I got an Atari home video console for Christmas in the early 80s. The Atari 2600. With the fake wood finish and red button joy sticks. The best games also. Pac Man. Donkey Kong. All the cool kids were into it. A family in my neighborhood even burned out their TV after playing non stop for over 15 hours. That wasn’t my problem. I may have played with mine a total of 3 or 4 hours. Max. Maybe? I liked hanging out in arcades as a teenager, but I never played the games. Not once. For some reason a Snickers bar seemed like a better way to spend any change that I had in my pocket. I’ve just never been into video games. I mean, I find them cool, but I just can’t seem to lose myself in them like everyone else. The video game world seems to have collided with the cycling world these last few years with the introduction of Zwift, an online cycling platform that enables riders to ride and compete with each other virtually. The concept is brilliant. The graphics and avatars are amazing. Most of my cycling friends are into it. It certainly is the next big thing. But, for some reason, I remain unmoved. Maybe it’s the competitive aspect? Maybe it’s the stationary pedaling? I used to ride indoors all winter, 3 – 4 hours at a time when I trained to race. But the truth is that I have not ridden on a stationary trainer once in about 5 years. I just can’t anymore. I try to let myself be excited by the whole Zwift movement. I really do. The technology. The practicality. The potential to get faster. But if I’m honest, I would be faking it. Maybe my reason is the same as why I never really played with my Atari 2600? Maybe my problem is really just that I never really was into video games? Forward movement, going somewhere, outside, exploring the natural world I live in is too big of a part of why I ride. The crunchy feel of my tires floating on top of the gravel. The breeze brushing the skin on my face. The smells. The sounds. The sceneries. Like the way that the flora on the edge of this lake shelters the water on the side making the periphery surface smooth instead of choppy and rippled like the wind blown center. Sorry Zwift, you really are amazing. It isn’t you. It’s me.
Friday, May 29, 2020
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
That gut feeling
Life is short. Why do we keep rushing through it? So much to do. So little time. Maybe it’s not that we have too much to do? Maybe it’s that we’re not doing the right stuff? In the simplest terms, that’s exactly what life really is. Doing stuff. For a while. We take it so seriously, but in reality that’s all it is. Time to do stuff. We get to choose. And in the end, our regrets are simply having done the wrong stuff. So, how do we know what stuff that we should be doing? The answer is always in the gut. Our gut knows. Listen to your gut. It’s always right. It always knows. Last Friday was a gorgeous day. Sunny and unseasonably warm. Perfect for a ride out to the coast taking the long road less travelled. Chip seal, gravel, some dirt, near zero traffic and road side couches. I had mapped the loop last year, but had never gotten to ride it. This was the day. My longest ride of the year. Unhurried, and powered by eggs and bacon, my legs felt fluid. Not fast, but strong. It’s a strange, but very pleasant, feeling. A deep sense of comfort and well-being, my butt comfortably perched on my saddle, my legs spinning smooth circles. Familiar. Like a baby being rocked in his cradle. Revealing. Knowing. A pathway to my gut. That’s one of the best gifts that riding always gives me. That intuitive internal gut connection. The day capped off with Kombucha, supper with family and an evening walk with our dog Zen. Simple. Blessed. Happy. A day that ended, knowing in my gut, that I had done the right stuff.
Friday, May 22, 2020
This too shall pass
This too shall pass. Covid-19. This too shall pass. Unchartered territory. This too shall pass. Global pandemic. This too shall pass. Physical distancing. This too shall pass. Early May snowstorms. This too shall pass. Late May heatwaves. This too shall pass. Long rainy days. This too shall pass. Infinite deep blue cloudless skies. This too shall pass. Early sunrises and late sunsets. This too shall pass. Morning meditation and yoga. This too shall pass. Working from home. This too shall pass. Quality time with family. This too shall pass. Simple schedules. This too shall pass. Stress and fatigue. This too shall pass. Health. This too shall pass. Sickness. This too shall pass. Long rides on wide open roads. This too shall pass. The Corona virus has definitely shown us how fickle life really is, how quickly everything can change, what’s really important. This too shall pass is a Persian adage about the ephemerality of the human condition, or what we simply call life. Temporary. Ever changing. All we can do really is show up for it. Be there. Wholly. Entirely. No matter if it’s pleasant, difficult, easy or unwanted. Show up. Show up for our family. Show up for the weak and vulnerable. Show up for the seemingly unremarkable things. Show up even when we’re afraid. Show up in the present moment. Some days, showing up is pretty easy. Other days, not so much. In the end, it’s all that we can do. Show up. Every single day. This too shall pass.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Eyes open. Quiet. The first day in a very long while that the wind cannot be heard. A faint bird chitter chatter. Dust dancing in the beam of sunlight peaking through bedroom blinds. Refreshed after the restless darkness. A new day. A great day. Laying there, I can just feel it. I used to have a hard time sleeping the night before races because of nervousness. Now, with my solo ride adventures, pure excitement makes me toss and turn. The forecast is sun and 17 degrees but we aren’t there yet. The first layer shed at the top of the climb. The tattered pavement replaced by well worn gravel. My stoke growing as I approach Johnson’s Mills. Glancing out towards Hopewell and Shepody across the bay, I feel so very small. Not in a bad way. Simply insignificant and at the same time part of something infinitely greater, highlighted by the carefully painted vast landscape surrounding me. Nova Scotia, clearly visible across the water from Rockport. So very close. Yet, still, so very far. Literally another world during these pandemic times. The dirt road endlessly narrowing, I finally reach Slack’s Cove. Such a picturesque spot. No words. Just panoramic seascape. My bike resting against this monument, I sit there for a bit. Sublime. Majestic. Alone. In silence. Taking in the energy of the scene I am immersed in. Contemplating how the explorers had felt when they landed here over 250 years ago. I wondered if they appreciated their surroundings as much as I did in this moment. Legs rekindled, I made my way towards Sackville. Chai tea and a cupcake at Cackling Goose to top it all off. How was your weekend?
