1 WAY TO MEDITATE EVERYDAY

Last post we spoke of the importance of spending time by yourself just being. This is often what people think of when they think of meditation. It is a fabulous way to get in touch with yourself and certainly something you could do while you escape to your spot in nature as we discussed last post.

This is not the only way to meditate. Quite often for people like myself who have a million thoughts running through their head at any given time it can be very difficult to just sit down and stop all the voices in their head. I must confess to a little bit of envy when I ask somebody what they are thinking and they genuinely reply, “Nothing.” With all of the benefits of meditation how can people like us still reap the benefits?

One way is to practice active meditation. It was a process developed by a man named Osho. I highly recommend looking up both the man and the researching the topic of active meditation. For those of you who like myself, never really enjoyed homework I will give you a brief look into the world of active meditation and how you can use the benefits in your own life. Originally, it was defined as a period of chaotic movement followed by a period of silence. It its simplest form this is what it is. It means you dance, yell, jump up and down and whatever else you can think of. Then, you just stand perfectly still and notice what happens with your body.

A more expanded definition of active meditation is really being totally mentally present while involved in a physical activity. I mentioned I was going for a bike ride While I was bike riding I was totally present in the experience. I noticed the feel of the wind as I biked. I enjoyed the view of the sun on the trees and the birds flying and singing all around me. I even enjoyed and stopped to talk to a deer along the way. I did not think about having to go to the post office later in the morning, what I was going to wear, or any other daily minutia we can get caught up in.

Even something as simple as walking can become a meditation. If you slow down and notice how you place your foot, the change in balance, the transfer of weight and every aspect of walking it can be a great way to actively meditate. Try doing this for just a minute. Then, as you get used to it, try to speed up while still remaining aware of everything. This takes some time but can be quite a fun experience once you get the hang of it. Try it with other activities as well. Drinking coffee, eating your breakfast. You can turn almost anything into a meditation.

Losing yourself in active meditation can be a great first step towards gaining control of your thoughts and emotions. I don’t know about you, but that is something I believe most of us could use a little more of. I would be interested to hear what activities you choose for your active meditation and what results you experience. Please feel free to share.

TIME TO ESCAPE

This was my view at about 7:30 this morning as I prepared to go for a bicycle ride. Only a small journey from where this picture is taken is a small clearing I like to go to and think, read or just relax. It not only provides me a nice walk in the park, but it gives me a place to recharge my soul.

In today’s busy world where we are constantly surrounded by people and technology, it can be hard to escape. That is why this weekend I recommend you have an escape. If you don’t have a special spot like mine, it may be a good time to start pondering where a good place for you might be. Ideally, this place should be a spot in nature. Losing all of the urban sounds that we experience daily will give you more peace than you can imagine. Even if you live in the heart of the city, find a park like I did where you may not be able to escape the sounds of the modern world entirely, but you can lose yourself by focusing on the sounds of nature. The wind blowing through the trees, birds singing, maybe even a small brook or creek near by.

The other caveat about selecting a spot is it should be somewhere you can be alone. As you can see in the photo above, you might have some visitors from time to time. In a world filled with constant interaction, whether it be in person, or now even on social media when we are by ourselves, finding time to spend with the person in the mirror is far and few between. Isn’t it great to spend time with others? Of course it is, but without spending time alone with our thoughts we can end up feeling lost. What do I mean by this? That is a great question. Let me ask you something and you tell me if it rings true for you. Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed? Have you ever walked into a room and forgot if you were coming or going?

A lot of us are so focused on giving to others we forget to stop and think of what we may need or what our goals for our life is. We are focused on giving to our families, our job and our friends. There is nothing wrong with helping others and being a productive member of society. If we do that at the expense of ourselves we can end up feeling burnt out and unable to give anything to anyone.

Take time to escape this weekend. Spend at least 30 minutes alone and preferably in nature. If you are anything like me you will leave not only recharged, but with a sense of joy and inner peace you did not have when you arrived. Begin to think of your spot today and escape with yourself this weekend. I would love to hear how it affected you. Feel free to come back to this post on Monday and share in the comments below. Even though you will be by yourself, you never know who you will meet.

TAKE YOUR TIME

I recall a cousin of mine when I was young who was always frustrated at not being able to ride a bike. It seemed they had taken longer than the normal child would to master the skills of balance and coordination needed to go forward without the assistance of training wheels. Eventually, they learned and were able to harness the freedom a bicycle affords you when you are a child.

