Saturday, June 21, 2008

Growing Better

We usually talk about growing older, or wiser, or worse -- but almost never, about growing better -- as though that can’t be achieved by a deliberate, systematic process. It’s almost as though we think that such a desire would jinx us -- and doom us to calamity after calamity, when in fact, good things happen because people prepare a solid foundation for those developments, rather than simply hoping against hope, that something miraculous will happen, in spite of their despair and expectations only for the worst.

Expectations have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies -- or at the very least, projections and expressions of who we really are, and our fears and anxieties about the world. Many of those anxieties are about their declining powers and abilities in later life, as they come to realize that they no longer will fulfill many of the dreams (delusions) they had early in life. But is that the end of life, or the beginning of a closer connection with reality? -- and is that necessarily a bad thing?

While undoubtedly people grow older, a few grow better doing so, while many others undeniably grow worse with age. But is that the only fate of age and experience -- or is something else entirely different possible? That is the quantum leap of these times -- into a life never lived before, because all those elements favoring and supporting such an existence did not exist before.

First one develops a baseline of support one hopes never to have to rely on -- but will be there, in the worst case scenario. But from there, one hopes and works for better -- and not simply resigns oneself to the worst. So while it is great to have that safety net -- that should not be one’s highest aspirations, or even the average expectation of what life can be for those who choose to discover and create a life that has not existed up to now except in the great legends and visions of such ultimate human possibilities.

But that is the story of what every life should be about -- and not the long legacy of interminable struggles and pains just to get back to “normal,” or average.

The history of conditioning and fitness up to now, has mainly been about getting back to normal -- rather than superhuman, which I think is more about an integrated existence rather than the deeply fragmented and conflicted one of epic struggles -- which is the “literature” of the past. For that reason, for the last twenty years in particular, I realized that one had to create a new language to begin to express those possibilities of full actualization, as the norm in human life and experience.

We now have such luxuries -- to go beyond to this next level -- in which the standard becomes the complete life in harmony and synchronicity with every part of life -- rather than simply spinning our wheels ever faster, against every other part of life. When we see and understand that, life grows better -- as we are no longer working against ourselves, to overcome ouselves.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Road Less Traveled

One of the great rules for enjoying life as a bicyclist or pedestrian, is to assume that one is "invisible" to the motorists -- and given that assumption, unless clearly indicated otherwise, one should proceed with that caution .

It's great when there are bike lanes that allow one to travel speedily and safely, but oftentimes, they are not available and so the safer manner albeit not as fast, is to use the sidewalks, taking great care to ensure the safety of pedestrians and other means and use of them, especially the infrequent handicapped.

There's plenty of road, bike lanes and sidewalks -- as well as thoughtful and helpful people along the way to make this "road less traveled," one of the great experiences in daily life.

Remember, the objective is not to beat everyone else to anywhere first, or grab all the turf for one's exclusive use -- but to enjoy the community and common areas as mutually beneficial for all -- as an affirmation of what it means to be a citizen in a democracy.

Just as cars are not allowed to race on the public roadways as though they were a closed course race track, the same can be said of bike lanes and roadways. They were not meant to be closed course race tracks for everyone's mutually exclusive private use so that one need not slow down or pay heed to anyone else, and all that matters, is how fast one wants to go and how high they need to go to keep their heart rate up.

Again, those are concerns best left at gyms and other places of private uses -- and are presumptuous and boorish otherwise -- just as that long line behind one at the cashier's station, did not all show up to witness one’s own transactions and arguments with everyone else -- as a demonstration of their superiority over everybody else.

Success is the journey -- and the quality of that journey, and not the speed of it.

Undoubtedly, there’s a shift in values and how we value things now irrevocably underway. That shift is mainly from a high consumption, high cost, high maintenance lifestyle, to one of greater economies, efficiencies and personal expression and creativity -- by and for all.

That is the whole point of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” That is the ultimate success. That is the ultimate journey.