Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Riding the Wave

This post speaks to the last one May 14th titled Life: An Opportunity for Resilience .. Perhaps I am being moved to write this because of the challenge I see in people around me or perhaps I am reiterating this as a reminder to myself!
I was out on a 100-km ride yesterday. I have often commented that I "much prefer to ride my bike in Europe" and that I find Ontario "boring" with its absence of anything greater in gradient than an anthill! Sounds pretentious, doesn't it?! I air these frivolous woes with quite a supercilious disposition: pompous and patronizing, you would think I am nothing less than cycling royalty!
Yesterday's ride changed my mind: heading north, wind at my back and effortless pedalling allowed me to really look around. Beautiful Ontario farms, stretches of forest and the smell of poplar buds and fresh pine graced my senses. It is in these moments that I feel like my life is perfect. It is when life is flowing with me and I am riding the wave of the wind, that I see and experience beauty.
This beauty however, went as quickly as it came, when I realized the head-wind turning south. A few moments of struggling against it in the extreme heat, coupled with a wrong turn led to a shortage of water and quick dehydration. I went from travelling 38+ km/hr without effort to struggling against wind, gumby-legged and the efficiency of jello at 22km/hour. I had "cracked".
Panic did not set in however, because I am all to familiar with this "cracking". The mind begins to wander, the breath becomes laboured, the feeling of effort does not translate to your recorded speed and thoughts that your odometer MUST be broken, cross your mind.
In these moments of really trying to get home, I got to thinking: how interesting is it that on the effortless journey north, all I perceived was beauty and wonder. However, now travelling through the same scenery against challenge, I cannot see beauty for the life of me regardless of it being ever present. It is an interesting metaphor for life really: when challenge faces us, all the beauty that is STILL in the present moment is absolutely imperceptible due to the shroud of our own experience.
In an experience of synchronicity, I came across this short video last night (yes, I did make it home - and beauty was restored after a few large glasses of water and some much needed food)!
Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about finding beauty in every moment despite our subjective experience of it. Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fpLGpeeW5c