Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.
I am much inclined to live from my rucksack, and let my trousers fray as they like-
Lately I have been “obsessing” over a few Active Transportation problems (mostly cycling related) in, and around Omaha, Nebraska. Not gigantic, earth shattering problems, but a source of ongoing irritation and minor frustration to me personally. At any rate, and given that May is National Bike Month … Our local Active Transportation quandary has woven itself into the deepest folds of my mind, and I find myself spending a fair amount of time thinking about them, and how we as a community spend so much time and energy trying to change tedious little things. Such as “improved” bike routes, road markings and better street design, for very personal reasons.
I spent my morning ride to the market yesterday thinking about why we want to create change, while auto-piloting through a series of hills, defaulting to these thoughts during random periods of the early morning ride to keep my mind curious.
Stewing on “things” that irritate me or that fall into a “problem” category generally serves a purpose. Normally issues slide right off my back or float away little puffy little clouds dancing across the sky. In this case, I stumbled across my “aha” moment while riding back home yesterday afternoon. In fact, the solution was so embarrassingly obvious that I had to stop riding for a moment to say aloud: “I’m amazed I didn’t realize this before.”
When our minds our locked in with tunnel vision, trying to brainstorm solutions to problems that generally do not exist. They don’t have full access to the power, curiosity and creativity we consciously choose to shut off, lamenting and obsessing. Organizing community advocacy groups and whatnot.
My little “moment” yesterday was just that – little and insignificant to the community at large. Although, obsessing about life’s mundane problems is not as fun as obsessing about our true passion(s) in life, or the selection of artisanal cheeses at the market (Top Tip – If you want to ride faster? Buy something cold and sprint home before it spoils.)
Sometimes we have to allow a problem to slide to the top of our priority list, let it stew for a bit, and trust that the answer will bubble up when we least expect it.
My solution if you are curious? :Seva: For the Heartland
It’s possible to walk out of your house with “local” footsteps, printing them one by one till they go on to make “global” consequences! Go, make a safe journey-
I’m standing in a local bike shop, with narrow isles, bins and shelves filled with artifacts of a bygone world; hundreds of bicycling parts waiting to be saved and enjoyed once more. No fancy racks or displays showcasing the newest technology, grease stained shop rags tossed on a well used repair stand, an aging frame leaning in one corner, another new frame packed and ready for shipping to a new cyclist. There are quite a few customers of all ages steaming in early this morning as I think to myself – I have made the conscious decision of supporting my local shop instead of the convenience and bargains found online. And this experience, is what I prefer.
Sheets of colorful cycling stickers and build sheets brighten the worn workbench. Vintage wheel-sets hang above the display cases below casting a playful glow from their chrome finish. And the superb aroma of chain cleaner and lubricants wafting in the air near the used bikes for sale on the shop floor. What better setting for a custom wheel build
While many of us mourn the loss of an expired Groupon deal or online savings code, I mourn the loss of a deeper social function in our society – Local workmanship and community. Local bike shops are struggling, yet they have something precious that is vanishing from our more digital and connected/convenient world – Real people, doing real, honest work. All of this is conveniently awaiting you at your local bike shop.
Sincere gratitude and – Thank You – to the crew at Re-cycle Bike Shop here in our fair city – Omaha, NE. A big thanks to Onyx Racing Products, Velocity and Phil Wood & Co. for producing first-rate, Made in ‘Murica products. And what better way to test them by riding across a frozen lake in March!
I left my youth behind me. It peddled the bicycle while I rode on the handlebars-
” … Get a car you ironically tattoo adorned, Lycra sporting hipster!!!” I remember these harsh words as though they were strewn upon me yesterday morning, instead of two months ago commuting to work on bike.
Was I shocked? Somewhat. I was simply making a right hand turn after stopping at a stop sign at 5am, when over my left shoulder, I was spewed vile hatred upon by some dude. I thought briefly about trying to catch up with him, and having a gentlemanly conversation. Instead, I simply put my head down and set a good pace up the next few hills that eagerly awaited me.
What worries my heart the most, is the need to make these flippant remarks in the first place. It makes me wonder about our current human nature and the impulse or desire to engage in this kind of behavior. The kind of behavior we witness online, where our words carry a great weight with little or no courage, to form a coherent and critical response.
Why does it bother someone if I ride to work on my bike? Have tattoos and practice yoga? Why do people feel the need to project hatred and vomit at every turn? Kindness and love have been cast ad acta, a relic of a bygone world. We live in a world now where a fussilade of hate awaits us around every corner in life.
