Going Downhill, in a Good Way…

non-stop-flowing-in-little-river-canyon-jw-photographyBiking in the Colorado Rockies gave me ah hah that coincides with nature. After my first day out I got winded and fatigued from the altitude, especially after stopping for lunch (the margarita probably didn’t help!) On Day Two, I was a bit more cautious, not wanting to feel so sluggish.

As we headed out on the route, I felt like I was riding mostly downhill. Fun in the moment, but that way back was weighing on me. With each passing mile, I knew I had to save some reserve for the return. I even mentioned to my husband that we could go further, as long as it wasn’t too much more down hill. He said that although our path was rolling, we had mostly been biking up hill. He said he knew by watching the water flow from the river next to our route. I looked at the water and it was a fact, yet how come I felt like I was peddling down and not up??

Nature has a way of showing us truths, even when we think we know otherwise…

We turned around and sure enough, I flowed downhill on the path just like the river, with my gears shifting to take full advantage. It was one of those experiences where I felt like I got a free ride, with the wind at our backs as we rode uphill and now, on the way back, a nice easy ride home.

Life doesn’t usually work that way. Often there is the toil and then the payoff, certainly this applies to bicycling, hiking, or for that matter running a business, getting a project off the ground, raising a family—you name it.

Effortless experiences come around once in a while, especially if you don’t expect them.   And when you dip into a natural flow and rhythm, it’s pretty special. Savoring the experience makes it even better, which I did as I rode back to our hotel, not winded or fatigued, but feeling embraced by nature and all the wonders it holds.

As the summer comes to a close, think about what your moments have been. If you take the time to create an imprint, the recollection has more of a chance of getting filed with other long-term memories.

Ultimately our memories and related stories define us, so keep the good ones!

A Sign of the Times

734650_10151430864545795_1701895666_nDriving to a meeting today I was struck by a hand made sign on the road that simply said “Spend Your Time Collecting Memories.”

This sign reminded me of a new habit I am working on establishing called “The Five Moment Memoir.” I saw it in a magazine some time ago, which was the brainchild of (then) unemployed freelance writer Sarah Beauchamp. I loved the idea, clipped it to save, and recently found it in my file so decided to make this a part of my journaling.

Here’s how it works: Instead of writing down five things you are grateful for (which I have done on and off for years), you write snapshots from your day. Simply think of five things that have happened in the last 24 hours—the highlights and the lowlights. The idea is not to sugarcoat, but to identify key moments to recall that represent “A day in the life of…you.”

I love this approach because I tend to not repeat myself as I often do in my gratitude journal (My family, clean sheets, the Great Outdoors, and yummy meals often make that list.) With this Five Moment Memoir I etch in my brain the day, defining for myself what five things make the cut, often savoring something I especially enjoyed.

It’s also good for me because it delineates the day and is really helpful because when I re-read these pages, I can recall with detail these experiences. I highly recommend if you have hit the stage in life (like me) when things start to merge together, i.e., “What film was it we liked so much last month, with that talented actress–you know her name?” An awesome film would make my list and when I write it down and then have it to refer to, it gets to another level of my brain and I seem to remember everyday life better.

This only-takes-a-few-moments-to-do daily memoir can also be therapeutic, as you decompress, ruminate, or appreciate something special. After all, life is rarely neutral, so your subjectivity will show up on these pages and that’s a good thing!