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Change. Always there. A lifelong constant. Why do we resist it so much? Our minds struggling to find something solid to grab onto. Always looking for an anchor. We panic as we feel ourselves drift. Nothing remains the same as it once was. Everything constantly changing. Life is so very dynamic this way. Being alive means living in a persistent shift. We all wish that things would stay the same. That we wouldn’t grow old. That our children wouldn’t grow up. That our happiness would be everlasting. But this ceaseless metamorphosis is what makes everything beautiful. A real flower is so much more beautiful than a fake plastic one even if the latter lasts forever. It’s beauty fleeting, momentary. And that briefness is exactly why it is so perfectly pretty. A life without change is a plastic life. A much cheaper simulation. As the season changes, I am also beginning to feel my body change. Mostly when I ride. Fluidity. Souplesse. A very deep sense of happiness as the summer cycling pieces of me slowly fall into place. I realize that there will come a day when I won’t be able to ride anymore. It’s inevitable. All part of life’s essence of constant change. And that makes me appreciate still being able to ride today even more. This moment. Constantly slipping away. Health. Focus. Creativity. Change.
Friday, May 8, 2020
Colour. Flowers and rainbows. Spring reminding us that colourful things are almost always beautiful things. A rich diversity in tones certainly makes the world a better place. Like all ecosystems that thrive when chock-full of a boundless mix of various species, each having a specific role in keeping the whole naturally in balance. The cycle of life in perfect harmony. Nature flourishes and rises in a vast diversity of colour. Why does human society’s mold want us all to be monochromatic, all the same? Our vibrant beauty hidden as we all try to fit in. Our distinct inner and outer shades make each and everyone of us wonderfully unique even if we are also all interconnected, all part of the same rainbow. Break out of the old mold. Be you. Show the world your colours, the brilliant colours that live inside of your heart. Everything is so much better in living colour. The emerging new earth. In full. Colour.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Suspended. In limbo. What are we supposed to do in the meantime? While life is on hold? Is not knowing when or how this pandemic is going to end driving you crazy? For me, it comes in waves. Some days, when I’m present, in the now, I’m good. I feel a certain sense of ease and grounded safety in our little bubble. Like we can do this. That everything is going to be OK. Other days, when I’m in my head, I feel frustrated, really wanting a concrete timeline, a tangible detailed schedule telling me exactly what’s next and when. My egoic mind desperately seeking security, wanting measurable milestones in order to better prepare, perceiving this as something that I absolutely need to figure out. The truth is that no one knows for sure what happens next. Unprecedented in our lifetime. Day to day. A trial. An experiment based on our best estimates. Everything has never been as uncertain as it is right now. Unknown. The question is, can we be OK with it? Can we let go of our need to know? Fear is born from not being OK with the mystery of what we’re facing. Accepting the unknown, embracing it even, creates a heightened sense of aliveness, an appreciation for what we still have. Can we make peace with our helplessness during these times? Have trust in our unity? Life is out of our control. It will always be. I mean, there are certain things that we have control over like our intentions and our actions, but in the grand scheme of things, life always was, is and will always be out of control. No one knows when or how it ends. And it’s OK not to know. Do all that you can to help others and remain healthy and safe. And then, mindfully sit back and watch history unfold. Drop the personal mind-made stories. No expectations or assumptions. All that we ever have is this moment. Can we be here for it during these trying times?
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