Take A Moment

I enjoy reading Leo Babauta’s blog, particularly when it’s been a long week and I’m feeling a bit scattered.

Leo writes about cultivating simplicity in your life.

This morning a passage appearing in Leo’s latest post caused me to stop and think how physically and emotionally draining daily routines can be. Sometimes we forget to slow down and fully experience a moment:

7. Treat an activity like a sacred ritual. This is the part I forget the most, but I’ve been getting better at remembering. Here’s the idea: every single thing we do can be done as an afterthought, like something you’re just getting through to get to something more important … or it can be elevated to something sacred, like performing sacred rites. Washing your hands? Take a moment to realize how much of a miracle this act is (many people don’t have water for basic hygiene), take a breath, and truly pay attention as you go through this sacred hand-washing ritual. Do your dishes the same way: every dish a miracle, every sensation elevated to a new importance, every drop of water a gem worth paying attention to. This applies to every activity: writing, responding to an email, listening to a friend, playing with your child, taking a shower, going for a walk, paying bills. Worthy of your full attention, worthy of joy and appreciation.

Earlier in Leo’s post he suggests eating and wearing the exact same thing every day, rule #2 of his 7 rules for simplicity.
I don’t know if I could follow such a strict regime. For instance, my usual breakfast lately has been egg whites and steel cut oats with berries. I love eggs n’ oatmeal, but I don’t think I could eat that every day for 6 months straight. Once in a while it’s nice to have a few buttery French crepes drizzled with maple syrup, or a Montreal style bagel slathered in cream cheese with some bacon on the side.

I won’t get all preachy, but will just say these sorts of ‘lifestyle prescriptions’ are best taken with a grain of salt —a rather huge chunk of salt.
What works for someone else… well, you know.
If Leo were to stumble upon this post I’d suggest he check out Laird Hamilton’s words of wisdom, for instance point #10, which incidentally works great for me:

10. I have friends who eat healthier than anybody, but it takes them all day. And if they don’t have their sprouted bread, they go into a seizure. I can eat a Big Mac. I’m not going to love it, but it won’t put me into toxic shock. It’s like if a car is too high-performance, then it’s sensitive to any kind of fuel. I like being more like a truck. If a little diesel gets in there, maybe a little water, it’ll cough and burp a bit, but it’s gonna get through it and keep running.

Why I Ride

This summer I discovered motorcycle riding. It’s so much fun! I’m not really sure why I waited so long to get a bike. I love it.

Last week I was at a party chatting with someone who asked me what’s becoming a recurring question of late: “Why do you ride a motorcycle, oh isn’t that dangerous?”

“Sure, it can be”, I say.
“I suppose if you’re not aware of what’s going on around you, namely the absent-minded drivers who’ll mercilessly cut you off because they’re too distracted texting or chatting away on their phones, in which case you’re in a heap of trouble.
Sometimes you feel like you’re invisible. People are generally oblivious to cyclists —motorized or otherwise— rolling around in their Napa leather appointed SUV living rooms.”

But here’s a better reason taken from the pages of Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance:

“You see things on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it’s right there, so blurred you can’t focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness.” —Robert M. Pirsig

Riding a motorcycle is such fun I almost can’t even put into words the whole experience and what it feels like to find a twisty road and open up the throttle and just go! Pure exhilaration. If you ride a bike you know exactly what I’m talking about.