Wanting. Wanting newer and better stuff. Wanting our circumstances to be different. Wanting this pandemic to be over. Wanting things to be the way they were before. Wanting everyone else to think and act like we do. Wanting to be right. Wanting to be heard. Wanting to be seen. So much wanting. So much discontentment. What if instead of wanting, we shifted our focus to waiting and watching? Waiting for things to get better. Waiting for life to unfold naturally. Waiting for things to work themselves out. Watching to come to know and understand ourselves better. Watching to make room for what we need to surface. Watching to realize that what we need isn’t necessarily what we want. So many humans stuck in continuous wanting. All other living species patiently waiting and watching. This human condition, making us truly believe that we know best what we need. Every other specie simply trusting nature. Waiting. Watching. I have been bringing warm tea with me on my rides lately as the days get colder. Alone. I find a peaceful spot in the woods to stop and drink my warm beverage. I call it “forestea”. If it isn’t already a thing, I’m making it one. Immersed in nature. Sipping. Waiting. Watching. Savoring the moment, not interfering with it. This waiting season. No expectations. No wanting. Just watching it all unfold naturally.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Friday, October 23, 2020
In here. After a few days, I can feel myself getting fidgety. Stifled. Walks with the dog help. But the distance I can cover on foot still isn’t quite enough. I need more space. I need to go further. I need to go deeper. I need to go out there. Sometimes I feel like my riding is a run away attempt, but I have now come to understand that it is more about making room. Room to feel more safely. Room to feel more comfy in my misery. This outer vastness coaxing me to drop my armour. Out there, with plenty of room for it all, this anguish slowly begins to lose its power. My pedals funneling it through me. Unrestricted, every single thing flows more freely. Out there, on my bike, in the open, is where I feel most human, most alive. Nature’s magnificent backdrop harbouring it all. Out there, I am reminded of my insignificance, that these problems only exist in here, in the narrow confines of my limited mind. When the environment I submerge myself in opens so do I. Out there, this extra room gives me space. Space for all that comes up. Space to lay it all out in the open. Space to organize it all. Space to decide what I want to keep. Space to decide what I need to let go. Out there. Always better than in here. Do you also long to go? Out there.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Fall crescendo. I have been paying very close attention to the changing leaves these last few weeks. Every day seems to be better than the two or three before. I keep wondering if I’m witnessing autumn’s peak. Can it get any better than this? Is this the climax? Last year, looking at photos and dates, the pinnacle seemed to be at least a week earlier. The thing with a peak is that we only really know exactly when it occurs after it has passed. And then it’s too late. We missed it. The trees aren’t bothered one bit by my dilemma. They just go about doing what they have always done this time of year. Unapologetically. The transitory reds, oranges and yellows. So much beauty in the beginning of the end. The end of the prosperous season. The beginning of the dormant season. I resist, but the trees completely surrender to it. They understand that they need to get ready to rest. This universal current of change. Part of nature. Part of us. Creation’s existential language. This autumnal season. Unhurried. Its purpose to show us how breathtakingly beautiful change and letting go can be. In all of my fifty-three autumns here on this earth, this one seems to be the most impressive yet. Are falls really getting better and better? Are falls changing? Or am I changing? Fall crescendo.
Monday, October 19, 2020
The lake catches my eye as I ride past it. The reflection of the yellow tree leaves on the calm water make me tap the brakes and stop. The cycling purist in me has often feared the day when taking photos became more important than the ride itself. But it turns out that it’s the purity of the ride that brings me to the shots, my world view from the saddle inciting me to take notice. I stop again a little further along the lake and walk down closer to the water’s edge. I haven’t noticed the ducks until they start floating towards me. Time slows down to a standstill. I become emotional. Inundated with a certain understanding. Something infinitely bigger and greater than me instantly bringing me back to the now. That moment. Potent beyond measure. Pure magic lifting me up. Undivided existence in a single frame. This is why I ride. And maybe this is why they call it the golden hour.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Thankful. Thankful for my health. Thankful for my family. Thankful for my friends. Thankful for my dog. Thankful for clean drinking water and food on the table. Thankful to have a warm bed to sleep in. Thankful for Octobers. Thankful for bikes. Thankful to still be able to ride. Thankful for the squirrel that I willingly shared my cookie with yesterday. Thankful for this life. All of it. Thankful for all of these things that will one day be gone. This weekend was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. A reminder of life’s impermanence, of its ephemerality. A reminder that life isn’t something that is meant to be conquered, that it isn’t a game that needs to be won. A reminder that life is simply asking to be experienced in all of its splendor, to be savored fully as it is. A reminder to live the life that we have instead of wanting things to be different. A reminder to stop and notice. And for this I am also thankful for Thanksgivings. Thanks for the reminder. Everyone benefits from more gratefulness. Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends. Thankful.
