Friday, July 29, 2016

Why Be a Dope?

There’s a great little place down the road from me. The Chubby Buddha has really cold beer, an over-worked air conditioner, a reasonably good juke box and, hanging on the wall—one of my personal markers for a quality bar—the print of dogs playing poker.

It’s close enough and the traffic is usually light late in the evening so sometimes I’ll take off on my bike and be sitting on the back porch at Chubby Buddha in about 10 minutes. 

I’m usually there for only 1 or 2 beverages and then I head back…which is when the adventure begins. The road I take out of the neighborhood has some homes and lights, the road I take back in, doesn’t. Also, there are huge, old, gnarled trees with limbs loaded with moss overhanging the road.

It is so dark coming in that you literally cannot see five feet in front of you. The first couple of times I tried to ride home this way I was a little intimidated by the wall of darkness I rode into at the mouth of the street. In fact, after riding off the road and into the grass (and a ditch) I started getting off my bike and walking it through the darkness. And, at about midnight, 1 am, it is really, rrreeaalllyyy, quiet. 

At this point you’re thinking, “Why be a dope? Why not just take the same way back in that you took out? It’s safer.”

Tru dat.

Buuuutttt, this has become a wonderful learning experience. Due to the environment, my senses are running wide open and I’m exercising some basic, primal skills. It’s also a low-risk (relatively), easy way to address basic fearful feelings (think dark and quiet), practice some problem-solving skills (how do I get through this and not mess up?), and slow down (not something I’m good at).

Here’s the main lesson I’ve learned: As much as Focus is understood to be a key to success; keep your eyes on the prize, bring all your power to bear on the challenge—sometimes the best thing you can do is relax, slow down, simply keep your eyes and ears open, and keep moving. 

I noticed after a few trips through the darkness that looking straight ahead—as anyone would and should when riding a bike—didn’t work . The total darkness meant there was nothing to see that I could orient myself with. 

I found, though, that if I looked up I could see little patches of night sky and catch glimpses of where the tree limbs on each side of the road touched; they were signaling the middle of the road. So, I’m slowly riding along looking straight up.

(Do I worry about dogs, cats, etc., in the road? No, they do better in the dark than I and will get out of the way and/or let me know when they are in my path)

Do you have a challenge in life that’s really wearing you out? Maybe, instead of doubling down and picking up the pace, the best thing to do is slow down, keep your eyes and ears open, and simply keep moving.

Enjoy the ride.

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  1. Excellent analogy! How am I approaching the darkness? Turn around and I forfeit the learning! Something I've just learned: All knowledge leads to knowledge. Thanks.