Mind Over Matter

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So 2015, it’s been nice knowing you. I’m not sure about the “older you get the faster time flies” thing because it seems this year has lasted longer than 365 days. And besides, when did I get old? Who am I kidding…

I know one thing for sure, if how I felt was a true measure to how old I am, I would not be able to buy beer. Of course, I  don’t feel that old. My mind is still telling my body that anything is possible, and it is more mind over matter anyway. Just tell that to the guy behind the counter at the liquor store.

So for 2016 I will make some promises to myself. Not the usual lies I tell myself every new year, but the ones that really, truly matter. Why we always pick the beginning of the year to make these random claims of personal improvements is beyond me, but here I go;

Laughing More – I need a huge belly laugh where the snorts and snot come from my nose. The kind where Diet Coke comes spraying from my mouth like a split radiator hose. Admit it, you want to laugh like that too.

Working on My Health – I know, right? My mind is telling the matter down below everything is fine, but at my age I know better. I need to stretch, walk and eat better for the health of it. Why? It’s the right thing to do and I can only imagine I would feel better. And besides, a nice evening walk gives me plenty of time to think. My motorcycle does the same thing but without all the cardio.

Take Some Time Off – I need this for my mental state. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but I’m sure it will depend on how I use this time off. Beer and Nacho Doritos or stretch, walk and be active? Mind over matter, right? I also want to take a ride someplace I haven’t been on my motorcycle. Maybe to the southwest. That’s where Nacho Doritos are made right?

Be a Better Listener – Pay attention and be present daily. Or better yet, shut up and let people talk. I have been told I’m a good listener and I have the stories to back this up. I have perfect strangers tell me things they may not tell anyone else. It must be the perfectly timed concerned nod I give.

Sunrise and Sunsets – I talk a lot about my morning and evening rides on my motorcycle reflecting on how beautiful these are and how each one is unique and beautiful in its own way. I also know others are looking at them too from their own perspective and vantage point, but from now on I’m going to appreciate the beauty of both the visual and spiritual sides of these daily wonders. The beauty as it happens and how and why it happens, and in turn, give thanks each day for this amazing gift.

Appreciate – So much wasted energy is given to those things we cannot change and I will dedicate this energy to appreciating all that is around me. I will also communicate my appreciation to those who are important to me. I hope you don’t mind, because this matters to me. Get it?

One thing is for sure, every day is a gift and there isn’t any point in wasting it. Make the most of your time spent on this earth and give it all you have while making a positive difference in someone else’s life.

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Wait Just a Second

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You might say it can happen just about anywhere. Sitting on a hillside watching the sun lay its head down after a long day, the quiet surrounding you tighter and tighter as it grows dark, or sitting on a rock at water’s edge as the waves come in to greet you. Peace. Center. This is what it’s all about it, as you struggle through the days feeling pulled in all directions – and for what? To have a few moments like this, where we find what we’re looking for within ourselves. It takes the beginning or the end of something to put it all into perspective. The constant motion of water, the sun coming up in the morning to start the day or the sunset to put an exclamation point at the end of another day in our lives. We seek these few precious seconds out of a day that has only so many to choose from. But we find them – they’re just mixed in with all the rest.

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Even the clear sky, lit from a full moon, can give us pause. We often feel the need to see something bigger than ourselves to jar our senses and rattle our being. I find a lot of these necessary fragments of time from behind the handlebars of my motorcycle. It’s a combination of direction, smells, sights and sounds that put me in my place. Life is so much bigger than the road I’m on. I’ve seen the power of a storm as I’m heading right into it – and the rainbow that follows. It’s only water, right? I often talk of the sun coming up in my mirror as I head West, or the sun setting as I roll down the highway, but mere words can’t do it justice. It’s an attitude of humility that surfaces and suddenly it’s me who becomes those precious few seconds in time. I’ve been on this planet for fifty-plus years, but to this planet my life is the equivalent to the blink of an eye.

I need these “larger than my life” moments to set me straight, but it isn’t always nature that causes it. The faces of my grandchildren can bring even the most difficult day to its knees and it makes me realize that those few precious seconds we have are just that – few and precious. So whether it’s from the seat of your motorcycle, hands and knees dirty from the garden or standing perfectly still as the evening comes; take it all in as it’s only a blink of an eye.

Bucket List

sunsetBack in the day some bikers refered to a helmet as a “lid” or “bucket” when sitting around telling mostly true stories with their buddies. We all have certain terms for things as we often refer to our motorcycle as a “ride” or “steel horse.” So let’s take the “bucket” and use that as a question. What is your “bucket list.” Or better yet, what is your helmet list? All of us are in different stages in making our helmet list and often that list changes as we get older. Some things are crossed off the list with enthusiasm, while others seem impossible to achieve. As I ride I find some things just cross themselves off as if I set out to conquer it, but in reality it was just by chance that the item on the list happened without even trying. The whole reason for our helmet list is to make sure that we experience and enjoy life, no matter what it is you set out to do. 

Now you just don’t fall out of a plane by accident when the goal was to go parachuting, but to see the sunset from the most random place is quite frankly, a pretty big deal to me. To have a great conversation with a long-lost friend might not make your list, but for me is one that I can check off. I think that sometimes we make our helmet list so difficult we find ourselves miserable when we can’t get anything crossed off.

Sure, I have several things I want to achieve in my life but I also want to enjoy every possible experience I can. After all, that is what life is about. Experiences. Riding a motorcycle can open the door of experiences you may not get anywhere else. You can meet some amazing people who can also share experiences they’ve had along the way. Of course, in some cases it may not be a helmet list to them, but maybe a “bandana list” is more their style. To each their own!

If you haven’t made your helmet list, you should. If you don’t have a helmet, get one. And a motorcycle as well. You might find that as you ride, that list inside your bucket will slowly disappear, along with some things you weren’t expecting. At least for a while, the stress of life and the problems at work have a way of sorting themselves out. Take a ride to the coast, ride through the mountains or to the corner store. But ride. Mentally cross off those things you see that weren’t on your list. Looking over my shoulder at a beautiful sunset while pumping gas is one of mine, and I tell myself – at this moment, right now, I am right where I want to be. Check.