Friday, October 9, 2020
As vulnerable as the present moment, the beginning of the dark season all too often giving rise to dreadful nights. An unbearable restlessness setting in as I try to sleep. Tossing and turning, desperately trying to pry myself loose from this misery’s grasp. Fear, anxiety or probably even both. Paralyzing. If I’m completely honest, autumn frightens me in many ways. I yearn for summer’s protection, as if the easy season was really ever capable of keeping me safe. What if my viral Pericarditis comes back again like it did last fall? What if the second wave of Covid is worse than the first? An endless number of what ifs? The diminishing amount of sunlight slowly eroding away at my wellbeing. Lying in bed, I’m smack-dab in the middle of it. Unbearable. Suffocating. Buried. I need space. My reflex is to move out towards the periphery. But with all this shit coming up to the surface, this outer standpoint only makes me feel worse. I can’t run away. The only option is to go deeper. To feel it fully. To let it break me. Out of my head, into my heart. Centered. Observing. Allowing. Stepping back, out of the way. Letting it pass. Letting it leave me. Resisting is what makes it hurt. This dreadful human condition. Our thoughts and feelings are not something that we can control. Simply unstoppable. Like the weather. Thoughts suddenly appear in our minds by themselves and feelings arise mostly unexpectedly out of the blue. Some pleasant, others uncomfortable. Each and every one of them not me. I am not my thoughts. I am not my feelings. I am not my mind. I am not even this body. All that I am is the watcher. A witness to my mind’s madness. A mere bystander. And as long as I remember this, I am free. Can you see the light at the end of your tunnel from where you’re standing?
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
I have come to realize that I have always been a wanderer. I just tend to forget about it at times. Aimlessly drifting. No where to go but so very much to see. No special skills required. Just a bit of curiosity. That inquisitiveness that we’re all born with. Not quite a nomad, I have always had a fixed habitation, but I have also always felt a strong instinctive urge to explore, even if it’s just in my own backyard. I had passed this dirt road five or six times on rides this year. I’d glanced over. And kept riding straight past it. Sunday morning, I turned. I accepted its invitation. I embraced its hospitality. And after consuming its dirt offering, I also meandered out to that tunnel under the highway and to that old wooden covered bridge. Nothing planned. Everything made up as I went. Just happily wandering. When I was a kid, me and friends would spend our days “riding around on our bikes”. There was rarely a specific destination that we were pedaling to. Unconsciously searching. Scouring our neighborhood for cool places to hang out and ride. No expectations whatsoever, even if we were still driven by a certain hope. A futile search for lost domestic treasures. A heightened awareness of our outer and even our inner worlds. Surrendering. Letting life unconsciously guide us. In complete harmony with existence itself. Wandering wasn’t really something that we did. It was something that we allowed to happen. Spontaneous. Natural. One with this world. Wandering has so much to teach us, about our communities, and also about ourselves. It is about living in the moment and about creativity. A life metaphor showing us that everything is forever changing. Everything except the fact that I have always been and will always be a wanderer.
Friday, October 2, 2020
A strong wind blows from the south west. Stuffed. Hampered. I shift to any easier gear and keep pedaling. I am certainly not moving fast. But my momentum is forward. Head down. I ride out to the pavilion. I take my helmet off and sit. It’s been a long week. My instinct is to resist. I tell myself to simply try to give in. The powerful breeze penetrating me. Cleansing. Purifying. Lifting me up. Peeling off layers of accumulated rubbish that I have unwillingly been clinging onto. Maybe that’s the purpose of head winds? Tired and still achy, my perspective begins to shift. Watching. I begin to feel an unquestionable happiness swell up inside of me as I sit there. Here and now. Present. Was my happiness making me present or was my presence making me happy? I ponder this question. Maybe we can only be happy when we are present? When we show up for what is. When we are completely in the moment. Maybe we can never be present as long as we remain stuck in the past? Conditioned by it. Imprisoned by it. Maybe the only way to truly be present is by making peace and healing our past? Without this, our past will always be present. Inward and backwards. Maybe this is the only way forward?