People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf-
You Dear Reader(s), help me up, when I’m feeling down – Each and every one of you make me feel alive! It has been an inspiring week and I hope each of you, every one of you, have a wonderful weekend!
I know how I feel having you in my life – I’m feeling good!
I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel-
For the past two years in late August, I bike for nearly ten hours, one hundred plus miles, into the picturesque countryside around Omaha, Nebraska.. Out here, I don’t have a laptop, a navigation gadget, or anyone to talk to. It’s just me and my bike, and a few Western Meadowlarks greeting me kindly.
The first twenty miles are the hardest. I’m on an adrenaline high at first, I wake early and start riding East, where the brilliant glow of a sunrise brings a smile to my tired face. The air is clear on these desolate gravel roads, there is no sound of traffic, yet suddenly – I start to feel lonesome. I feel an urge to text a picture of what I am witnessing to someone, and when I realize I can’t, my phone is resting at home in the garage, a feeling of anxiety pours over me. I can’t turn back now as I turn south into a gentle breeze, so I begin to listen to my thoughts; I go over the events of the week, honoring my thoughts makes me feel less stirred up. Something surprising happens mid-ride, I feel a sense of peace. There is no particular switch that is flipped, I recall thinking at the time: I’m alone, and I’m happy.
Rarely do I get lonely riding anymore. I have loved ones and friends in my life whom I deeply cherish and value, yet, I don’t feel the need to be with them constantly. While it’s wonderful to go on a weekly group ride, I also happily wave so long to them when they turn around to head home, and I continue on … My time, this tender moment, is completely my own again.
I don’t partake in these grueling rides to prove anything. I’m out there, because I have fully surrendered to the power of solitude. It has taught me so much about myself. Most importantly, there’s no one to share opinions with, about who I am or what I’m doing. I don’t have a FaceTube status to update, nor do I have a future conversation with someone sloshing between my ears. What hits home the hardest is when I hit the 100+ mile marker, when I’m alone this much on a bike – man and machine, I can’t turn my back and avoid the problems in my life or allow a stray emotion to weigh me down. I can’t distract myself by blogging or surfing the net. What shines through, is the warm glow of my heart.
Time passes differently after 120 miles. I once watched a young doe leap over an eight foot fence from standing; slowing down as she turned to look at me, the sun passed directly overhead during this time, and I didn’t even notice I was heading West. I patiently listen to the wind as I unzip my jersey to cool off as I head home.
The most exhausting part of the ride, is heading home. I have forgotten about the traffic late at night, the stimulation, the nauseating advertisements seemingly everywhere. Sprinklers running, dogs barking, are a jolt to my body … Although friends, the cold shower awaiting me is simply divine.
Nobody can hurt me without my permission-
The dictionary loosely defines equanimity as “mental calmness and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” Equanimity refers to a mind that is at peace even in the face of stressful and unpleasant experiences.
Many, if not all of us have experienced this dissatisfaction. The absence of peace arises from our longing for our live(s) to be different, even when we have absolutely no control over the particular circumstance(s) in question.
After sharing my numerous injuries and “circumstances” with you over the past four or so years, I have spent countless posts lamenting, nauseously, for my life to be the way it was before the surgeons incisions healed. The constant complaining found in the archives here, have made me miserable to be around. Gradually, with the help of some amazing and caring people (like you) – I came to witness that our lives have their share of both joy and suffering, and the only way I could find peace again was to stop trying to change circumstances over which I had no control of, and instead, choosing to start where I am at in this beautiful moment.
When I see that I am not just suffering, when I am not just frustration or sadness. When I notice during yoga class I’m not super flexible or the perfect manifestation of a particular pose … Equanimity helps me to calmly wait for “things” to change.
With equanimity, I try to start each day with where I am, looking around to see what life has to offer.
If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath-
This morning, I’m anxious about any number of things and more specifically the Big Ring Ranch MTB Enduro this coming Saturday. I have not been able to find peace and tranquility very well, or as much as I would like the past few days. This race was supposed to happen in June, however Mother Nature won in the end. I feel tense and unsettled no fewer than a couple of times throughout the day: Worrying about pedantic things like gearing, my level of fitness and health, and I worry about “why” I was talked into this in the first place … I worry a lot, because I find comfort in worrying.
The first thing I try to do when my worrying mind takes over, is to figure out what is not working right now in this beautiful moment. Sounds easy enough right? For me personally its harder than it sounds. Some mornings there’s a clear answer to be found during a sun salutation, but often it’s jumbled and convoluted – for my mind is not entirely present. I feel like I’m “hanging out” and going through the “motions.” I feel like I’m going to disappoint a bunch of family and friends – You – My Dear Readers. The once solid relationship I had with myself is spiraling out of control.
Other mornings, though, I really don’t know what the problem is. On the surface it appears that everything’s going fairly well, my breath is in tune with my flow and my mind is centered in the moment. Although, buried under the surface: I’m still struggling with worry.
The more I struggle with worry, the more anxious I become. I desperately need to find peace and tranquility, but how? Where do I start?!?
Does what I shared above sound familiar? Some folks go for a walk, others head to the gym and surrender to a warm bath afterwards to find peace and tranquility. However, through being bold and trying, surrendering to the moment … This is when we find peace and tranquility.
Time to head out for a morning walk.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about–
What is keeping you from being truly happy?!?
Maybe it’s not even the weight itself that you really seek to lose. Maybe what you really want to rid yourself of, is not the extra pounds, but rather the unhappiness you have learned to associate with it?!?
What if you could be happy without having to change or “fix” your body?
The kind of happiness I want to discuss, differs dramatically, from the temporary warmth and comfort that comes from getting what you want; stepping on the scale one morning and noticing a few pounds have vanished or a friend noticing you look amazing in your new yoga pants. The happiness I want to passionately share with you, is deeper and more abiding – dude. My definition of happiness is rooted in a sense of peace and well-being that cannot be “gained” nor can it be “lost” …
My kind of happiness? Is already part of your true self. It’s not hidden in the numbers displayed on an antiseptic scale. It’s not in the latest fashion trends from Lululemon, and it is certainly not from a friend.
My kind of happiness is the fruit of repeated acts of daily kindness, compassion, patience, forgiveness, courage, and love towards myself and others.
Cultivating my kind of happiness? True happiness as defined by me? Is a beautiful smile that graces your adoring face walking past a mirror, and practicing peace, with your body.
Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness-
Every moment in our lives is a fresh start. Every breath, every movement we make. We are always at the beginning; Wherever we are along our path in life. Sounds like a song from Sting does it not?!?
I would like to plant a thought in your fertile mind this morning, maybe getting you to think deeper, about “something” we take for granted:
All we truly have is the present moment.
Each day we are living with the consequences of our past choices and actions. A cool dude back in the day – Buddha, taught us that when we hopelessly cling onto our stories about ourselves, or about what we think is destined to happen next, we only create suffering for ourselves.
We can begin anew right now, seriously! Instead of floating along in our habitual, and dare I say: Mindless … Ways of being. Press pause and find the beauty in this moment, right now.
Welcome home, to yourself.