Monday, October 3, 2011

Life Lesson Revisited: Look Ahead

I'm really loving hot yoga.  I mean really.  I find it's the perfect combo of strength training, balance, stretching and getting your heart rate up there to burn some post dinner chocolate chip cookies.

But here's where I get confused.  As the yogi starts speaking to her class in her deliciously soothing and magical voice, preparing the class to practice -- not perfect -- each pose, she also speaks of being PRESENT.  "Forget about the yesterdays, don't worry about what's going on next, just be in the NOW," she says.  Ah, that sounds so enticing, in theory.

However, I'm having issues with this "Being Present" idea.  Because the next day, when I mountain bike, I've got to switch that concept around and absolutely prepare for what's next.  I've got to navigate this turn to make sure I've got enough momentum to conquer that next hill.  I've got to keep my chin up, eyes ahead and anticipate what's next.

Clash of the mind!  Present ... planning?   Well, here's MY version of what I think is right - which is why I write a blog, don't ya think?

When I went riding with practically-pro mountain biker Sally a few weeks ago, I asked her how she rolls through the tough stuff.  Me, I freeze in panic when the trails become treacherous knots of sharp granite obstacles and steep uphill climbs.  "How do you do it," I asked?

"Look ahead," she said.  "Look through the turn.  Look past the rocks and don't focus so much on the hard stuff.  You will roll right over those rocks and your bike will handle things,"  said Sally.

And I just about doubled my riding abilities in one day.  I did not have to spastically swerve away from that sharp cactus leaning in toward my thigh or stressfully stare down the deep ridges that might catch my tires as I descended the switch backs of Usery.  When I saw them-- but looked past them -- my riding smoothed out and I was ... better.

The more I thought of this idea, the happier I was -- on my bike and in life.  It's nice to be present.  And it's helpful to let the distractions of humanity roll off your back every once in awhile.  But for me, it's MORE important to plan, to look ahead, and prepare for what's next.  It makes life easier.  You'll be ready for those gnarly twists that kids, jobs and reality hand to all of us.

Thank you, Sally.  You taught me well.


  1. LOVE THIS LORIE. Great insight. I will make sure sally reads it. Love our rides together!!

  2. Sally is AWESOME! She is SO FAST down & up hill!! She is my Hero, & this is such a great analogy for life, SO TRUE. Thanks for your insight!

  3. Thanks for the credit Lori, but you deserve the credit, way to be inspired and improve your biking skills and your life! I had a great time riding with you and Liz! Next time I'm down hope we can go again.

  4. Before every family dinner, we read from a deck of "In the Now" cards. I think what you are doing by looking ahead on the path, and ignoring the distractions of the minutia under your wheels, is very much "In the Now". You are focused on what you are doing, Now, not what you will be doing when the ride is over. IMO, most cycling is very much a "Now" activity.

    Congratulations on the improvement. I keep my wheels on the road!


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