After a nice, long ride it is easy to remember the experience for the next day or two – because your thighs won’t let you forget. Or your butt. But, beyond that afterglow, it is always good to remember to replay the ride in your head. How did it make you feel? Remember how strong you felt and how clear your head was? You had one goal: conquer that ride. In this world of multitasking while multitasking, we all understand we are better off when we focus.
When I replay strong rides in my head, I am able to see I had one goal: to make it through the ride without falling. One goal makes focus a necessity. When I feel like there is too much activity and too much going on, I think about tackling one item at a time with the most pressing tasks first. On this ride, they were the rocks, the cactus, the gnats, and of course the rattlesnake.
Many times, I was so focused on the task at hand that I forgot to enjoy the scenery. Another big item that can be overlooked is the company on the ride. On my big-realization-ride, it was just Matt and I. But, I have been on plenty of other rides were I have been in great company. Movie producers and agents from Los Angeles, financial traders from New York City, as well as therapists, nurses, doctors, and teachers from all over the world. What are they at Miraval to do? Re-connect. Being an extrovert, I receive my energy from others. So, when I am on a ride and can learn about others, I do every chance I get. Before I get to Miraval, the everyday stresses feel like a huge weight on my shoulders. But, learning about others and their responsibilities makes me realize that my issues and stresses are small in comparison to what others endure, and it is important to put them into perspective.
While riding or exercising, listen to your breath. Sometimes we don’t realize how loud we are or how much we labor until we take a listen. The stillness of the great outdoors creates a silence where your breath may be magnified. The calmer I am when I breathe, the more rational my next thoughts tend to be. Take a listen sometime, you might be surprised! A lecture I went to at Miraval this same week of my ride was about stress. The expert recommended taking 10 to 30 deep breaths in transition. So, when you go from work to home or home to work, take a few minutes and breathe deep. Even in the elevator in your office building or in your driveway. What a nice reminder that good strong breathing may not clear your mind like a 15-mile bike ride, but can be a great relief in a pinch.
Every ride I set out to tackle, I try to go slightly farther than I thought I could. Each time you go out, create a new challenge for yourself. Whether it is in the mountains or in your job or with your kids or with a volunteer function. Don’t just check the box, but exceed the expectation. Setting a high bar for yourself makes you achieve more, and expect more.
My glass is half full, and always has been. I rarely remember the bad things about experiences. Years after attending a Rolling Stones concert in college, my friends will comment, “Remember when our tickets got stolen or lost on our way to the concert at RFK?” I do remember that vaguely, but instead more vividly remember how we laughed so hard because my friend mistook a news reporter for an usher and asked him where the bathroom was during a live broadcast. I remember how that experience made me feel, which was tickled. Remember how things make you feel and try to transport yourself back to that time and get energy from those feelings.
Last but not least, have fun! In this world of multi-obligations, we forget to schedule fun into our plans. I am a big offender of this principle. With my kids I often feel I am rushing them from one party to one practice to another. I forget they are kids, and a big item on their agenda is fun. They ground me into making sure fun is always part of the plan. Laugh easily, especially at yourself. The return tends to come back many fold.