Bruises are a fact of life for me. I bruise pretty easy. And some of the bruises you can even see.
I’ve been up since 3 am. Seems to be that’s when I get the urge to write, when I remember that hey, I have a blog. When I’m up at 3 am and I really have nothing to do but sit at my computer and type. I’m not really sure what woke me up today. But once I was up, my leg made it pretty clear that it was unhappy. And I wasn’t getting back to sleep tonight.
This is the bruise I got Saturday. My boyfriend and I finally got out trials riding after almost three months of not riding at all. I wish I had some exciting story to tell of the amazing crash, but I don’t. I was turning around a tree in a new section and somehow between all the dead sticks and leaves on the ground and my body position, something didn’t go right and the bike fell out from underneath me. It wasn’t a bad fall at all. Until the handlebar smacked my leg.
I knew it was bad. I’ve been hurt enough during this sport to know when something is just a minor whack, and when its going to hurt the next day (or later that night). But I kept riding. Because I was outdoors in the sunshine with my friends. I was doing the sport that I loved. I was doing it with the man that I loved, sharing it with him, so proud of him seeing him conquer turns and steep ups over slippery roots and things that would have scared him last year. Seeing the improvement in myself after taking up Tai Chi. Seeing the lines and things that I wouldn’t even have tried last year, and yet Saturday I felt like I had the confidence to take on any obstacle in the world.
A lot of people give motorcycle riders crap. They say they are polluting the world. They take away our trails and riding areas. They look down at us. But the truth is, we are all after the same thing.
To enjoy this world around us. Trials is unlike anything I’ve ever done in this world. It has given me confidence. Family. Self-reliance. It has pulled me out of my introverted, hermit shell. It gave me hope, when my anxiety and depression had stripped every ounce of it away from me. And it taught me that bruises are not something to be scared of. It helped me deal with my bruises from emotional abuse. It helped me deal with my scars, while giving me cool new ones to brag about to people because they can’t believe at 30 I started riding motorcycles.
Without trials, I wouldn’t have traveled all over the United States. Wouldn’t have had the courage to pick up my life when it was darkest. Wouldn’t have met the love of my life. Maybe wouldn’t be here today to write this post.
Yes, my leg is killing me today. The nerves finally woke back up. But I wouldn’t give up these bruises for anything in the world. Because these bruises are my badge of pride. Because I’m having the time of my life getting them.
I needed Saturday. My boyfriend and I have been going through remodel hell. Not only that, but I’m going back to school, carrying a 4.0 GPA, dealing with debt issues, and trying to start a new trials club something I’ve never done before. Not to mention just the stress of a long, cold winter. I needed a day out in the sunshine with my other riding friends.
I guess this came up because its getting so hard to find places to enjoy this sport I love. To spend that time outside with great people.
I know a lot of people will disagree, that there’s other things I could do other than trials that would bring me joy. And I would maybe agree with you. Until I get on that bike. Then there is nothing else.
Before you hate something and ban it, think of the people who might get something out of it. Something that they desperately need. Something that brings life and hope into their life. Talk to the person. Learn about their love. It might not be your cup of tea. It would be a pretty boring world if we all loved the same thing. But maybe we could understand each other enough to respect each other’s choices and loves and get along together instead of constantly fighting.
Find something that brings you joy, even if other people say its weird or odd. Even if it brings you bruises. Pottery. Skydiving. Mountain biking. Riding a motorcycle. Whatever it may be. Don’t give up on life just because the world tells you its wrong or you can’t do it.
Yes, my leg is killing me today. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This bruise is telling me I’m out living my life, not letting it pass me by like I did before. Because that’s the scariest thing in the world to me. Getting to the end of my days and regretting the things I didn’t do, because I was too scared to try for fear of getting hurt. I want to live a life of hope and no regrets. I hope you do too.
I love cooking. I love baking. I love finding recipes and making food that people enjoy. And yeah, I really love eating it too!
But certain things I hate doing. Like chopping potatoes. It seems to take FOREVER! Especially if I’m chopping it into little pieces to make fried country potatoes or hash. Normally I try to rush through it as fast as I can, usually managing to cut myself in the process.
But today…something was different today.
I stopped. I slowed down. I took each slice of potato separately (instead of trying to stack three or four slices together that all slide apart every which way). I made slow, deliberate cuts in each piece. Chopping them slowly and carefully.
Instead of being frustrated that it was taking so long, I found I was enjoying the process!
It became a sort of meditation. Making myself slow down. The sound of the knife as it chopped through the white flesh of the potato. The feel of it scraping across the cutting board. The sight of the bowl of cut potato slowly rising until it made a little mountain with ‘boulders’ that kept rolling off the side.
Breathe In. Slice. Breathe out. Slice.
How many of us can say we take the time to enjoy what we are cooking? Not just the things we make after, how they smell or taste. But the act of cooking itself.
