Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Youth. What I miss most about my youth isn’t my hairline or my smooth taut skin. What I miss most about my youth isn’t the fact that I could eat junk food and party regularly without any noticeable physical consequences. What I miss most about my youth isn’t even my strength and vitality. What I miss most about my youth is not knowing and fully understanding what can and will eventually go wrong. What I miss most about my youth is the feeling of being an exception to the rules of eventual misfortune. What I miss most about my youth is still believing that bad things only happen to other people. What I miss most about my youth is the fearlessness. We can only fear what we know. A smoker isn’t afraid of getting cancer until he knows cancer. And I wasn’t afraid of hitting my head until I knew how much a seemingly mild concussion could affect every single thing in one’s life. It seems so backwards. The test teaching the lesson. Ignorance is bliss. Maybe the meaning of this proverb isn’t simply about innocence and not knowing? Maybe the meaning of this proverb is more about the wisdom and understanding that can only come with age? Maybe the meaning of this proverb is more about the fact that true bliss can only come from the heart and not from the mind? Maybe the most meaningful proverbs take an entire lifetime to understand? Maybe? Youth.
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Stories. As a young child, I just loved listening to stories. My young curious mind completely captivated by the narrative. As I grew older, I started writing my own. Even before learning how to draw letters and words, I wrote stories by etching images into the grey matter of my mind. And as my stories repertoire grew, I spent more and more time telling them. I came to understand that hearing my own words as I described my life experiences always taught me something new about myself. Voicing my stories seemed to give me a fresh new outside perspective. They liberated me, making me feel more removed, less confined. The older I got, the more spectacular my stories became. Some of my stories become so large that they took on a life of their own. They became legends. Like the stories of how our grandparents walked to school when they were young, memories tend to be rewritten and embellished with time. They say that in the end, all that will be left are the stories. But what if maybe even the stories gradually dwindle and eventually disappear? Like a fat bike tire track through the snow during a storm, what if our stories slowly fade until they become completely buried? It wouldn’t be personal. It wouldn’t be that our stories aren’t good enough. It would just be part of life’s natural cycle of evolution and renewal. After our stories are gone, only their lingering effects would remain. And these effects would surely spread far and wide. They would spread because all of our stories are connected. In the end, maybe we don’t become stories. In the end, maybe we simply realize that we were stories all along. In the end, maybe we realize that it was all just the one story. Stories.
Pocket Change. Life is like a coin. It has two sides. The first is the business side. It encompasses all actions required for our survival. Some of these activities, like the beating of our heart, digestion, and the repair of bodily tissue are taken care of automatically by our amazing bodies. Other business activities, like how to earn money, home economics, and the rules of society need to be learned. Our parents start teaching us these concepts as infants, and school takes the lead as we get older. This side lives in our minds. The flip side of our life coin is the feelings side. All of our emotions naturally live here. We don’t have to do anything special to create them. They’re simply part of our existence, part of what it means to be alive. All we need to do is learn how to understand them, be with them, and every now and again, deal with them as they arise. The feelings side of our life coin is where we find love, compassion and intuition. This side lives in our hearts. Both sides are necessary, but very often not evenly polished. Life partner relationships built on the business side make excellent providers but passionless love stories. If your main purpose in life is to be happy, you will never find it on the business side. True happiness can only be found on the feelings side. Which side of your life coin are you holding face-up? Which side of your life coin have you been spending most of your time shining? True happiness may simply be a coin flip away… Pocket Change.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Forgiveness. When I was a kid, forgiveness was as simple as saying or hearing the word “sorry”. Like magic, sorry fixed everything. Sorry made people get along and sorry made relationships run smoothly. As I got older, forgiveness became much more complicated. I’m not sure if the reason was because the actions and things that needed to be forgiven were becoming more significant and consequential? Or if it was just my growing ego that was getting in the way? “How dare they !” was most often what came up instead of a certain understanding and compassion towards the other. As forgiveness became harder and harder, the level of resentment that I carried steadily grew inside of me. The grudges that I held were not punishing those that had wronged me. They were a form of self-poisoning, a cancer that slowly gnawed at me from the inside out. The whole point of forgiveness is not to deny wrongfulness. The whole point of forgiveness is to no longer let the other continuously re-traumatize us over and over again. We need to let it go for us, not for them. But one must also never forget that the person who needs forgiveness the most is our self. Forgiving our self for our mistakes and regrets. Forgiving our self for being human. Being our very best self requires being able to look at our reflection in the mirror, or in the window of a busted door like in the second photo, and feel more self-love than self-hate. Stop victimizing your own self. Go ahead. Let it go. Freedom lives on the other side. Forgiveness.