Posted: February 17, 2015 Filed under: Kindness, Meditation, Yoga | Tags: blogging, Buddhism, compassion, cycling, family, freshly pressed, happiness, health, hipster, kindness, life, love, lululemon, meditation, nature, passion, running, writing, yoga, Zen
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.
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 5, 2014 Filed under: Kindness, Meditation, Yoga | Tags: Advent, blogging, Body Image, compassion, cycling, exercise, family, free range, freshly pressed, gluten free, happiness, health, hipster, holidays, hope, kettlebell, kindness, life, love, lululemon, marathon, meditation, Mindfulness, motivation, musings, natural, nature, Omaha, passion, perspective, pilates, running, trail running, Truth, weekend, writing, yoga
The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter-
Yup, Gotcha! Seriously I already know patience is totally valuable for dealing with the long lines this time of the year, soccer moms searching for the one true parking spot at the mall, or interacting with “disagreeable” folks ordering a coffee. Seriously! I’m keenly aware that true inner change takes time, and why am I becoming frustrated talking about impatience?!? Oh – Maybe it has something to do with not seeing the instant results we desire in life?
My lack of patience stems from a false sense of belief about myself. I think I should be able to handle everything in the world, myself. I think there is only one way to achieve my goals and when “things” don’t quite work out? … I become increasing impatient.
I try so hard not to get discouraged when my progress is slow.
True change takes times.
I am gently walking my path to recovery from bad habits that have defined me for a better part of my life. I’ve come so far, there’s no way I can quit right now!
If we foster and nurture patience, if we can wait for ourselves to arrive in this inspiring moment, anything can happen.
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 26, 2014 Filed under: Kindness, Meditation, Yoga | Tags: blogging, compassion, cycling, Disappointment, family, freshly pressed, friends, gluten free, happiness, health, hipster, holidays, kindness, life, love, motivation, musings, natural, nature, Omaha, passion, perspective, pilates, pride, running, Thanksgiving, yoga, Zen
With no expectations anything can become-
Life, struggle, disappointment. Hardship, pain and constant misfortune – What would our lives stories be without sharing the unpolished side of life?
Why do I want to discuss these less then “glamorous” topics a day before Thanksgiving? There are a multitude of reasons as to why, just a few off the top of my head: Remember that New Years resolution that went haywire by the 5th of January? Maybe it was a string of poor race performances over the summer? Thanksgiving is but one day of the year when we awkwardly engage family and friends, acting as though all is fine and dandy in the world … When clearly things are not?!?
We are all human (I think), and humans are by definition are imperfect beings. Every one of us (myself included), disappoint(s) someone at some time or another during the day, the calendar year and throughout our inspiring lives. This Thanksgiving and Holiday season, lets talk openly about our struggles. Lets deepen our capacity to love and connect with our fellow “creatures“.
Be kind to yourself – Soothe your worries with grace and compassion, authentic conversation is food for the soul.
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: November 14, 2014 Filed under: Kindness, Meditation, Yoga | Tags: blogging, compassion, cycling, Cyclocross, exercise, free range, freshly pressed, happiness, health, hope, Intention, Iowa, Iowa City, Jingle Cross, kindness, life, love, marathon, meditation, motivation, musings, natural, nature, Omaha, Omaha Bike Co, passion, perspective, pilates, running, trail running, weekend, writing, yoga
It is more Important to be of pure intention than of perfect action-
Its moments before the gentle warmth of the Sun breaks the horizon on a chilly Friday morning in eastern Nebraska. With a 90% chance of snow tomorrow and a daytime high of 20 expected this Sunday in Iowa City, IA. Perfect racing conditions for Jingle Cross if you ask me. Although, its only Friday … Why are our minds racing towards the weekend?
Raising my chapped hand awkwardly in the air – I fully admit that daydreaming about the weekend is a supernatural delight, constantly peering off into the future to escape events that happened in the past. I’m feeling warm and bright right now thinking about racing in freshly fallen snow this coming Sunday. Pausing mid sip to reflect … I spent the past few days lamenting about my lack of “training” last weekend and the last couple of days endlessly checking the weather for the upcoming weekend. Simply put (because I’m a simple dude): I actively sacrificed being this week to fleeting memories, events that have already happened, and fantasies of how “things” might unfold three days and three hours away in Iowa.
The most memorable races, the most memorable “things” in life, are rarely those that have been planned in advance. They are usually formulated over a few adult beverages with close friends late one evening in August, where we meet the moment without any preconditions or expectations and simply surrender to being. Savoring each and every moment that comes our way.
Take care this morning and please be well!
*Big Thank You to the fine folks at Omaha Bicycle Co. and Endless Bike Company for keeping me prepared this late into the cycling season – Thank you!*