The smell of the herbs as they heat up in the pan. The smoothness of the garlic as I chop and press it. The spice of the habanero and jalapeno peppers as I toss them in. The sound of the food sizzling in the pan. The feel of the wooden spoon in my hand.
So many times I’m rushing my cooking, my mind on so many other things. Trying to get it done so we can do other things on our busy schedule. Or just cooking to get it done so I can get to the funner aspect of eating.
Yet maybe I’ve found a new way to enjoy cooking. Letting it slow me down.
Today made me ask why I don’t slow down more. What gets in my way that I can’t enjoy the act of cooking? Of life? Because let’s face it. Very rarely do I (or a lot of other people) really let ourselves experience the world around us. When was the last time you just sat and watched a flower? Or a river as it rushed by? A bird in your backyard? Or just sat in meditation for more than a minute, letting your thoughts drift and balancing yourself with the world around you?
The answer? It’s been a while. But I want to change that.
I need meditation. I need balance. The more I seek it, the more energy and happiness I feel in my life. I know, people make it seem all mystical and something hard to achieve. All the mantras and poses and whatever else that they try to sell you online.
But really meditation is just slowing down. Focusing on a task to the exclusion of all other thoughts in your mind. Engaging your senses and allowing yourself to feel, see, touch, taste, smell. To forget about this practice and that test and that bill that’s due next week or an appointment you promised to make. To let your mind drift, slow down.
I always try to make meditation so hard. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be something as simple as slowing down.
It may seem odd to find your zen cutting potatoes. But that’s exactly what I did.
What’s your Zen?
So I haven’t blogged for a really long time. I was kind of getting tired of social media, to tell you the truth. Everybody yelling and having an opinion. Everybody arguing over ‘what way is the right way’. Why am I blogging? What about my life is so interesting that anyone would care? Its not like this is actually going to ever be a business. I started putting a lot of pressure on myself, and the more pressure I put on myself to ‘be something to someone’ or ‘make something out of it’, the less I actually wanted to write. But then I remembered the reason for starting this blog. It’s a journal of my life. My adventures. My stories. My thoughts. And if someone else gets something from it, cool.
That’s it. That’s all.
A lot has happened. I started school in August at the age of 36 to finally finish my bachelor’s degree. I’m loving being back in school, as I’ve always loved learning. Yet it’s really driven home how much I have actually grown up, being around the ‘younger kids’. Yes, I really did catch myself saying that. Kids. I honestly have to say I stopped and shuddered when I said that. But its the truth. On one hand, its great to see their optimism and ‘we can change’ the world attitudes. But listening to some of their opinions, I honestly am going ‘yeah, yeah, let’s see what you think in 10 years after working a job and watching all your hard earned money go in taxes that always seem to be going up and nothing seems to be getting better’. Ok, I’m a little cynical about government and taxes. Who isn’t?
I am loving school. I’m going to Metro State in Denver, which is a beautiful campus. Next semester, I’m even trying a tai chi class. Something I’ve always wanted to try.
This past weekend it snowed, and being cooped up in the house allowed me to get caught up and catch my breath. Got some photos edited that have been sitting on my desktop for months. Got my schoolwork caught up. Got some work done for the new Trials club I’m helping to co-found (which has been super-exciting to be a part of). The boyfriend and I cleaned the house from top to bottom (trying to ferret out whatever virus keeps making us sick). And I finally got to a place, sitting in front of the fireplace, where I wanted to blog again.
Because that was why I had originally started my blog, all those ages and incarnations ago. Just to write. Just to put down my story. An online journal that I could decorate with photos and videos. Sharing my story because it was fun.
I was just telling my boyfriend how happy it was that it snowed. While I enjoy the milder weather of Colorado (can’t complain when you can ride your motorcycle year round), I miss the winters of Iowa growing up. Getting snowed in for days at a time. This weekend, curled up by the fire, I had nothing to distract me from writing and reading and enjoying myself. I was forced to stop, to slow down, to relax. Too many weeks of school and chores and projects blend into weekends riding and running around (and more projects). Weeks turn into months turn into a year until I finally collapse from exhaustion because I’ve been too busy to listen to my body tell me I need to slow down.
Sometimes I think I need to have a snow day even when its sunny outside. To forget this modern idea of ‘you must be busy all of the time’. To shut the world out and say ‘no, I’m taking some time for me and I’m not going to be ashamed about that’. To not have an excuse to not be doing something.
There are two things I love doing in this world. Walking into a bookstore, inhaling the smell of all the new books, pulling in the creative energy of all the unexplored stories. And my new favorite, walking through a crystal store and connecting with stones.
