I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself-
Early this past Friday morning while driving to work, an event occurred that made me question everything in life.
Mindfulness and Awareness are a journey, not a destination, not something to achieve, not the latest “trend” to trick you into signing up for a months worth of yoga classes, and since mindfulness and awareness are deeply personal, I will humbly, and reluctantly share with you the events that enveloped my recent experience. An experience that has both failed me, and helped me tremendously.
Typically, I commute to work via bicycle. I wake early, reheat a cup of black coffee I make the night prior for a minute or so in the microwave and ease into my riding gear, gently and peacefully. This was not the case last Friday. For you see, I was in a rush, I was outside of my body, I was aware of my actions but not mindful of them. The usual list of things come to mind – Work, riding more, building a new bike, helping friends and family, trying to practice yoga twice a day, spending more time abusing myself than nurturing my spirit. Slowing down does not come naturally to me. I once had an old riding buddy (he was old and had legs like tree trunks …) in England say to me, “slow down to go fast mate” and I got it at the time. It’s the proverbial Aesop’s Fable the story of ‘The Tortoise & the Hare’, the tortoise won by going slower. Faster only gets you to your destination quicker – Driving to a noon yoga class while at work, instead of riding my bike to work and practicing at Halleck Park when the sun rises. Driving to work so I can pick up and drop off some bike parts a day ahead of schedule instead of just waiting for the weekend. By practicing to go slower, I become mindful of the world around me, and I pay more attention … I actually arrive exactly where I want to be, with more awareness. Instead of a steamy car wash bay, spraying the putrid, burning flesh of a deer from the underside of my car.
All of this sounds so simple, although in practice, its much harder.
So where does this leave me? I believe I need to reflect and review my actions with intention – Do my words and actions really align? My feelings really are indicators of my true spirit. When I am feeling incredibly frustrated with life, unsupported and angry? I need to pause, and take better care of my own emotional well-being. My thoughts truly create the world I call home. Being mindful of how I think is essential to my place in this comforting world at times.
Actions, feelings and thoughts that convey encouraging messages, that leave me feeling content and with a smile on my face, are at the heart of living mindfully.
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!