Transcending Gratitude

10 Jun

A few months ago I jotted down something that I imagined I might share as my FB Status Update today, with tweaks as needed to match reality (see photo at the end of this post).

Yesterday my ride partner bowed out at the last minute leaving nothing but my thoughts to accompany me up into the hills. Solo ride time is often where I mentally draft blog posts. So there I was spinning my wheels–both literal and figurative–thinking about whether/how I might re-purpose my potential June 11, 2017 “draft” FB Status Update into blog-worthy material and as I mentally scrolled through the concepts, I suddenly found tears rolling down my face. 

That took me by surprise!

I do not cry while riding my mountain bike (unless I’ve fallen off of said bike, which thankfully hasn’t happened in awhile…knocks wood). Emotional bike-cries have been known to happen during leisurely road bike spins when my little legs sometimes churn up a thick seratonic/hormonal soup in my brain… But CRYING ON A MOUNTAIN BIKE?! Get it together, CZ!

I tried. 

I could pedal for a dozen or so meters with no crying, but as soon as my mind flashed over the words “making coffee,” “taking a shower,” “riding my bike,” and especially “thankful”‘or “gratitude” from my mentally drafted FB status update….the tears returned with a vengeance. I’d only ridden about 15 minutes away from my house but it felt like 15 hours. All these unbidden emotions! So exhausting!

I pulled over to the side of a secluded residential street, sat on the curb, and let the tears flow for a few minutes until I decided to call BB/PP. He would know how to calm me down and set me straight. He would understand why the concepts of making coffee and taking a shower and riding my bike made me such a profoundly grateful mess and he would have the right words to reduce the mess and amplify the grateful part of that complex “grateful mess” construct.

But he didn’t answer his phone, which left me with 2–no, 3–choices: Sit here and cry, go back home and probably cry, or get back on my bike and try to lose the crying.

I got back on my bike. 

While the bike and I remained down near sea level, a few more tears leaked out, but as I pushed myself away from the city streets, up into the hills and onto the dirt, my tears went away as well. 

Focus on your legs. They are strong.

Focus on your heart rate. Make it calm.

Focus on your breath. In. Out. Slowly. Deliberately. 

Meditate on your motion. Strong. Calm. Slow. Purposeful…. Keep going…

Just keep going.

At one point during the ride I was gobsmaked by a blindingly brilliant self-revelation, but the thing about bike-induced brilliance (as well as bike-induced emotional turbulence) is that it usually doesn’t follow you home. You truly “leave it all out there” when you ride your bike with purpose and passion. Yesterday was a #gooddayforaride for sure!

And when I got home and a concerned BB/PP finally called back all I could tell him was this: “I dunno what happened out there. I just got so overwhelmed by gratitude, for so many little things that I had started taking for granted, and when I remembered to pay attention to them again–to all the ridiculously deep meaning that goes into them–like the exceptional beauty and luxury of being able to make my own pot of coffee exactly the way I want it, or taking a shower and remembering to clean and caress and thank and marvel at all of my body parts–not forgetting any of them, not re-washing any of them, not getting lost and confused while I navigate my wet, naked, soapy body—how can you NOT cry when you realize what miracles these things are?! How can you NOT be sad about the fact that you took them for granted for awhile?” 

And maybe for the first time ever, he had nothing to say after that….

Every goddamned day is packed with so many friggin miracles that it’s a wonder that any of us are able to function for extended periods of time rather than being routinely and utterly dumbfounded and mortified by inordinate awe and gratitude.

Six years ago today I did not die when I smashed my head. 

Yesterday I remembered what a phenomenal gift I was given on that day 6 years ago. 

Today I resolve to continue to celebrate the everyday miracles of being able to make my coffee, ride my bike, take a shower, and do all the myriad other things that I will never again label the mundane activities of everyday life. 

You are a living, breathing–and if you are truly lucky, bike riding–miracle. Go celebrate the wonder of you today, everyone.

xoxo


4 Responses to “Transcending Gratitude”

  1. Christina Morandini June 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

    Very, very grateful that you made it, Z. I remember when I heard about your accident. I was in Brooklyn. I remember crying and thinking, this isn’t right, I’m not ready, the WORLD isn’t ready to lose this person. As I followed your sisters’ daily updates online, I prayed and kept the faith. And now here we are. You are protected. Keep on kickin ass, 😘 Love you, Tina mo

    • justadventures June 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

      Way to kick me square in the feels, TiMo! 😡 But seriously tho, I for sure felt and responded to and continue to appreciate all the positive vibes from so many corners of the globe. Glad to have a center of resonance up in Alaska now, too ✨

  2. Anonymous June 13, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    I remember that day too – it was such an awful feeling to think you might die. I’m filled with gratitude for your survival. And for the little everyday miracles. Thanks for the reminder.

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