I know, you might be thinking I’m crazy. I grew up believing that people who liked crystals and incense and things were crazy, weird, etc. But ever since I was a little girl I’ve always felt drawn to rocks. To the earth. It’s one of the reasons I love my move to Colorado. I love the energy of the mountains. Their strength. Their timelessness. Their power. There’s nothing more cleansing and rejuvenating for me than a long walk on a quiet mountain trail (if you can find a quiet mountain trail anymore around here).
A year or so ago I started getting introduced to the idea of crystals. That certain stones have properties that can affect us, our emotional and physical well-being, and the environment around us. I’m just a baby in this, but I love learning more about it. The more I learn, the more I come to understand that there is so much about our world that we do not know. That if we open ourselves up to new things, we might be amazed at what we find.
Today I found a new crystal store. The trip in itself was fun, because I discovered this old, seemingly abandoned amusement park right down the road from me! I didn’t really have time to explore it, but it looked pretty awesome.
The purpose for the visit was not only just to get out of the house, but also to find some things to decorate my side of the office desk. To create a positive energy space that I would want to sit at. That would be conducive to creating. To writing. To doing my art. To doing my photography. A space that would be me.
The store had everything, and I just spent some time walking through it. Not looking for any particular thing, just wandering around. Waiting for a stone to ‘talk’ to me. Not physically talk, obviously. The only way I can describe it is like a very soft humming in my bones, in my body. The moment that stone connects with me. Sometimes I find stones that are just pretty and beautiful. Other times I connect with stones because of something going on in my life. Today I connected with a little piece of mookaite. Didn’t know what it did, just knew that it needed to come home with me. Come to find out mookaite aids in helping stomach issues, and that’s what I’ve been dealing with the last couple of days.
I got four other stones along with the mookaite, one a pretty geode I just got because it was beautiful. Along with an incense burner, with some white sage and lavender sticks, because I love things that cleanse and balance. And I just love the smell of lavender!
Now some may scoff and say “Do you really think these rocks will cure anything?”
I shrug my shoulders and say “I don’t know. But I know how they make me feel. How the thought of having them around makes me feel. And if nothing else they are beautiful.”
So now these sit on my desk, along with some other crystals and my snow leopard statue. I have loved snow leopards since I was a little girl, always having to go see them at the zoo. Recently I was reading about spirit animals, and I think that if they are true, than a snow leopard is mine. Connection to the Earth. Balance. Connection to the inner wisdom inside of you (I’ve often been told I’m very self-aware, even if I haven’t always listened to my own wisdom). Inability to tackle problems face to face. Preferring not to jump into a fight or unknown situation until I know that I’m not going to be attacked from behind by some problem (that one is me to a tee). Silent (I can talk to people I connect with, but love communicating through writing so much more). Solitary (I like people but as an introvert I gain my power from time spent alone). I am slow to anger but when it is roused it is fierce. Yet if I do not find an outlet for that anger it is often internalized, causing all sorts of problems.
So I have a little snow leopard statue that watches over me, alongside my stones and my incense. And while it may just be a ‘peace of mind’ thing, or just that my little corner of the office now feels like ‘me’, I do feel a shift in the room. In my creativity. It feels welcoming. I can feel the words, the pictures, the energy flowing through me. I feel calm. I feel at peace.
The point of this was not really to say “Oh my God! You have to get into crystals and spirit animals and…” Although, yes. I really enjoy my crystals and I do believe they have a healing presence in my life. Along with other natural, holistic herbs and oils I’ve been using.
The point was just rejoicing because I’m happy in my new space. And to maybe encourage anyone who reads this to create their own ‘me space’. To open their mind up to new possibilities. But mostly, if you are a creative person and you’re feeling ‘blocked’, make a ‘me space’. Fill it with the things that are you. That make you happy. That give you energy. The things that resonate with you.
Don’t be worried about what other people might say. I know there’s a lot of people that would call me weird and crazy, but I just embrace it and say “Cool! I’m weird and crazy! I’d hate to be normal.”
So be cool. Be crazy. Make your own ‘me space’. And enjoy!
“How will I know who I can become if I don’t give myself the chance to try new things, to push myself beyond my normal boundaries? Who might I be if I am away from the things that I currently use to define myself?”
― Eileen Cook
So for the last few years I’ve wanted a DSLR camera. You know, one of the ones with the interchangeable lenses which takes the really amazing photos you see in magazines. Or the ones framed up on people’s walls. Not that I really thought I could be a professional photographer or anything. I just loved the art aspect of it.
“No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch” – Anonymous
It’s hard to believe but October 24th was a year since I made up my mind to move to Colorado. A year since I packed everything I owned into my truck and the U-haul trailer and came to Colorado Springs. In some ways it seems like the longest year of my life. So many things that are such a change from the Midwest. And in other ways it’s been the shortest. Because of all the things I’ve learned. All the new adventures I’ve had. All the new opportunities I’ve found.