As we gently ease into March this coming weekend. The undercurrents of my posts will warm to the wonders that cycling and nature so kindly present us. I hope you tag along for the ride …
If I spent ten years in prison, I’d probably come to value the small things in life. Things like good food, a comfy bed, and a toothbrush sharpened into a shank-
How can we spring ourselves from this “social media” jail sentence we conveniently lump on our weary souls? For me personally, capturing and restoring a sense of gratitude is the ideal antidote for the nauseating cycle of egotism we confront on a daily basis.
Propping the world on my shoulders, believing and behaving as though I am the center of your attention when I put forth a self-serving blog post. And you know what? Being the center of attention is both exhausting and futile.
I challenge you to reexamine the meaning of gratitude and kindness – Taking to heart the profound impact and value they impart on our lives. Without them, we will struggle to get over our preening, look-at-me sense of self-importance.
As the seasons gently begin to change, I start to look within and begin to write about the “things” for which I am truly grateful – Your continued support, Family and Friends, Yoga, Cycling and maybe a few other “things” as well. I ask of you – your patience, as I try to move past the obvious and explore deeper the gifts I may have overlooked in the past; becoming aware of how many people made this possible through their hard work. As well as paying deeper attention to nature’s boundless wonders, beauty and mysteries as I once did as a child and have awakened once again as an adult <— Used loosely.
When we learn to forget ourselves – We can enjoy our lives, fully, in this inspiring moment.
You know on TV when there’s one of those awkward, shocking moments and all you hear are the crickets in the background? Well chirp f*cking chirp…this is one of those moments-
Being embarrassed in social situation(s) feels rather unpleasant. When someone remarks suddenly before class: “Your underwear is showing,” or while standing in line for a coffee … “Your barn door is open,” even better yet “Is that balsamic vinegar salad dressing in your hair?!?” Here let me smell. Few of us are likely to feel particularly joyful, to say the very least.
I’m recalling this morning with you, times during my life when I have felt the most embarrassed and to my surprise – Being embarrassed truly can be joyful!
There are a few moments of feeling embarrassed that instantly come to mind. One, was the night my son was born about nine years ago I suppose. You see, I exude a fairly calm, cool and collected demeanor, most times that is. I was pretty chill during the birth and what stands out to me was when it was only my beautiful new-born son, myself and a caring nurse handing him to me for the first time – “Here is your son sir” placing him gently into me shaking hands, tears streaming down my face, having no clue in the world what to do. I was embarrassed in this truly joyful moment.
At the same time though, there are horrible feelings that also produce embarrassment, feelings of being humiliated …
I still remember like it was yesterday, the dreadful scene when some of my classmates in 6th grade took great pleasure in teasing me to tears, because I was “fat” and started to go through the throes of puberty – acne and all. Calling me “fatty” by the boys and girls, the incessant teasing, only served to make the humiliation more degrading. I was deeply embarrassed during these joyless childhood moments.
What life, compassion, kindness and gratitude provide us is, if we reflect and allow the blushed cheeked, crying and shameful negative feelings of humiliation fade away. Is that, maybe, just maybe embarrassment really is an expression of – Joy.
Don’t think about making life better for other people who don’t even deserve you, rather, focus on making your life the best, for yourself and those who love you-
Why do we find it so difficult to share our dark and dirty selves online? Do we openly express our happiness via social media to seek the approval of others? Perhaps the most damaging part is that by only recording and sharing the splendid moments in our lives, we lose track of who we really are? 100 happy days isn’t enough to outweigh the other 265-ish days in the year.
Right now, in this beautiful/inspiring moment, I can pen a list of “things” that really pissed me off and made me feel rather unhappy yesterday. The first 5 or so things would be dedicated to parenting. Having a nine-year old dude going on 20 is good for a few unhappy annoyances. Sprinkle in a entitled beagle for at least 10 more. Next up would be work and then a major portion would be dedicated to the many poor choices I make during the day: Peanut butter with or without honey – Who to start on my fantasy hockey team – Which yoga poses to practice – Reading an article about the upcoming movie “Interstellar” that gave away major plot points – Which race do I sign up for next – Fussing over the recent elections.
My #happy# moment yesterday was something so profound and kind that the thought of sharing it publicly, affectionately adorned with a hash-tag, seemed woefully self-serving (which is why I’m doing it now …). Why you may ask? Because it deeply touched my heart and soul. This amazing gift was something I could have Instagramed, or Twerped . The “thing” that brought me joy, and made my heart swell with gratitude yesterday, amid all the nine-year old drama, entitled beagle crap, work issues and peanut butter guilt … Was opening my email, sorting through all the spam from local yoga studios, and noticing a gift card email sent from a close friend. It is precisely because of all of the unhappy moments—the ones I’ve listed above and the ones I carry close to my heart—that this moment was so precious, and why I’m still smiling this morning after stepping on another Lego piece at 0400!
Opening up our hearts and writing about ourselves online, while blindly attempting to live up to the expectations of others, makes all of this social media stuff kinda less than truthful at times.