Friday, September 24, 2021

Fall Equinox

Fall equinox.  The tipping point.  When nights begin overtaking days.  My inner darkness also coming out of its shadow masquerading as anxiety.  Covid cases surging in my corner of Canada.  Mandatory mask policies reinstated.  And there’s also this mid-life predicament.  Standing at these crossroads.  Pondering my next move.  During one of his talks, spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti surprised his audience when he said “Do you want to know my secret?”.  Everyone was all ears.  What he was about to say was the reason why they had come to listen to him speak.  His answer was simply “I don’t mind what happens”.  Can it really be that simple?  The urge to be in control of my own narrative has been very strong lately.  My fear response.  But what if instead of forcing my own destiny, I just let my narrative write itself?  I suffer whenever I’m not in alignment with reality, whenever I don’t let this moment be just as it is, when I label it as bad or even as good.  In my head.  Suffocating.  I desperately need some space.  Another solo day trip to Fundy National Park.  The smell and taste are definitely autumn, but the sun still feels like summer.  Something about this place creates a much needed opening deep inside of me.  Breathing space.  After my usual Whitetail loop, I head down to Herring Cove.  Barefoot on the rocky sand.  Grounded.  I meditate for a bit in the cool salt water.  This existence.  Maybe it’s already exactly how it should be.  Maybe there is nothing to fear except fear itself.  I have no idea how my story is going to eventually end.  But, in this moment, I can feel a certain liberation from my distress simply watching it all unfold.


Friday, September 17, 2021

Ride Feel

Every training program that I’ve come across or followed when I raced included interval workouts.  Timed strenuous efforts followed by prescribed recovery periods.  Push hard.  Rest.  Recover.  Repeat.  I followed this formula for over 25 years.  Today, and for the last 5 years, I basically just ride.  I never really go hard anymore.  But given my lack of riding intensity, am I still fit?   Google defines fitness as “a state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sport, occupations and daily activities”.  Meandering along on my bike is not really what I’d call “performing”.  But, as for the “health” and “well-being” part, there is absolutely no doubt that I feel better when I ride regularly.  5 or 6 days per week.  Not forced.  Not squeezed into a tight window of an overly busy day.  Unhurried.  I can no longer get even remotely close to pushing the same watts that I used to since forgoing these hard race efforts.  Actually, speed isn’t the only thing that I seem to have lost.  The constant stiffness in my lower back is gone as well.  My hips are also much looser.  And that deep pain in my inner thigh that never seemed to go away, I haven’t felt it in years.  It’s no longer about what I want to achieve on the bike.  It’s simply about how I feel on the bike.  At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re faster than me or if I’m faster than you.  It doesn’t even matter if I’m faster than I was yesterday.  All of that is in essence irrelevant.  The whole point is how riding makes me feel.  That revitalizing feeling.  The one that infiltrates every single aspect of my entire life.  The one that simply makes me a better human.  Yeah.  I think I’ll just keep on focusing on that.


Friday, September 10, 2021

My Fifty Three

I still remember a time, not long ago, when I thought 53 years old was ancient.  Over the hill.  An old man.  As my odometer rolls up to this digit today, I can’t really say that I feel how I once imagined I would feel at my age.  Then again, how is 53 supposed to feel like anyway?  I mean, I’ve made a certain peace with the fact that my body is gently falling apart.  It’s inevitable.  Part of this whole deal.  But I also recognize this transformation as a privilege.  Too many don’t get to see what they look like with grey or no hair and wrinkled skin.  Too many don’t get to experience the physical sensations of living in this middle-aged body.  For that, I am very grateful to have been gifted this past year.  My flesh and bones aren’t what they used to.  But inside, I can definitely feel changes that are slowly happening as well.  Self-acceptance.  Nothing to prove anymore.  A deeper understanding of my own truthfulness.  They say that age is just a number.  But maybe age is really more a level of consciousness.  A measure of how connected we are to our true self.  A gauge of how disconnected we have become from our ego.  Maybe aging well is about awareness and letting what was never real in the first place die to make room for the emergence of who we really are.  Maybe growing old gracefully is in our ability to sit and breathe peacefully in silence.  Maybe it’s all about growing younger in our authenticity.  An ongoing inner truth revolution.  This is my 53.  


Friday, September 3, 2021

This Glorious Silence

My life has been very loud lately.  Unrelenting background pandemonium.  My racing mind trying to make sense of these things that are in essence mostly senseless.  This human condition.  Is it all in my head?  Am I the only one hearing it all?  Sunday morning.  All this noise makes me long for solitude.  I need it.  To hush this commotion.  To quiet this outer racket in an attempt to also silence this inner uproar.  Just me and my bike, out to Fundy National Park.  Pedaling up Whitetail, the noise evaporates as I steadily disappear into the silence behind it.  This tranquil forest.  Where truth lives.  Soothing.  Comforting.  At the mid-way point of the Black Horse trail, I stop at the cabin hoping that it isn’t rented.  It’s empty.  I take my glasses, helmet and backpack off and sit.  They chose to build the cabin in this exact spot for a reason.  The view of the Bay of Fundy beyond the thick forest is amazing.  The deep glorious silence of this spot in the vast woodland making me feel so very insignificant.  Not in a bad way.  Simply putting me in my place.  Shifting my entire perspective.  Part of me dying.  Part of me reborn. The re-emergence of a certain clarity.  I have become most comfortable and at peace alone in the woods. No matter how loud the question, I have learned that the answer is always sitting alone amongst the silence of the trees.  I can’t tell you how long I stayed there.  Time seemed to stand still.  All I know is that the person who got back on his bike for the second half of the ride was a totally different person than the one who rode there moments earlier.