After forty years of ignoring the outdoors – while growing up in Colorado, mind you – my husband is beginning to mountain bike. I say “is beginning” and not “has begun” because truthfully he’s been on two rides, and who knows if this over-the-hill pledge to become more “Colorado” will be sustainable. But he said something to me this past weekend which makes me believe he will continue on this journey. He said, “I’ve never felt more present.” 

When we first met, he lived in the Hollywood Hills. He stayed inside and wrote for weeks on end. He literally spoke to no one. He was a hermit. Since we moved to Colorado 4 years ago, he hasn’t been writing like he used to. Other responsibilities, yada yada. The reason I bring up the two points is that I believe he is receiving the same “flow” on the mountain that he used to reach on the keyboard. In those moments, he is completely present. He is mindful.

Distraction is a terrible symptom of modern day life, and it’s been compounded by this crisis. Even in silence, I hear the echoes of media, work, stress. The echoes shake loose more thoughts, like loose snow atop a mountain that descends into an avalanche. Somewhere at the bottom of the mountain, I disappear in white – and suffocate. 

There are things that help me battle this mental tyranny: CBD, meditation, indoor cycling. But I have to actively work at it. I have to make a concerted effort to quiet the noise. I am currently taking an online seminar by my friend Randi Graves, a wonderful mindfulness coach and member of the Kinisi Tribe. I am reading as much literature as I can get my hands on. I am working with my mentor, Tevia Celli, to develop mindfulness coaching as another primary element in our instructor training program at CycleBar. Our goal is for our instructors to be able to masterfully motivate body and mind alike. 

It’s ironic that we have to commit so much energy to our own presence when it’s quite literally a temporal fact. But in so doing, we can make the cycling studio our own mountain, and after class we too can repeat the words of my husband: I have never felt more present.