Tuesday, June 23, 2015
When I was young, I had a red, Kawasaki 125 dirt bike, complete with a kickstart, choke and hot, Southern evenings. I would count the hours until I could get home, finish homework, and head out the door to crank her up (sometimes, it would take a while) and just RIDE. She'd sputter and die, but I'd crank and crank until she'd finally start, engine spitting and oil smoking. I still remember that smell. My little brother had a Honda 50. Off we'd go, for hours, round and round our property on a circular trail until the dusk arrived, and the sun said goodbye. Summertime was the best. It was an absolute escape for me...and God did I desperately need that departure from my life. The only thing that was most difficult about my evening rides was the moment I'd reach the fork in the trail...the wide open dirt road. Every single time around, oh how I wanted to take that fork, and let go, go fast, and go free.
Now, I can take the fork on the wide open road, and I do so with great anticipation and great respect.
Great anticipation, because I never know what is waiting ahead for me after I round the bend. My senses, always heightened. For I must be fully and completely engaged in each moment, without hesitation. The sounds of my motor beneath me makes me feel alert and alive . Scents, so many wonderful, authentic, organic scents. Fragrant, blooming flowers and trees, the pine sap and grass. Pastures of green and smoking leaves. Birds swoop down from the sky, and seem to dance with me, if only for a moment. Hot air balloons gently lift off the ground. Sometimes, the setting sun is in front of me, sometimes, behind, but it's always there, surrounding me with blankets of soft light. It illuminates the road before me. I feel the changing temperature as I ride through an oasis of tall, towering trees. It's hot, it's cold, it's cool. Oh my God, deer appear, from out of nowhere. Now, I'm really alert and alive. Which is why I always greet my rides with respect.
It's a dance, this ride, and it's about honor. Honor and respect for a machine that is larger than me in so many aspects. Respect for others, respect for myself. But it's agreeable, and we dance together in beautiful harmony. The longer we are together, the more we bond. I get what I need...therapy and freedom from the endless to do lists, emails and "deliverables" of life. A chance to just be, for that's all I can be in this sacred space of me, a machine and mother nature. And it's empowering to master the ride. It's not about domination; it's about collaboration. And that waltz is wonderful and liberating, even ecstatic. It's flying, without wings.
For anyone, especially women, thinking about getting a bike, I highly encourage it. Yes, it's risky...but isn't everything in life, on some level? It's the degree of risk that supports the highest reward. I've never felt more free and more relaxed than when I'm riding. It's an addiction, a healthy one, that is fulfilling on some many levels. My father, one of the bravest men I know, having served three tours in Vietnam, is one of my biggest fans and advocates. He's been riding for years, and being able to share this love of the road with him is very special.
So I encourage you...take that fork in the road, and let go, go fast and go free. The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, especially on warm, Summer nights :-)
Posted by Sheila at 9:08 PM
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Do You Notice...
Do you notice? Do you? Do you notice the small, amazing, beautiful things in your amazingly beautiful life? Do you notice?
Do you notice the ever-changing hues of the sky under which you walk, every single day? How sometimes it's filled with soft, wavering tones of blues and pinks, and other days, it's fiery, consumed with shades of siennas and golds? How it transforms, like magic, from morning, to noon, to night? Do you notice the millions of stars, and vastness of our universe on a crystal, clear evening? Do you notice how you are part of this divinity? Small and infinite at the same time? Do you notice the rings around the moon, and how she shifts and moves, pregnant and full, to crescent and curved? Then how she disappears, only to peek out again, slowly, leisurely, night by night. Do you notice the clouds, when they are heavy with rain, or lazily passing by, with a soft, temperate breeze? Do you even notice the wind, how if feels against your skin, on a cool, summer evening, after a humid, hot day? Do you notice the sweat on your brow, and how it stings as it rolls into your eyes? Like bridled tears. Do you notice the scents of an early spring or a late fall? Sweetness of flowers, spice and fire. Do you notice how the wet grass on a midst-filled morning feels against your bare, soft feet? Or how the leaves look and sound when they twirl, gently, dancing to the ground to form a spellbinding kaleidoscope of color, blankets of beauty.
Do you notice the euphoria and gratefulness in your parent's voice when you call them just to say "hi"? Do you notice? Do you observe when they are sad, or lonely, missing you? Do you notice how blissful they are when you spend those extra few moments with them, that you "sacrificed" from you seemingly important and busy day? It makes them feel special and valued, even though you might be a million miles away, focusing on your insignificant to do lists. Are you truly, fully present with them, sharing that moment in time with them, that you will never, ever get back? Do you notice their unwavering devotion to you, their belief in you, and your dreams, if you are oh so fortunate? Do you really listen to the angelic sound of a child's innocent, immaculate giggle? Do you notice how they notice you? Emulating you, admiring you? How they stare into your eyes, to recognize, your soul? Do you notice how it feels with a wet, cold nose pressed against your cheek, a request to give you, selflessly, unconditional love? Do you notice a heart-filled welcome home, a magnificent gift after a long, hard, stressful, day? Do you? Do you notice?
Do you notice the seemingly insignificant, meager, subtle, small gifts we are given every single day in this amazingly, beautiful life? Please begin to notice. I am trying to notice.
Posted by Sheila at 8:21 PM