I noticed a shift in myself recently.
I’ve always been drawn to the beauty of a sunset. My mom and I frequently text to make the other aware of the truly amazing ones. Sunrises too. If I happened to be outside to see one, I’d gaze, smile, and think about life a little bit.
Until about a month ago, I began going out of my way to ensure I got in a “sunset ride.” In the past, I thought it was neat if I happened upon one. Still do. Except now, I prefer it daily and have found for the first time in my life, I anticipate it greatly. On the car ride home from work, I start thinking about it.
In a very short period of time, these rides on my mountain bike have become a sort of sacred ritual. For a few minutes while riding, I can empty my mind and just be.
This all started with a story my dad told me. He and a friend ran into each other on an evening walk with the dogs. They were talking about everything and nothing I’m sure, as men in their late 60’s do. During their conversation, as the sun was setting, they agreed on this: “He who experiences the most sunsets, wins.”
I thought nothing of this story at the time. Little did I know a seed was planted, and a few days later I went out for that first evening cruise — with no agenda other than to be in nature and let the colors and the wonder of the sunset set in to my soul.
In the third week of these evening rides, I bumped in to my dad’s friend. He was out walking his dog of course. I shared with him that my dad informed me about the “sunsets & winning” thing. He smiled and said, “Well you know, at your age you don’t think about it much but at my age you realize you don’t have too many sunsets left, so you seek them out.”
Except I am seeking them out. There are certainly many things in life I am naive to and don’t think about (and surely I could busy myself with many of these things), but in regards to well-being, family, following a passion, and serving — I think about these things all the time.
Morning inspirational reading, midday outdoor swims, sunset rides…these are just a few of examples of activities I find extremely rejuvenating and spiritually uplifting.
The trap I fall into sometimes is thinking I can trade in these sacred rituals temporarily while I chase a goal that requires the totality of my time, energy and focus. This almost always ends poorly.
The key I’ve found is to keep my aliveness intact. Today, I’m grateful I’ve found another way to do that, at least until daylight savings time ends next month 🙂
Keep feeling and experiencing all the mysteries and unfoldings around you, including a sunset or two perhaps.
Keep learning; the outdoors can teach you a lot.
I’ll do the same.