Insignificant; or NOT

From a scribbling I put together a few yrs back with a few small changes. But the spirit of thankfulness, perspective and inspiration remains. I thank God every day for the gifts I have to use at my disposal and why perspective, inspiration and gratitude will always be a theme that dominates my writing.

Like most of my longer training rides on the bike, the goals are simple. Ride until eventually my body learns to the art of minimizing my muscles demands for oxygen to metabolize an increase in blood lactate and increase overall aerobic thresholds. Usually my journey begins with pain in the legs but usually ends up taxing everything from between one ear to the next and back. Tonight’s ride should be no exception.

As turmoil has been a steady companion of late I guess I should have known better. After 2 hours plus of burning the quads with several climbs, I suddenly noticed one of my favorite things in life. The sky was turning all shades of red and blue and the South Bay was preparing for a spectacular show as the sun fell behind the sea. I glided to the end of Hermosa Beach pier and just sat there in a now cold sweat, watching the sky and the water try to outdo each other as if it were a duel of master painters. It was chilly and I was wearing nothing more than swim-bike shots, lycra form fitting vest and arm warmers. But the cold never affected me as I stared at the show like a kid at a first circus waiting for the next thing to happen.

Then the inevitable began to happen….I began to think…Shit; too late now as this ball had already started to roll. For those who can’t sleep at night due to a restless mind know what I am talking about. I stared deep into and beyond the swirls of color mixing the waters currents and then upwards beyond the colors of the sky until the colors were all but gone. Suddenly I could see a star shining over the horizon and it did not appear to be a planet. My astrology is lacking so I can’t tell which star it was, but it caused me to do what most of us have done one time or another; feel really, really small..

I began to think about time and space and my place in it. And in the end how do my problems even matter? How could they? But to me they freeze me in my tracks; every time.

A “first down” in football is ten yards. It takes light to travel that far in about 30 nano-seconds and light can go 300 million yards (or 30 million first downs) in ONE second.

The same little beam of misguided light would take 1 1/4 seconds to get to the moon and to the sun (which is BTW 109 times the size of the Earth) and would take little Mr light beam 8 minutes to arrive.. Hang with me, there is a point.

Jupiter is further out and would take 40 light-minutes to feel the love and Pluto is a whopping 5 ½ hours away for the train to reach its station and far too many first downs for me to figure out.

Now for the amazing part.. That twinkling and insignificant wobble in the sky is no less than 4 ½ years away for that wayward beam of light to arrive. Beyond that, my head just really begins to hurt. It must be from slamming it into that brick wall they built at the very end of the Universe back when the UFO’s also build the Pyramids of Ghiza. It’s enough to imagine our little hub of insignificance in all of this expanse too large to wrap my mind fully around.

But if I were to try…..

The nearest cluster of Galaxy (the Virgo Cluster~only remembered because I am one) is
50 million light years away and to totally blow the top of your head off, the visible edge of the universe is 13,700,000,000 (yes, billion) light years away. Or as Cal Sagan would have said “beillionn.”

So back to our little flickering and dim light in an otherwise endless forest full of Sequoia Christmas trees we have to ask ourselves the same question. Do we count? Do we matter at all in the end?

From events unfolding form warring nations, all the way down to even the little kid crying because Santa’s gift this year wasn’t what was wished for and everything else in between, it’s just a pimple on a pimples ass in the end of a flea no less. That is if fleas actually could get a pimple of course. One day it will be dead silent here and really dark and cold. Somewhere zillions of first downs away and even more zillions of years something will be crawling out of the mud to choke on it’s first breath. Or two overzealous leaf bearing zealots will hook it up again,…But life will come to be. Somewhere out there..

Whatever happens, will they eventually stand at the end of a pier one year and look out to the sky and begin to feel just as small and even insignificant?

As I turned my bike around to ride several, but not too many first downs back to my home, a father and son ( I presumed he was his son) approached me for a picture. I said sure and suggested we use the faded light of the ocean for the background as I reached for the camera. The father said no, it was his son who wanted the picture with me. I just stood there and didn’t know what to say. I was sure they thought I was someone else. It’s happened plenty of times before. So I kept on saying nothing and smiled for the photo with my arm around the kid.

The smile on the teen aged kid was enough to answer my question with out a word being spoken. I was not about to discourage that amazing smile.

Hell yes, I mattered, I mumbled to myself under my breath.. Or at least the guy they thought I was did…It really didn’t matter. I connected with someone the very second I asked this silent question and it was evident.

