Today is Tuesday February 13th.
4 days til the Iron Unicycle, my Iron-and-a-half-man on a unicycle. I feel ready, but I also feel the unknown. It’s fear mixed with readiness. It’s unknown and it’s okay.
What is known is that this will be a probably painful but definitely worthwhile challenge for me. As was shared at a Marathon Race Prep event I went to the other night, a Haruki Murakami quote:
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
Yesterday, my collaborator and friend Jimmy Agnew, who runs unicycle clubs across Texas, joined me to get my wetsuit rental and we took a trip to Barton Springs in downtown Austin. I tested out the wetsuit, and goggles and swim cap from my triathlete brother, Morgan.
Everything went swimmingly.
Pool workouts these last 5 months have been everything from brutal and suffocating to lightly fun and breezy. I used to swim as a kid and I do feel comfortable in the water, but doing endless laps is not my style. Enter Nature. It’s like night and day. (Well, it creates and manages night and day, actually) But I mean that it’s like a totally different animal. Swimming in a chlorinated tank with artificial lights bears no resemblance jumping in the ocean or in a spring-fed pool.
What bearing does this have on life, this comparison? It’s not the swimming, it’s the environment. Sometimes it’s not even the outer environment but the inner one! Yes, it certainly helps to align the outer environment with the inner, as with getting out in nature. This applies to our social life. If your friends aren’t supportive, and after communicating and giving it a chance, we should move on to new friends who can be supportive in who we are. For family this is not possible, but certainly it’s important to try, and then at some point, create some healthy boundaries.
Surround yourself with nature, with love, with support, with helpful and openly communicative people that bring the best out in you. And temper that grasp on your outer environment with a grasp on your inner. Maybe don’t change the outer, but just adjust the inner in order to better see what is in the outer. Maybe it’s a matter of cultivating a sensing of feeling loved or feeling supported even when you didn’t think it was there.
I found a reading by Thich Nhat Hanh that can be paraphrased like so:
Knowledge gets in the way of knowing.
I would say that perspective gets in the way of experience. Whether by outer or inner, a slight change of scenery, or an abrupt action of change–even a dramatic and dangerous one–can bring us closer to deeper experience.