This would not have been able to happen without their parents there to refuse to allow them to give up and quit, which was a desire my cousin expressed many times. When we are children, if we are in a healthy family situation, there is always somebody encouraging and refusing to allow us to accept no for an answer. It could be a parent, a caring teacher or even an older sibling.

When we are adults this is often not the case. If an adult expresses the desire to give up because the results they are seeking seem just out of grasp who is to tell them no? If you need an example, look no further than me trying to operate with any sort of skill on the dance floor. Another thing we seem unwilling to do as adults is to move outside our comfort zones. Quite often we stay with just what we are good at. There is some wisdom to this. If there is something you enjoy and are naturally talented at, it would serve the world best if you were to focus on that.

If, however, like most adults, you have a yearning to master a skill you are not quite proficient at don’t let the speed of which those skills seem to be coming to you discourage you. It seems the fear of looking foolish, or even not talented in front of others is a fear most of us are unable to leave in childhood. Comparing yourself to others around you will rarely serve you. As a quick reminder, the harder you have to work at something, the greater the victory when you finally accomplish it. Keep going my friend.

KEEP THEM COMING!

KEEP THEM COMING!

20170409_124751This is a picture of the annual bike expo I attend. In recalling the first time I attended I assumed it was just row after row of bicycles you could buy. At that point I was beginning my passion for the sport. Soon I discovered there is a world inside of this sport. Inside the expo, which happens to take place at the Wisconsin state fair my favorite place to be, there are stands for different charity rides, stands for different bicycle shops, magazines relating to the sport, even clothing and accessories.

  • Here are a few things that make the bike expo something I look forward to each and every year. First, it happens just as the weather is starting to warm up. Despite living in a state that feels like it is winter eleven and a half months a year, I am really a sunshine and warm weather person. Seeing all this fabulous equipment designed to be used in warmer temperatures lifts my spirits and takes my thoughts to wonderful rides out in nature. Mini mental vacations are something I advocate regularly, and this provides a good one.

In addition it motivates me to return to the sport. Something for the last 2 years I have been a bit lax in. this spring finds me in the best shape I have been in for almost 10 years. I did it using several of the tips I share on this website, so I am looking forward to getting on my bicycle and exploring my neighborhood and the trails in it. This makes the thought of getting in better shape actually exciting and something to look forward to.

A third thing I enjoy is meeting people involved in the sport. They have people who give demonstrations on everything from how to change your bicycle tires, to healthy eating. You meet people who share different trails you never knew existed, some are even close to home! You can easily hear recommendations on everyone’s favorite things to drink, trails to ride, places to visit and a million other areas involved directly, or indirectly with cycling.

What is the point of all of this? How do I use my passion for a bicycle expo to live an amazing life, and more importantly, how can it help you do the same? Allow me to share with you. During the winter my sense of positivity can be a bit challenged. Some days it can seem the temperature will never be above freezing and I will never see the color green again. Knowing this about myself I try several things to help myself. This year I took a trip to Las Vegas with my beautiful lady. I often visit the local Horticultural exhibit here which is filled with living plants 365 days a year. In addition I try to give myself things to look forward to. I also like to take that one step further and examine the reasons I have to look forward to them. This is a step that takes life from great to phenomenal. Instead of just ‘looking forward to the bike expo’ I think about trails I would like to learn about, perhaps a new shirt or biking jersey I would like to purchase. I take stock of any bike parts I may need.

Thinking of all the little things involved in a pleasurable experience grows that feeling. It also can take it from a single day or weekend into a week, or even longer. My greatest example is the afore mentioned Wisconsin state fair. It is my single favorite thing to attend each and every year. Anyone who knows me remotely well, understands I begin planning for the next year the day after the current year fair ends. What did I not get to see? Was there a food I wanted to try? Something I wanted to purchase? Then right about now discount tickets go on sale. I make going to purchase them a special day. Around June, the preview book comes out. I like to sit down and learn what things are new and what I am going to look forward to doing. I have state fair shirts I wear that remind me of the good times to come as well. There is even more, but you can see how I have turned a once a year event into a virtual all year celebration.

So I encourage you to come up with a few things to look forward to. We will get into that a little more tomorrow, but start to come up with a few ideas now. Even think of ones you already have. The holidays maybe? Family vacation? Start to examine all of the fun you have during these events and how you can begin to expand them to enjoy all year long? Maybe sit down with your spouse to look at fun vacation destinations? Look at pictures from vacations past and discuss the new fun things you will do this year!

Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.