motivation, musings, nature, Omaha, passion, pilates, running, trail running, Truth, writing, yoga, Zen
Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well-
Before a cyclocross race recently, I was listening to a close friend describing his favorite hobby – He likes to make wooden toys and other wooden “things“. Although, he starts many projects and simply lets them stack up, unfinished. “I don’t have a real passion for my hobby at times,” he said to me … His last words before we started the race planted a question in my head that I have often thought about: How do we cultivate and nurture our passion(s) in life?
You know it when you feel it don’t you? You get that butterfly sense deep inside that “something” significant is close and you gently move towards it. You make room for “it” and you fully awaken to its presence in your life. Maybe these new-found feelings affirm what we desired, or maybe they will completely change them? For some folks, a single passion burns for their entire lives. It’s their true essence, their true authentic self and they would never give it up …
I know that whatever compels me toward these deeper experience(s) will likely wear thin at certain times during my life. But you know what? It’s totally fine with me.