Every morning when I wake up, I do a little stretch. How are my legs feeling today? My back? My arms? I examine any injured ache I had the previous day, feeling for improvement or an indication that I should take it easy. During breakfast, I check the weather. I’ve already checked it for the week but I check it again, taking note of the hourly forecasts. I may poke my head out the door to get a sense of how cold it feels outside. Before I leave for work, I do a mental self check: are you awake? Are you paying attention? Why or why not? How can we deal with that today so we can pay attention right now?
I do all of these things because not only are they essential to my comfort, but my safety, job security, and well-being. My commute to work is either on a bicycle or a motorcycle, and this involves steps and life practices not necessary for car driving.
The first aspect is simple physical awareness. Every bit of my body is needed for me to get to work. I depend on my legs, my balance, the ability to brace myself on my handle bars, for turns, propulsion, and simply not falling over (been there, done that). When I got hit by a car on my bicycle, the first thing I did was get up and test my knee out. The first question on my mind was, will I be able to keep going? When I eat, I keep in mind my commute for the next day. There is nothing like eating too little and running on fumes, or eating too much and hoping you make it to work before you explode. I’ve been avoiding more and more foods I like, but that make me feel bad the next day. I respect my body more than I ever have, because it has so far proven itself to be relentless, infallible, and adaptable. I depend on it, so I take care of it. As of yet (knock on wood) it hasn’t let me down.
The second aspect my two-wheel commute requires is mental. Me failing to be careful, or being distracted, or being mentally exhausted does not just result in a fender bender. Though my body is strong, it is small and tired next to a car. It is especially small and vulnerable when compared to a truck, and guess who are the worse drivers in all of California? Often, the physical motivates the mental, and without this motivation I wouldn’t be nearly as conscious as to what upsets me, when, why, and what I should do to work on it/deal with it. Things can’t necessarily sit and build up inside me quite like they used to.
The third aspect is the weather. I have to know what is going on outside each and every day. As I have continued commuting while exposed to the elements, I have begun to feel much more of a connectedness to the world around me. Everywhere I go now, I can no longer be completely in my own head. I am always looking up at the clouds, the sun, and feeling the temperature on my skin.
I didn’t always used to be this way. In college, my hope was that I could remain as unconscious as possible until reaching the school cafeteria for breakfast/coffee. The ideal after coffee was to be ruthlessly focused on the day’s tasks. I didn’t have time for much self-evaluation, and perhaps I could do that being a young an invincible 20 year old. However, now I am a bit older, and not only have to pay attention to myself physically, but mentally as well. Life seems to be changing pretty fast right now, and there are so many more things that I have to consider each and every day. My morning routine of physical and mental mindfulness helps me to become present, and gives me motivation to do an honest self-assessment. Along with the self-assessment, my two wheeled rides help me feel connected to the world around me. Something about being present, and also being present and aware of my local surroundings, with its high and lows and mists and rains and winds, makes me feel like I am not so alone. If we open our eyes, the world is such a big and beautiful place. It’s hard to not have your cares melt away on a sunny day, or to smile when you see a fellow biker braving the rain.
In summary, commuting on two wheels has profoundly and deeply changed me. I wonder, how you it change you?
This Week in Updates: Still Busy
Wow. Another week I think will go smoothly and it results in being about just as busy as the last. I’m getting better at the hectic pace though, and make sure to pause and take moments to enjoy laying down on my couch, the wonderful weather outside, and my two furry friends who are staying at my place for the weekend. If you are ever looking for an easy way to save some money, may I suggest dog sitting for Rover.com? Two furry friends and $100 for the weekend. They make pretty nice study buddies. And walking dogs is the perfect study break. So is talking to Jesse, and I am happy to report that he is back from his cruise! This means I get to talk to him on the phone again. It’s amazing how much you can miss the sound of someone’s voice.
The recipe: Vegan Naan Pizzas
Yet another reason to make Naan. If you have tomato sauce laying around and are in the mood for something different, you have easy to make naan pizzas! It’s amazing how perfectly crispy naan becomes as a toasted pizza crust. I would top with either vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast flakes. If you don't know how to make Naan, check out my recipe page under sandwiches and bread!
- Vegan Parmesan
- Mushrooms, chopped
- Peppers, chopped
- Tomato Sauce
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease a pan lightly with olive oil and place naan on it.
- Sauce and top naan with your toppings. If the mushrooms are not covered in sauce, lightly brush the tops with olive oil so they don’t burn.
- Cook for 10 minutes.