The Blinders - 15 March 2012
Trees and Snow - Yosemite National Park, File # 0301325
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I wrote this article sitting in a Starbucks in Ruidoso, New Mexico on one of my normal weekend rides through the mountains. The weather was crisp and cutting in the mid-40's temps, but I didn't mind. It's all good to be out there on my motorcycle. The weather doesn't matter to the ride as far as I'm concerned.
Perhaps it doesn't sense to most people to be out there suffering, on the ride. I don't mind. In fact, I love it. Can't quite put my finger on why. I just simply love it.
While on rides like this, my mind tends to wander all over the place. It's not always that way. Most times on the bike my mind has a singular focus on riding well--form, throttle, balance, speed. The process is all amazingly complicated which requires my undivided attention. Other times in straighter sections, my mind can wander which is where I got the idea of this blog--"Beyond the Blinders".
During one of those focused mental sessions, I got the distinct impression the whole effort was an exercise in discovery, discovery of form, throttle, balance, and speed. All those things that make riding a motorcycle a constant process of improvement. At that moment, the discovery moment, I realized this is exactly what running is like. At least for me, it's about discovery, discovery of the best most efficient and comfortable form for running. Then, like the mind does what it does, it wondered to this question "how did I get to this discovery mode at the end of my fourth decade when 30 years ago I acted like I already knew it all".
I distinctly remember when I was in my late teens and early 20's I had the serious and overly confident impression I had a handle on all things known and unknown. I either knew it or what I didn't know was simply a mental rational thought exercise away from being known. I'm probably not the first person to think this way.
As brazenly confident as I was with the known and unknown back then, I now make discoveries everyday of something cool and interesting I never would've even found, let alone considered. I now see relations I never would've rationalized. It's like the lights were turned on in a dimly lite room when I get those "wow, that's an interesting thought.".
As an example of this process in work I considered things like a run not long ago where I clocked in 8 miles faster than I ever had before at any point in my life... At the end of my fourth decade... Wearing shoes with next to nothing support... And feeling ready and willing to go another eight miles the next day. You see, I never in my wildest dreams would've thought me running that far was possible. As in, there is "no rational thought that might justify the idea I could run that fast and that far, none!"
The comparison of me now, the mature man, to the "full of something" young adult is a serious takedown of my pride (pride and too much of anything is another article for another day). Looking back I sometimes think of the ideas or thoughts that passed me by simply because I was too smart for my own good. Then I think of the consolation. I doubt I would be right where I am now without those experiences to help set my current perspective.
Here's the thing, discovery is a fickle partner. You can't predict when it'll happen or what it will be about. In fact, the more predictive of what form and how those discoveries take place by definition limit the significance of the discovery. Remember, the whole idea of discovery is realizing something that simply doesn't make sense.
Back to the title of this blog--"Beyond the Blinders". The point here is when you're on "life's path" there is seeing more along that path than simply what's in front of your nose, between the blinders. The first step to expanding your seeing is simply knowing there are blinders, there are walls. A least knowing there are walls, you can consider what's on the other side.
The key here in being on this road of discovery, to be a recovering "know it all" like I was at the beginning of my adult years, is simply embracing the notion "there is more to know". It's the same idea as recognizing the walls, the blinders for what they are.
The next step is a bit more complicated. The next step being actually being making that discovery. That's an article all to itself.
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