If this was not significant in any big pictures and about my place in it, then what does that say about me?

I glided back down the pier with my bike toward home.

He glided back down the pier in his wheelchair..

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For New Years ~ Reboot yourself

rebootWe all tend to live with an eye on what’s to come based on what has already happened in our lives. The struggle just to get through any given day often forces us to shift our brains into a gear that is meant for plowing forward and gobbling up as much (chores or work) as possible. Most of that time is spent wondering about where the time will come from and the energy to pursue with focus.

Life becomes a never ending stream of checklist, littered with post it notes, leading us faster down a familiar but ultimately unrewarding path. With every passing year, more and more energy on managing the day itself becomes increasingly important.

We are bombarded with notes like, wash the car, clean the yard, pay the bills

pick up groceries, do laundry, fill cars up with gas, pick up kids and drop off form school, get to gym, etc . And thats on our off time like the weekends, except for picking up the kids from school I suppose.

When do we ever to create post it notes like ,take deep breaths, stop and help someone who needs it, slow down or simply think about our dreams. How about ask a friend, neighbor or family member how they are really doing and actually listen until they are done. Take an interest and become something larger than ourselves.

I come from the very definition of a blue collar family, I know first hand how hard it is to turn off the “work mode” and completely relax. Don’t get me wrong, work is really good for the soul. In fact, there are few things that feels as good as a job well done. There has to be a balance though. A long time ago, I turned to Yoga to help me with my triathlon training. I found it also allowed myself the space on ability to take a simple unregulated breath with out any concept other than to feel the air go in and fill my lungs and then leave in a long purging breath out. Sounds simple, but to someone like me, it took months to allow myself to do so with out peeking out squinted eyes to see if every one else was doing the same thing and not all looking at me make a fool of myself. I have been a worker bee my whole life. It’s burned into to who I am as a person. Even in college, I did not go to parties until all my homework and studying was done. Many times I wandered completely sober into a rager well after 1 or 2 am feeling like the only sober person on Earth. But that worker bee attitude also was instrumental getting me caught up there fast enough as well.

Simply saying to get out there and do something and get off the damned couch is lazy and well; simple. It really serves no purpose other than to tell others what their doing wrong. I’d rather offer ideas and underscore the means to connect them to every day reality in an effort maybe reach at least a single person out there who may want a little to a lot more out of life; your life.

So try this project: Take a day and drop off the face of the earth from it all. Turn off the smart phones, computers and TV’s. I know, God forbid! Put some music on and make a home cooked meal with a significant other and the agree to only discuss “trivial pursuits” like philosophy, dreams and wishes…forget anything and everything that reminds us of the day to day task that bury us and our dreams alive.

Stop living in your past and thinking too far into the future and see what its like to feel the here and now .If geographically available climb a mountain, take a long swim in the ocean, go for a bike ride, lay back in the largest field you can find and watch the clouds roll over, etc….

One does not need to be and adrenaline junkie, but if you talk to enough of them there is a very common theme. When climber thinks of a mountain to climb, for instance, there are all kinds of thoughts and ideas into the route, a day, the weather conditions, etc..but when the first step is made at the base of a sheer face, the mind switches to the hear and now. It has to. Each step is calculated, each breath monitored and the brain begins to feel the moment with hi definition with alarming clarity. So much so, that everything that was clouding your thought patterns with bombarding task off the “to do list” is gone. Think of your brain like a computer that has not been turned off for months and has all of those programs running in the background. Its slow, unresponsive and will shut down in an unpredictable way and mostly at the worst time.

Clear out the dead wood in your life or those who continually drag you down. Allow the programs running interference to all be turned off and start of fresh. This does not mean to shun all those that may disagree with you. The ones who challenge you to expand and think deeper should actually be help in high regard. Say good-by to the narcissist in your ives and those who bask in constant negativity. We all know who they are. Sometimes they are even family. If they don’t change, you must. But its crucial you are honest with yourself here as we all tend to protect those who hurt us the most in this regard. This is where the courage must manifest itself. Do you have what it takes?

Rebooting ourselves and clearing the debris to launch the thoughts that we decide to program and not the ones that bombard us though news-bites, headlines, bad apples etc

Fill you heart with life, wonder and love and give it back to those who are in your lives. Pick up someone emotionally and making their day a bit brighter. Then sit back and feel how it affects you. Its the absolute best feeling there is. It feeds you.

So start the new year off with a gift to yourself that is long overdue..just hit  the “reboot” button..Never to beconfused with the “reset” button..We all know that one does not work:)