This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Coffee Break: Okay, I get it!

Ever start your day out like that?
I almost did this morning. Two emails popped up on my screen that came from a name I know is going to mean more busy work I have to do that I don't have time to do -- or, rather, don't want to make time to do. Why? It's a hassle. Plain and simple. I took on a job that has added a regular routine of paperwork that is beyond annoying. So when I see that familiar name attached to that paperwork, my heart sinks, my blood starts to boil, and then...bam! My good morning mood suddenly turns sour.
Hate that.
This morning, however, after I ran into the usual annoyances that generally go along with this never ending mass of paperwork, I stopped to think about my aggravation. "Why?" I asked myself, "do I have to let this get to me?" Key word: let. Yes, I am letting it get to me. It doesn't have to get to me, but I'm letting it. Why? 
That led to my next step. I walked into the kitchen to get away from the office for a second, and at the coffee machine, I stopped to do a few yoga breaths. I've never really stopped and used yoga so mindfully before. I've been taking yoga classes for a year now, but I've never really gotten to the point where it was such a natural way to respond. But you know what? It worked. There I was, standing in front of the coffee machine, breathing in and out, ready to pour my next cup, and...almost just like that, my thoughts shifted.
I hurried back to the office, went on Facebook and posted this update:
If my day is going to begin with a frustrating event, okay, fine. But I'm taking that as a good sign -- to get the crap out of the way! Thank you, Universe, for making room for the better stuff ahead. Appreciate that.
When I saw a few people had "liked" what I'd written almost the second that posted, my breathing started to slow down on its own. I looked at the fax machine I'd been messing with to send yet another document to this company, and I was able to relax, breathe again, and accept the task as just something I have to do and nothing more. 
And then it was done. Just like that. I was able to move on to the next thing on my list. Life just got better. In an instant.
What a relief to know you can go ahead and feel aggravation or hurt or maybe a little anger, and then move on from it. What a relief to know that you don't have to stay there, that you can choose to move on, what a relief that you can take charge of your thoughts and emotions like that. Empowering, yes?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What puts a big smile on your face?

If a guy like this one came up to you with a tray of refreshing drink samples -- with a smile that stretched clear across his face -- you'd smile, too! Wouldn't you? 
I snapped this photo on a recent trip to Antigua, Guatemala. This guy was handing out these drink samples in a coffee shop. And his smile never stopped. Be still my heart, because he's just gorgeous, and I wanted a piece of that. So I asked him to pose for me. And who would resist taking a sample? Not I. Thank you very much! Was he enjoying his job? He sure looked like it. A manner like his is contagious -- as well it should be. 
It's why I took a moment to write down what Chip Conley, founder of the boutique hotel chain Joie de Vivre, said about why he named the company after a phrase that means "finding joy in everything you do. He said, "I'm a Type A guy, so I'm constantly moving. But I like to ask myself, 'Where's the joy in it?'" Exactly! Conley's line reminds me of the gorgeous guy I captured on camera in Guatemala. Clearly, he's found the joy in a simple job. And I'm sure he knows that big smile of his makes the tourists feel special.
People like the drink guy and Chip Conley understand the importance of a joy-filled life. They get what really matters. We can learn from them, which is why I ask you to take a moment today to think about:
What puts a big smile on your face?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

But it's a dry heat

Cracked sediment found in a canal spillway
I made this above photograph of dried and cracked sediment settled at the bottom of a canal spillway on my trip last weekend to Yuma, Ariz. From my perspective, it's dry land. Pure and simple. But to the viewer who's never seen anything like this before in person, he might not relate to that. It might seem hard to picture. Instead, it might look like what one person told me he thought it looked like, "the aerial view" of a town from the inside of a plane. Yeah, it could be that, too. Why not?  It sounds nicer, doesn't it. And if you look at the photograph with that idea in mind, you can actually see what he sees.

Perspective. It's what you make of things. If you can turn what might seem like a negative to some into your own positive, wouldn't that make adapting much easier? In that way, you might not see this photograph an illustration of what the heat of the desert really does to dry land. You might understand why the people who live here insist, "But it's a dry heat."

It's a dry heat?

If you've never heard this phrase before, that may be because you've never been to Arizona where the phrase is used to deflect the truth about the weather during summers here. Truth be told: it's H-O-T. Yeah, really hot!

If you live here, you learn to accept it. And I suppose, in a sense, it's true. It is a dry heat. That dry heat helps 115-degree August afternoons seem less daunting. The weather's dry because of the low humidity. You don't seem to sweat much because what you do sweat evaporates so quickly. You don't really experience that stickiness you'd feel if you lived in West Palm Beach, Fla., for example. I lived there one summer, and I didn't like that sticky feeling at all. It actually was kind of disgusting to me, while other people I know would remark, "But it's so good for your skin." Perhaps. And I'm guessing this dry heat where I live has a lot to do with my dry, cracked skin. But at least I don't sweat.

So, see, it is about perspective, isn't it?

Life, in general, is like that.

We learn to adapt to uncomfortable surroundings, people and situations because we adopt our own unique perspectives about them.

"It's a dry heat" makes living in the heat of the summers in Arizona more bearable for the year-round residents. But it doesn't change the minds of our winter visitors who will only visit during the winters, when otherwise back home they'd have to deal with their snow storms and icy roads. They don't like that, so they come here where it's warmer. They happily spend their winter days outdoors instead of huddling indoors out of the cold.

Perspective. It's what you make of things.

Think of a time when you used perspective as a way to deal with something discomforting in your life...

Were you able to... 1) see change as a positive or... 2) look at the less serious nature of the situation? Perhaps you needed to... 3) shift your attitude about a project you didn't really want to take part in but knew you could learn something new if you did. Maybe your situation called for you to take a... 4) step back and see the bigger picture rather than a more limited view that might have been keeping you stuck. Perhaps you needed to... 5) seek input from others in order to move forward.

If you're in the midst of your own "search for a new perspective" now, can you think of something to add to these five steps that would make that process go easier for you? If so, post a comment and enlighten us about it here.    

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Roses, watermelon and other things spotted on the road

A flower for you for St. Patrick's Day?

Oh, but not just any ordinary flower.

This one's a watermelon flower, carved by a Food Network champion and chef, Ray Duey, at an event that took place in Yuma, Ariz., where I graduated high school.

I went back last weekend to attend Lettuce Days and discovered this man at a booth carving fruit.  I thought it was fascinating and worth sharing with you in my comeback post.

I've been on the road so much lately that it's been next to impossible to post anything, and when I would sit down to think of what to write about, nothing came to mind that I thought I wanted to say here. I just wanted to rest. And so I did.

But I'm back.

I'll be writing about my travel adventures in the days ahead. They've taken me north to Canada, South to Guatemala, and parts in between. For the first time in my life, I even tried snow shoeing. I'm in the process of contemplating what all this travel and all of these new sights and sounds I've seen and heard meant to me, or what I've taken away.

Which begs the question: In your own travels, what have you learned about yourself? We'll be talking about that in the months ahead. I hope you'll join us.