The Chill Out Hat


Yesterday evening Tumbleweed was on my front porch staring at my car. An uncomfortable feeling began to creep up in the pit of my stomach, "look at your wheel" he said. "Flat". Ugh, maybe a nail through the tire, I'm not sure. Tumbleweed like the gallant man he is dressed in his button down shirt and good pants began to make a move towards the spare. "Hold up" I protested "we aren't putting the spare on". This was the icing on the cake to a very frustrating week. The type of week where nothing quite falls into place. You say the wrong things (more than once I might add), your running doesn't even feel good, and you get the distinct feeling you are knocking on the wrong doors.  If I'm being honest with myself these feelings of frustration, of feeling out of synch have been going on a lot longer than the past week.

Tumbleweed and I stood looking at my car not saying anything for more than a few minutes, It wasn't dramatic, but it put us both into a state of reflection.  It's just a flat tire, worse things have happened, but this was a sign. This was a big fat, red stop sign plowing into me and I knew I needed to digest the lesson.

You might say I'm crazy, but this flat tire was asking me to look at something other than my flat tire.  It was saying "Wake Up!"

It was saying...

Alisha You've hit a limit. There is only one of you! You don't need to be productive every single minute of every day." Why do you think you need to move, move, move and do, do, do?!"

My mind was thinking of plan B as I stood in front of my 14 year old dirty VW with a dumb look across my face.  I was reflecting, knowing that leaving the car parked for a least a day would be the best medicine I could take to break out of my funk. I have a bike, I have two strong legs, I'm sick and tired of rushing around everywhere trying to do everything, trying to check a million items off of my to do list.

I could not think of a single good reason to fix the tire immediately. We took Tumbleweed's car, got a bottle of fix a flat and went to Green Valley Grill to split a bottle of wine and call it at evening. I'll use the fix a flat Monday and fill up the tire, drop the car off at Firestone on the way to work.

In the mean time I rode to teach yoga today. I had to slow down, I couldn't just run out the door and start a car.  I had to be present and plan a bit more.  Where was my helmet, bike lock, did I want to stop for breakfast after yoga?  Was I dressed properly, did I have everything I needed.   A bike slows you down causes you to focus on the moment at hand, see the pavement beneath you, the air on your face, the climate of the day, of the hour, it's a mediation of immeasurable value.  It's a perfect pause button.

later I may ride out to visit Tumbleweed 15 miles down the rd. I may decide to take a nap. I've already spent the better part of the last two hours at deep roots enjoying a leisurely brunch and coffee while I pondered this post, something I enjoy but rarely allow myself the time to do.

The many hats I wear have me going every which way, it's all my own doing, and I'm aware of that.  I love my hobbies and I'm fiercely competitive at work and sometimes play, but there comes a time you have to say "ENOUGH!".  The flat tire reminded me it's really ok to hit the pause button. Rest is just as important as work and productivity.  Just like running, cycling or yoga you can't get stronger if you don't take your rest days!  You can't get innovative or creative unless you take time out to rest and reflect. I know that intuitively and through experience, but often I need to be reminded.

What calls you out?  What helps you hit the pause button?  How do you slow down when you know you are going the wrong speed?

I'm taking inventory of the many aspects of life today and I'm only going to do what feels really good and really right.  I'm going to finish this blog post, pedal home and then decide if it's a nap that feels best.  I'd encourage you to take inventory too, to stop and do what feels best to you.

Wearing the "Chill out Hat" yours, -Alisha