Nobody can hurt me without my permission-
The dictionary loosely defines equanimity as “mental calmness and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” Equanimity refers to a mind that is at peace even in the face of stressful and unpleasant experiences.
Many, if not all of us have experienced this dissatisfaction. The absence of peace arises from our longing for our live(s) to be different, even when we have absolutely no control over the particular circumstance(s) in question.
After sharing my numerous injuries and “circumstances” with you over the past four or so years, I have spent countless posts lamenting, nauseously, for my life to be the way it was before the surgeons incisions healed. The constant complaining found in the archives here, have made me miserable to be around. Gradually, with the help of some amazing and caring people (like you) – I came to witness that our lives have their share of both joy and suffering, and the only way I could find peace again was to stop trying to change circumstances over which I had no control of, and instead, choosing to start where I am at in this beautiful moment.
When I see that I am not just suffering, when I am not just frustration or sadness. When I notice during yoga class I’m not super flexible or the perfect manifestation of a particular pose … Equanimity helps me to calmly wait for “things” to change.
With equanimity, I try to start each day with where I am, looking around to see what life has to offer.
Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity-
*I wrote this post during a brief stop, riding a century one scoring hot weekend last summer in Nebraska. I’m not sure why I didn’t publish it at the time, maybe I was on to something, or maybe not. It’s safe to say that I walk a path in this beautiful world differently than most, and this philosophy carries over into how I help folks to compete, not on the road – but rather in this thing called life*
I am fortunate and humbled by the amazing people I get to talk with each day. The most captivating, and certainly the most personal moments occur when we struggle to “spit it out“, to put into words the thoughts that lie at the very edge of our ability to put them forth as meaningful words, a dense conversation full of wonder and meaning. Each of us has experienced the feeling of straining, against the very limit(s) of putting our thoughts into words, or even these well intended thoughts into actions.
Opening people’s eyes to the real benefits of yoga and training athletes is more than just enhancing their ability in a tangible way (inflated numbers – fleeting results), but rather – developing deeper thinking, a curious mind and wondering too. This really bothers me, deeply. You know what? It flat-out pisses me off … If you can’t think what you can’t say? Don’t put your thoughts into action – with only half your heart. I’m comfortable saying for the first time on this platform, that I am gently leading you on a journey for more words, deeper thought and wondering, exploring different ways to say, see and doing “things“.
Many of us are comfortably corralled within the limits of our power of thought, speech and outward actions. We don’t think anything we can’t say and we can’t say much. The truth of the matter, we don’t even come close to doing the things we can do, and we certainly don’t do much. More often than naught, a closed mind isn’t stubborn, just stunted in its ability to grow, in hibernation so to speak. I feel the same way in-regards to how we live in this byzantine world we called home now-a-days.
To get by in the ultra competitive world we live in, all we need is a few things to think and say, a few things to do, and a few ways to stop our thoughts from running beyond what we’ve already thought.
I feel my work here is done, be well and do take care.
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour-
Search “self-help” this morning using your WordPress reader, and you are likely to find a billion posts listed under “self-esteem.” Let’s be fully open and honest – The sole purpose of these posts is to not only tell you why your self-esteem is suffering, but rather to guide your delicate heart to more of it.
Why is this so?
Self esteem is considered the pinnacle of true individual success. How can we possibly get ahead of the next person in life, unless we intimately believe we are perfect, and perfectly awesome!
In order to be perfectly awesome? We live in quiet terror of making mistakes in life, and we feel utterly devastated when we do. Our defense mechanism is to refocus our attention on the “things” we do well …
Stroking our own ego, relentlessly until our hearts forget this horrible episode of not being “awesome” and moving on to “something” more satisfying.
How does this relate to yoga practice, cycling, running and whatever else?
