Today I went spinning for the first time in about ten days. Spinning can have many definitions, but in my case, it’s the exercise kind. The get-on-a-stationary-bike-and-pedal-like-mad-for-45-minutes kind of cycling action.
Spinning –while making me sweat profusely and reminding me that my heart can actually beat that fast — also does something to my mind. It occupies it. Making those wheels go around at breakneck speed takes concentration. It’s something I actually have to think about — which is a challenge for any brain that justwontshutoff. So initially, instead of fretting about the email I forgot to send, the laundry that needs to be done, what to make for dinner, those colleagues who are driving me nuts, I have a much bigger thing to think about: keeping this bike going. Now, I won’t lie: those nagging thoughts do muscle in sometimes (a quiet mind is impossible), but for the most part I need to really think about what I’m doing. And thinking about just one thing is a really good thing.
So once I get the legs moving and the effort takes less and less concentration, sometimes there is this magical space. Perhaps it’s that just-right combination of a great song, breathing rhythm, and state of consciousness — I’m not sure. But when it happens, it’s really amazing. In a “I wish I could bottle this and share it like a drug” kind of way.
And this is when the really good thoughts start to happen. All the noise shuts off. All the people disappear. I start to think about the things that bring richness and light to my life. The good things. This can lead to thoughts about writing, projects I want to work on, or a real great line for a poem. And although I am still connected to the intense exertions and exhalations of my body, my mind is somewhere else nearby having a really nice time, thank you very much.
Today I approached my bike with trepidation. Anytime I’ve been away for a while it feels like I am beginner starting all over again. So I wasn’t expecting any grand moment of calm. I would have been pleased just to make it to the end, unscathed and a little less than exhausted.
But The Calm did come. And even though it was for a few moments, I was able to spend some precious moments thinking about what I want to do next — what changes I want to make in my life — and the very important role that creativity will play. That felt really really awesome.