All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray
I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day
I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.
California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day
— “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas & The Papas
Baby, It’s Cold Outside. So What? Go Exercise, Dude.
A Dude Abikes does not think of himself as a quitter but he has let go of many things over time, some by choice, others not (car, job, a really nice pair of Ray Bans). Some wisely, like trying to be a vegan. Others, maybe not so skillful, like eating frozen pizza (haven’t had one of nature’s most perfect foods this year so far). Today I kept my walking every day for a month practice going. If I Don’t Break The Chain and make it all year, I’ll have walked over 400 miles — on purpose! Someday maybe I’ll be at a weight where I’ll feel it’s safe to run again without damaging my feet and joints. For now, I’m just getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other for half an hour, even if it’s 28 degrees F like today. That quality of doing it no matter what that I’ve tapped into with the yoga, biking and no-car-having is not really something you can teach. But I think everyone has the capacity for being resolute, stubborn, determined or committed. I also put on 19 articles of clothing, so I was prepared like a good Boy Scout. Yes, A Dude really was an Eagle Scout.
Where Does It All Lead, A Dude?
A friend took me to see Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi the other day. At one point (and it’s in the trailer so it’s not a spoiler) Luke says to Rey, “This isn’t going to go the way you want it to.” That line, and the movie as a whole, spoke deeply to me. Sure, because I’m a fan of the movies, but also in its spacey, pseudo-spiritual way, the film does tap into some life’s bigger questions: Why are we here? What is our purpose? How do we discover our gifts? How do we become our highest, best-est selves? Do we serve good or evil? And how the heck did Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro end up in this sci-fi movie?
These questions are good to consider now that I’ve reached my goal of bicycling 10,000 miles in two years, have survived being laid off my job of 11 years, and I’m not getting any younger. I read this book in college and still like this quote:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet
A Dude is no Jedi (or at least has never been tested for midichlorians in his blood) but if The Force exists and does live within and between all of us and all things, then the answer to many of our questions is already inside. We just have to unearth that information buried in the vast library of our minds. Simple, not easy. For me, while I’m searching for the next thing to do for income, I’m no longer so worried about whether I achieve this goal or that goal. That’s because I’m heading in the right direction: resting, walking and writing more, biking less but more efficiently by getting set up to use the trainer inside, doing yoga with a teacher online, cooking and eating more vegetables, and so on.
Of course I will still compete against myself on the bicycle for mileage, speed and other benchmarks. A year ago, I shared my story with Pam at the newspaper and she wasn’t interested. This year, she was. So, no, I don’t know how it’s going to go; no one does. But I’ve found that if I head in the right direction things will usually go better than sitting in inertia. By the way, I alluded to winter and Rumi in the title on purpose. We barely got any white stuff on the ground, and I didn’t include a Rumi quote. Just keeping you on your toes!
I would like to thank my brother for connecting me with James Clear, whose blog articles I now receive twice weekly. The latest one, spoke to me and informed some of this post. You can read Clear’s post here: “Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead”
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