It’s important to understand, when I discuss self-compassion during a post … I’m discussion what self-compassion is not. Some folks like to think self-compassion is giving yourself a break, taking it easy. In essence self-compassion is simply accepting responsibility for, YOU. The difference lies not in where we end up during a flow of poses (the flow of life), but in how we process the ups and downs of the journey, our path in life.
Self-compassion is a willingness to look at our own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding – To err, is indeed human.
The “trick” in life is to allow ourselves to make mistakes without feeling humiliated … Tune in and take notice of your abilities, your actions, and evaluate what needs to be done “differently” next time around.
I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them-
WARNING – What you are about to read will cause a chain reaction (literally) during your Saturday morning club ride. Lycra clad purist will recoil in horror if you whisper in hushed tones “Franken-Dingle” chasing the head of the line. For you see, some believe that Franken-Dingle does exist, that there is carbon clad, sub
20 pound make that 18 pound Dual Speed (<–What?!?) road bikes tearing up gravel roads and local crit circuits from hither and yon. It should also be noted that the trendy – hip – ironic folks at the corner bodega recoil in horror upon seeing this bike.
For some of us shade tree bike mechanics, building and riding bikes is just for fun, a way to enjoy a hobby that’s in line with our thoughts and beliefs about living simply. Understanding the significance of embracing humility is profound– we rebuild Bianchi Reparto Corse wheel-sets to wither time away during the evening after work, we adjust and tune Campagnolo Centaur Century Grey crank-sets with our kids on the weekend to teach them the virtues of proper chain length – line and tension. Although for others (like the dude writing you this morning), living simply and riding simply is a method to connect to a larger set of philosophies and principles.
My decision to embrace living simply, is simply my way of staying grounded in the face of a high-tech, sped-up, warp-drive world. Turning a wrench, teaching my son hands on, building and riding bikes offers a passionate connection to the long-lost tradition of “doing” rather than “let me Google it real quick … “. We truly are adrift in a sea of mass culture and gadgets.
My challenge to you? Put a claim in on your true self, click in and ride, set a path to a more reflective, more fulfilling life. Pretty cool huh?!?
*All the pieces and parts on this wonderful ride were sourced from the following: Local Bike Shop(s), Craigslist, Friends and finally the garage my wife said was getting “cramped” with spare bike parts everywhere!*
Frame – Crank-Set – Seat Post – Saddle – Headset – Handlebars – Stem – Brakes … From a good friend.
Wheelset – Campag Cogs/Spacers … Bartered and traded gear at my Local bike shop.
Fork – Cables – Housing … Met an awesome family on Craigslist, selling a “crashed” Felt Z Series road bike. Top tip: Strap down your bike on your vehicle before heading out on the highway!
Bar Tape – Brake Levers … Bought at the bet bike shop in Omaha – Omaha Bicycle Co.
Chain Stop – Bottom Bracket – Chain – Chain Tensioner – Pedals – Tubes/Tires … The messy garage!
Our modern world moves way too fast, and our lives would be more fulfilling, dense with meaning and purpose if we slowed “things” down just a touch …
Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude-
How many times did you notice this weekend your thoughts and emotions going in two different directions?!? A quick show of hands … Cool, we have a few shaky hands poking up in the back of the room.
We often experience this state of mind whilst practicing yoga, running along a scenic trail, holding hands with a loved one. Our burdened mind tells us that we should forgive, let go of these dreary thoughts and be fully present in this beautiful moment. However, our hearts may be holding on to feelings of bias, doubt and not being able to forgive. Our heats long to forgive, although the rancidity of the thoughts tumbling around in our mind keeps bringing up of past wrongdoing(s).
We create our own limitations when we consciously choose not to forgive.
My hope this week is to share with you and shed a little light on the profound idea that forgiving yourself (and others) is a choice, a choice that we control and a choice that will have the most impact on whatever you choose to engage in (yoga, running, loosing a few pounds etc).
Forgiveness is a powerful feeling, even more powerful than your best 5k time. Forgiveness will release you on the “mat“, in “life“.