a few days ago, i went for a bike ride. i'd just gotten my bike out of the shop the preceding day and hadn't been on a ride for some time. after several weeks off the bike, i loved the experience of riding again. i pedaled along, enjoying the feel of the muscles and joints in my legs working together to propel the bike forward. it was a cool morning, and the refreshing breeze that blew across me as i rode was a welcome friend, one that hadn't brushed across me for awhile. sailing down the hills, letting the bike be pulled along by gravity and inertia, thrilled me. the ride was both relaxing and exhilarating--relaxing because i had no deadlines, no appointments, no goal; exhilarating because it felt so good to use those muscles again, to experience the effort of pedaling uphill in order to fly back down as fast as i dared with others also using the path.
as i sat down to write, i wondered why all of life can't be like that bike ride: simply existing on its own, being just "to be," without measuring its worth against some arbitrary standard, not wondering whether fast was fast enough or effort expended was maximal. ideally, i suppose that's what one should allow life to be, but i, and i expect most of us, aren't content to live our lives that way. the little compartments of our minds busily churn out rules, goals, judgements. after all, that's the way we've been programmed from an early age. "you've got to swing that bat with the right form;" "watch that follow-through;" "come on, you can do better than that;" "pay attention, stop daydreaming." how many times do we hear those expressions or something like them as we develop? how many times have we said the same things to young people in our charge? we think we always have to improve--"don't just rest on your laurels, get back out there and do even better."
can we let all that go? i'm going to continue to try. may i (and you, too, if you're so inclined) let life be on its own terms, accepting what it brings with gratitude. may there be joy just in the fact that "i am alive. i have a precious human life," as the dalai lama said. may i make space for lovingkindness and compassion, not allowing those little mind gremlins to steal that space from me. shalom.