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Sustainable. When I started mountain bike racing in the early 90s, I would always start races sprinting off the line. My background was in BMX where races lasted less than 1 minute and the start was very important. But cross-country mountain bike races were much longer, close to 2 hours. In my mind, I knew that I should be pacing myself, that races were never won in the first few minutes, but I still bolted off at an anaerobic pace that I could only maintain for a few minutes at most. This usually brought me into the first single track section with the lead riders, but not for long. Once the fatigue set in, I was left struggling to finish, making the final hour so very painful and slow as I crawled to the line. Every single race, I unconsciously used the same approach, even if I knew by experience how it was going to unfold in the end. For some reason, I had this secret hope that I would have this amazing day where the energy wouldn’t fade and that I would be able to keep the faster pace for the entire distance. Thinking about this today, it sounds stupid and so simple to fix. Why did I get carried away over and over again? Why didn’t I learn to pace myself? Even now that I don’t race anymore, I often catch myself living life exactly the same way. I get caught up living so damn fast, sprinting between tasks, pushing harder and harder in an attempt to get ahead. Unconsciously I know better, but I keep telling myself that it’s only for a short while, that I’ll rest after the next milestone, then after the next one. I lose myself in the whirlwind of doing, chasing an eternally moving external target. We call it making headway, getting stuff done, taking care of business. But it isn’t normal even if it’s prevalent. It’s madness. It’s making us sick. This rat race is bullshit. It simply isn’t… Sustainable.
Thursday, January 9, 2020
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Wild horses. I purposely haven’t made any resolutions or set any ride goals for 2020. Humans are the only animals that set objectives and spend time comparing themselves against measurable benchmarks. All other animals just go about living, simply being, without comparison. Society conditions us at a very young age that we are not enough. And we spend our lives trying to measure up and prove our worth. Other animals know that they are fine just the way that they are. Too often, goals usually just end up making me feel bad about myself instead of making me accountable to follow through. My motivation to ride my bike is intrinsic. It’s not about chasing results anymore. It isn’t even about chasing physical fitness. That’s simply a secondary benefit of riding. It’s about the heightened awareness that it gives me. The grounded feeling. The clarity. The open space. The peaceful silence. The aliveness. The high-vibrational state. The healing. The connection to nature at that perfect speed. Fast enough to enable me to take in more than I do when walking. Slow enough that my surroundings aren’t lost in a speedy blur. Don’t make your rides a punishment driven by fear of inadequacy. Make your rides an act of self-love. Like wild horses, we’re not meant to be tamed and controlled by fear. Like wild horses, all that we really want is to run free. Wild horses.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Resolutions. During the time of the year when we all look back to evaluate our life progress as well as set objectives for the next trip around the sun, I ponder. I wonder why there is so much self-improvement hoopla on January 1st compared to the rest of the year? I mean, technically, for all other animals living on earth, it’s just a regular day. Maybe we’re just way too busy the rest of the year? When I consider the questions from the standpoint of the measurable achievements and accolades accomplished this past year, I definitely feel as if I am falling short. I didn’t get a promotion at work. I didn’t win any special award. I didn’t earn a new title. I didn’t make more money. I didn’t move into a luxury home in an affluent neighborhood. I didn’t purchase a fancy expensive car. In fact, I don’t really have anything special or impressive to show for on the outside. But, I have lost and let go of many things on the inside. Fear. Self-doubt. Guilt. Shame. Self-defeating thoughts. An inner alchemy and purification of sorts. The result of lots of ongoing inner work and expansion. All invisible from the outside, but more important to me personally than any physical thing that I could have manufactured, produced or built. Daring to go where I was once so very afraid to go is the most important work that I continue to do. Don’t measure your progress only by what you have accomplished on the outside. Look within. Dare to explore your inner sky. Happy New Year! Resolutions.