Thursday, May 21, 2009

There are No Ordinary Moments

"Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow is but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day." -- Proverb

I watch this video to remind me how quickly time flies and why I need to be more aware and present in the moments that I spend with my children. They were babies here. Every moment is precious.

The things that matter most in our lives are not materialistic or grand. They are moments when we are IN the moment, when we are present in the most attentive or caring way. I can recall the most vivid details of the moment when Jenna said Yes in Maui, when she took my breath away walking down the aisle, when I gave my best man speeches at my brothers' weddings, when my Paypay and my Princess were born, when I first held them and made a promise to always be there no matter what, when I took Grandma to Italy while she was battling cancer.

When we bring full attention to our acts, the quality of the moment grows in us. It permeates more deeply in our hearts and minds. Oh how I wish I could live in these Zen moments, always. Often, I ask myself how do I make myself more aware, more peaceful, happier? How do I get in the Zone? It's a daily challenge I'm enjoying.

I suspect that many of us like sports because in them we get a glimpse of that Zen fullness, when we are in the moment and all our worries and problems are shed from our presence. The most beautiful moment in sport is arguably the 1998 Game 6 Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz. The last minute of that game was incredibly exciting. I was so nervous, I ate a bucket of wings and drank a forty during commercial break before the final possession. What I recall most about the game is Jordan's description of the last critical possession of the game, down by 1 pt with 16 seconds left in the game. He said that "he was in the moment, and everything seemed to move in slow motion." There was no panic in him, he wasn't thinking of the outcome, he was simply in the game, and letting the game flow to him. Then he nailed the sweetest jay from the top of the key, and held his shooting form long enough for us to always remember the greatest player ever to lace his Nike's.

Similarly, the moments I enjoy most in cycling, are the same in the zone moments. Whether it's climbing Mt. Tam above the fog bank, or descending Panoramic to the Pacific Coast, my mind is not wandering or distracted. I am engaged and enjoying every moment and focused on the danger and challenge of each bend. And in the races where I've performed well, I have this heightened sense of awareness and find myself really calm. In these moments, I feel that the race is also in slow motion. I can feel my heart pounding, but my breathing is relaxed and I can sense the explosion building in my legs. It's exhilarating. And as I've gotten older and hopefully wiser, I seem to enjoy every bike ride more eagerly. Every workout these days is enjoyable even though they are repetitive and routine.

In the stress and complexity of our daily lives, we may forget our deepest intentions. But when someone we know recently dies (Ray's nephew, Robbie's son, or Steve Larsen) we remind ourselves that we should 'Live Now.' And living now means to be PRESENT and AWARE of the moment now whatever you may be doing such as reading this blog, eating a snack, breathing. The quality of each moment depends not on what we get from it, but on what we bring to it. Let's bring more of ourselves to each moment everyday. Then we can say we are living now.

Life is a series of moments. In each, you are either awake or you are asleep -- fully alive or relatively dead. Let's not treat any moment as ordinary no matter how mundane or routine it appears. "The Greeks didn't write obituaries they only asked one question after a man died -- did he have passion?" Let's be passionate simply by being completely present and aware today. All we have is Now. "Give us this day, our daily bread....."

Rest in Peace: Ray's nephew, Robbie's son, and Steve Larsen. You will be missed dearly!