Stabile: The Crowner
On being present
“I know it’s hard,” said moon. “But if you’re always looking for the new day, you’ll never experience the night.”
Thoughts while making
When I was 21, I decided to do a solo bike trip down the coast of California. I had a crappy bike. Hadn’t trained well. Didn’t have enough money. But somehow I decided it was a good idea. It was not. For years, I have referred to this as My Failed Bike Trip.
The first few days of the trek are hilly, really hilly. And the roads are especially curvy. I remember creeping up those climbs, hoping that around every next turn was the top. I was disappointed again and again; my energy being sapped by all the effort I was putting into these unmet expectations.
I did this for days. My body gave out in a week, but my mind had given out much earlier.
I’m an avid mountain biker now, and – ironically – one of my favorite things to do is climb. Somewhere along the way, I learned that trying to see what’s coming around the bend – what’s next, as it were – is often a recipe for disappointment and frustration.
My power comes in being present to the terrain I am currently on in the actual moment and focusing my energies and abilities there.
By being present, I’m (largely) able to short circuit the unhelpful storytelling I do when I’m thinking more about what’s ahead, and normally fearfully, than where I am now. You know, those stories that you tell yourself that you’re not strong enough, that you don’t have what it takes, and so on.
A lot of what’s happening in our world makes me think about this right now, about how hard it is to be present when many of us are wanting to know where the top of this hill is. It’s stressful not knowing how tall this mountain is or what’s hidden behind the curves in the road. Asking ourselves individually, “Will I be strong enough? Will we have what it takes?”
I got on my bike trainer today inspired by the person I made this stabile for and did a virtual ride down the exact highway I rode in California. Instead of worrying about what was coming, I looked side to side, saw the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds. It was a good ride.
What did you learn about yourself today?