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The Zen of “move it bitches”

“You sort of looked checked out – you know, like you’re totally Zen” – this is what Jeremy said to me in the car between photos at the Subaru/Trek Team media camp two weeks ago.  Jeremy had been nailing his shots all day and I asked him what exactly it was that I was “missing.”

The photographer, Mike Tittel, had repeatedly told us that he wanted us to look genuine, but like we were out racing (sort of an oxymoron I suppose – pretend to look like you’re racing, genuinely).  With each pass of the camera, I visualized like mad: I was at the race start of a World Cup, the gun just went off, and I wanted to get to that singletrack first – “move it bitches, I’m coming through!” (Now, now, I don’t actually think they’re bitches…it’s all that rap music I’ve been listening to…)

“Heather, let’s get more aggressive looking,”  he says….SERIOUSLY!? I was just thinking “move it bitches” and I didn’t look agressive?!?

And that’s when I realized that “Zen” IS my race face and it’s not because I’m checked out or not feeling agressive.  Other’s at the shoot agreed – I often look calm & focused when I race.  The more I’ve thought about it, I realized it’s the face of someone who knows just what she wants and is detached from the distractions happening all around her.  Racing and training brings a great deal of physical suffering and mental chatter and the way I cope with this is by leaving it all behind.  I guess you could call it my happy place – or at least as happy a place you can be when you’re climbing a 15% grade with sweat pouring into your eyes!

 

 

ZEN. Photo Credit Ryan Bunge

How often do you find this happy place?  When you’re out there racing, riding, running, hiking, even working away at your career - whatever it is you do to push and challenge yourself – CAN you find your happy place?  If you can’t, is what you’re doing your true passion?  Is it really what you want?

I have a lot of time to think when I ride my bike – long hours in the saddle help me work through many of life’s questions (or at least MY questions that I ask about life).  In the past year or so, I’ve met some amazing people, read some incredible books, and found many gurus that have helped me dig deeper into the big question – what makes me happy?  How do I always stay happy?

I continue to learn every day and things aren’t always EASY, but I’ve found the answer thanks to this quest.  The answer is – joy and happiness are ALWAYS there.  ALWAYS.  You’ve never not had “it”, never lost “it”, and don’t need to look for “it.”  The thing is, you have a mind…one that’s talking to you ALL the time (and by the way, it will never stop talking).  It judges everything – how the air smells, whether or not you like that girl’s shirt, if you’re husband is annoying you, how cute your dog is, how nice your best friend is, and, yes, how much racing hard and pushing yourself can hurt.  ”This is too hard” “you can’t do this, you’re not strong enough” “I think I’m getting sick” “I ate too much last night” “I really haven’t been sleeping that well” “I’m not sure I can hang at this pace.”

SSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Shusssh, Shhh!  That’s what I say.  It’s all about DISCIPLINE of THOUGHTS – or DOT – a term I learned from Gerry and Nicole at The Yoga Pod, here in Boulder, during a workshop they put on this past January.  DOT is their acronym, but it’s really the same message you will find in many spiritual readings – regardless of the religious origin.

First, you choose the good thoughts – discipline.  ”I’ve worked really hard for this” “My bike feels super fast” “I’m really strong” “I can do this” “This climb is no big deal – I’ve conquered tougher ones.”  Second – you detach from these thoughts.  This is where the good stuff happens, it’s where you find the happy place.  One author I love, Michael Singer, says thoughts are just like the car driving by.  It comes, you hear it, it passes, you forget about it.  Why do we choose to give our thoughts any more attention than that?  It is, by the way, a choice – which thoughts you allow to both come AND go.  Choose to let all your thoughts go and pass through you, THEN, the cloudiness caused by those thoughts and the mind will clear.  This is when you will gain the clarity that enables you to hear and see what your heart really wants.  This is when you can really tend to the business of enjoying every moment of life.

So, next time you see me racing, or if you see a picture of me out there on my bike – I’m not checked out.  I’m in my happy place and my heart is the one doing the racing – this is when I feel the most joy and when I am my fastest.

 

2 Responses to “The Zen of “move it bitches””

  1. Skyler says:

    Heather,

    1) If you ever need modeling advice you KNOW who to ask

    2) Great post. thoughts like cars, I like it.

  2. Mark Petty says:

    Heather!

    After starting a new job at a bike shop in ID I walked past a poster with you on it – I did a double take and thought “I went to high school with her!” It’s awesome to see your success and I’m wishing you all the best in the upcoming Olympic qualifiers! Good luck and God bless!

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