Sunday, 23 September 2012

Golden Reminders of the present

After a full morning or seeing four clients in four hours and quickly completing paperwork, I jumped into my car to meet a co-worker for a meeting.  I winded my way up through the dim parking garage and then punched into the sunlight of the beautiful day.  My eyes were met with spectacular beauty.  The mountainside was washed in piercing gold, the glittering Aspen trees in the depths of their fall ritual.  I paused, reflecting on the amazing transformation that happens each year.  It was a great reminder that change is always occurring and is a natural process.  Finding beauty and positive in change gives hope.  The beauty of fall is really the death of millions of leaves, which must die for a tree to live through the harsh, frigid winter.  Then in spring, the cycle is begun again.  A wonderful reminder for life.  Some days are busy and hectic, others calm and relaxing, and others everything in between.  Remembering to find the beauty in each moment and not wish it live in the present.  From personal experience, I have found when I am living in the present, I feel alive and really have no other time or place I'd rather be.  When I am living in the future (which is what happens to me most), misery starts to creep in, my mood becomes depressed, I become more grouchy.  Why would I choose to live in the future?!  I am grateful for the visual reminder that is hard to miss right now!    Later, pushing my bike pedals up, up, up...trying to not listen to the negative thoughts  ("why am I doing this, I suck at this, I'm so out of shape") and notice the rhythm of my strokes, my breathing, scan my body for where there is tension and where there is not.  Again, the golden leaves catch my eyes and take my breath away.  The wind blows and it begins to rain gold.  I am brought out of myself and into the reality of the calm serenity around me.  Greg is stopped up ahead to take in the breathtaking views and colors...I join him, catching my breath, no longer feeling the physical suffering but immense gratitude for being alive.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Yoga through mountain biking

Moving to the Vail Valley has given me endless access to enjoying the mountains.  I've been doing a lot of hiking and backpacking to many spectacular alpine lakes and summits that have stunning, 360 degree views.  It's been so wonderful to feel grateful each day to be living is such beauty.  Another way of enjoying the mountains, which is very popular here, is mountain biking.  I use to mountain bike over ten years ago, but switched to road biking when I met my partner.  Now that we are back in the mountains, I have found myself back on a mountain bike and enjoying myself immensely, even when I've found myself hiking more than riding.

We joined some friend recentlys in Crested Butte, a small mountain town with a mining history, surrounded by colorful, beautiful mountains and famous for its mountain biking trails.  On a prior ride, the weekend before, I realized that by using my breath to relax my mind while riding, I was able to ride through obstacles that were causing my mind to freak out and thus causing me to bail off my bike.  Hmmmmm, how many more yoga techniques could I apply to mountain biking?

When we went for our morning ride on Saturday, the trail we started on was a little technical, which for me means difficult.  I was falling off like crazy. At first I found my mind saying, "I suck at this, maybe I'm not really in to it.  Should I really buy a mountain bike if I never use it because I walk it more than ride it?"  It dawned on me that some of my worry and anxiety from the work week was coming into my biking.  I told my friend, Ann, who I was riding with about it and immediately I felt myself calming.  By being honest with myself and my friend about where I was at mentally, helped improve my skills.  I started enjoying the ride more and laughing at myself when I couldn't get past an obstacle. I noticed the spectacular scenery more, the aspens and brush starting to change colors, marking the changing of the seasons.  The terrain started to get more mellow and I gained more confidence.  Accepting myself helped!

In the afternoon, we went on a great ride that matched my beginner's ability.  Towards the latter part of the ride, there was a steep downhill to a river with a nice run out.  (At least to me it was steep).  As I started to descend,  my mind screamed out in sheer terror.  Usually when this happens, my reaction is to brake, making me feel like I'm going to flip over my handle bars, so I bail off my bike.  Instead, I over road the fear and let go of the brakes.  I flew down the hill effortlessly and on to the run out.  I whooped for joy, I was so amazed and energized.  What a spectacular lesson.  In the face of fear, let go, face it head on and be met with pure joy.  How many times do we try to control fear, only to have things feel worse?  This happens to me often.  But in those moments when I'm willing to let go and face the fear, I can't think of a time when I haven't been met with a positive outcome and renewed faith in myself.  Have the courage to just let go...