For all my driving life, some unknown entity has tightened my stomach at a certain moment. I’m approaching traffic lights, which are green my way. The orange hand is flashing and there’s no countdown to yellow. There it is, some deep physical worry that I’ll have to stop for a red.
I consider myself a fairly mature person but this gut response has long fascinated me. After all, it’s a hopefully long life. What difference will it make in the span of time if on this day I arrive at my destination a minute later than hoped for? The answer to my unaddled brain is clear: none. But so often the cranium addles itself.
Tonight I was driving on Veterans Memorial Parkway in London. Traffic on this particular road zooms along at 90 kilometres an hour or so. Way ahead of the intersections are lights which come on in a flashing way to show cars that they need to slow down for an impending yellow. Oh, my history of seeing the light start flashing when I’m almost upon it, and then blasting down the gas pedal to “make it”.
For some elusively mature reason, I let up on the gas in that moment. Some force did it … there was no intention. And then the yellow came on and I stopped, without a heart smashing my chest. Hmm. Perhaps this is wiser. Maybe it’s better to feel into the flow of driving rather than jerking around with the gas and brake.
And then there’s life. I wonder if “making it” happens when I smell the roses. They’re awfully sweet, you know.
I set off today to do some rediscovering. I started with the gym. Two weeks of bronchitis have left me weak, lethargic, and constipated. I know that balance is key … physical, emotional and spiritual. And that man does not live by Buddha alone. So off to the elliptical I went.
As I packed my gym clothes this morning, I selected a vibrant t-shirt that Nona and Lance gave me for Christmas. It’s a greenish lizard flashing a peace sign on a mottled purple background. So cool! But my reaction today? Fear. Fear of what the workouters will think of me. How strange. I love wearing funky clothes, especially t-shirts with funny sayings on them, and today’s purple shirt went exceedingly well with my bright orange shorts. Has Bruce gone on a vacation, sort of missing in action? I guess I’m allowed that once in awhile.
Happily, I didn’t adjust my wardrobe, and apparently went unnoticed by varied exercisers. Soon I was flinging all body parts around on the elliptical. I could feel stats rearing its lovely head (such as total distance covered in 30 minutes), and I tried to get my convalescing body to take it easy. I was doing a moderate pace on the machine when I realized that I was feeling good. “But, Bruce, what about an hour later?” Ignoring this well-meaning but irritating voice, I sallied forth, and ended up doing 4.22 kilometres, the most I’ve done since Jody died. “Okay, Bruce. Now moderation.” Well …
A few years ago at Gold’s Gym (now World Gym), I started loving Jacob’s Ladder. You strap yourself in and step on a wooden rung, then the next one. Basically you climb in place. And it’s a workout. So early this afternoon, there I was – attaching the belt. Back in the good old days, the max I had been able to do was 400 feet. Today I decided that 100 would be a worthy goal. “Oh, Bruce. Don’t wreck yourself.” And I didn’t. But I did do the 100 feet.
There’s the experience of being in the moment and then there’s pressing towards a goal. This nice little Buddhist guy has decided to embrace them both. Why not? The world of Spirit (what I’ll call the formless) and the world of form (all the people, places and things we run into every day). Let’s celebrate it all. So yay for 4.22 and 100. Nice round numbers. And they look so good on me when I’m a lizard.