Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Finding the child within

Sadly, I hate to say, I've somehow lost--or at least temporarily misplaced--my inner child.  Since February, it's been playing this nasty little game of hind and seek, being hidden sometimes more than found.  I've gone through these "funks" before.  They are usually spurred on by seasonal changes, large unexpected life changes, too many obligations or lack of sleep.  In the past few months, I've repeatedly hit three out of four.  As a Virgo, with a "type A" personality, I don't fare well with my boat being rocked.  No doubt, with age I've gotten better at coping, but when too many things are piled on me and I don't get a breather, I turn into a zombie.

I don't like talking about this stuff with my friends--or anyone else for that matter-- because I feel like I'm doing a "Dear Diary" session.  I've learned, however, that turning inwards isn't just unhealthy but it can also alienate those I care deeply for.  Although biking isn't necessarily the holy grail or silver bullet for fixing these matters, it can help, if even for a brief moment.  Mix in some cool people who are also on two wheels and healing can sometimes naturally begin.

Last Sunday's group ride

I had to introduce a new friend to the goats

One thing that was brought to my attention, although I was already very much aware of it, was that I was falling into a slippery slope of living life as if  it were a checklist.  When I'm overly tired, this is a natural tendency for me.  Maybe it's the inner wilderness guide going into survival mode or maybe it's just that pesky "type A" personality, but it's a bad habit I lean towards.  Get through the winter riding season--check, start training for gravel season--check, finish Dairy Roubaix without killing myself--check, sign up for RW24--check, finish Almanzo--check...and so it went.  Yes, I was/am reliable and yes, my friends could always count on me, but was I having fun?

Nate showing off his new cycling attire
I laugh at this entire scenario since I just saw the Dalai Lama talk about being present.  Sure, I digested it, but somehow I forgot to apply it.  I was taught the importance of the "here and now" as a child by my "type B" mom.  She was always one to stop and smell the roses--something I admire greatly about her.  She studied  Eastern philosophy, as well as meditation, and tried her darnedest to instill some of these traits in me.  She did succeed since I do, often times, feel 100% present when I'm in the wilderness or just out in nature.  Being caught up in the city rat race is another story, and it's something I need to work on.  This is especially true since life is so short and one never knows what's coming in the near future.

As I promised a friend this weekend, I will force myself to pause and appreciate the amazing things around me more often.  I will take the scent of lilacs in bloom into my lungs as I ride past them.  I will slow my pace to watch the fawns in the near by prairies.  I will listen to the frogs in the numerous ponds I ride by and I will laugh at the hilarious sock clothing choices my friends choose to wear for our weekly rides.  Essentially, I will reintroduce myself to child within.

Watching the full moon rise over the lake with a good friend

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