This Blog

This blog is dedicated to explorations of spirit, life, adventure, and people. I hope that it encompasses much more than the actions of people, but rather creates a more complete picture of what it means to be an athlete and a person in the outdoor community.

Monday, June 8, 2015

True Value

Don’t count your life in years, but friends. 

Count your experiences by laughs not tears. 

There aren’t a lot of times that you have an experience where you think “Yeah, that was it”. It opens your eyes to a new paradigm, or shifts the way that you think about how the world should operate. 

I recently led a trip from Sacramento to Bodega Bay on bikes that students and I had built ourselves, or at least taken apart, painted, and fully reassembled. This trip was based on grit, street smarts, and the real human experience. This is what we learned:

The right values are those that continue forever. The human experience will continue to be the human experience despite technology changes, cultural shifts, geographic and political upheaval and disequilibrium; human life will always be human life. And in fact, all these things just take us away from what is happening in the moment. 

I sat in a house that I grew up in, with students of mine. They looked at my yearbook and thought about what it must have been like to be me at their age, while I thought about what it must have been like to be my parents looking at me at their age. What a full circle it was. To both be mirrors for the others, reflecting on being older and being younger simultaneously. 

We learned a lot. We learned that people are what create the world, and if we pay attention to it we can create what we want. The most important point is to be aware of what we want and be working towards it, and don’t take no for a final answer, just take it as an intermediate answer that is on the way to yes. Here is a quote that we heard from an activist who had made a difference in how people interacted with the world around them:

“Always make room for alternatives. Always”

Being eccentric means knowing yourself and not selling out. Those who are eccentric are the same people who change the world, because they don't accept the status quo. Riding your bike is eccentric. 

Riding a bike means freedom. You aren’t beholden to some beast you don’t understand, and in some ways traveling by bike is actually faster, because the traveling becomes part of it, it isn't an intermediate step between experiences. It is an experience. 

When we travel by car we actually just think of that as a subtractive amount of time, like a blank experience. We often think to ourselves “What am I going to do while I drive?”, but if we can flop that on it’s head and bike, the biking is the experience. I started wondering by the end “What will happen when I bike?”, which is a far more interesting question. When you think like that things do happen. You smell mint, you eat a mulberry or an apple. You sleep in a kale field.

 You take a nap at a diner. It all folds into a series of moments that are no longer divided into boxes. The traveling is a part of your day. You celebrate the climb with a snack and a high five, maybe a discussion about the quality of the road or the culture of the drivers on that particular climb.

You discuss the experience, which is what constitutes our life. It isn't about your image, or what you post to facebook, or the clothes you wear. You aren't living a meta life, where you judge and watch your life unfold. You are actually just alive, and it is quite simple and elegant. You are just there to hear the tale of life from another, to watch and experience life as it happens. 

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