Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Love

Flywheel Effect

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When over 200 like-minded adventurous bicyclists converge upon a small community and travel together for an entire week, mystically powerful energy is produced. Collectively overcoming weather extremes, dealing with physical limitations, and coping with equipment failures with nothing but the heroic support of the Tour staff and each other to carry us through to the finish, we grow more connected with each passing minute.

On the very last day of the Tour of Minnesota yesterday, after splashing some water on my face and changing out of my wet cycling attire to put on clean shorts and a shirt I had stashed in the car for just this purpose, I found myself walking beside a fellow cyclist who I had yet to officially greet. We exchanged names and heartfelt pleasantries, wishing each other well on returning to “life after adventure vacations.” There was an instant unmistakable yet unspoken bond evident.

I am blessed with over 200 similar bonds woven together into one inspiring, life-enhancing aspect of my life. It is a very powerful force for good health.

One thing about energy like this is that it doesn’t simply dissipate when we all part ways for our homes at the end of the week. Comparable to the momentum of a flywheel, the emotional thrills of the week continue to spin and energize the more mundane demands of our daily home activities.

No matter what I need to put my effort toward now that my vacation week of biking and camping is over, the people and events of this year’s Tour of Minnesota will continue to spin in my mind and inspire my happy emotions for longer than seems logical. I long ago opened my mind to accepting unexplained phenomena as worthy of our attention and fully embrace the value of my emotional memories of all the personal connections shared with people I meet during these adventure weeks, some of these connections not materializing for me until the trip is over and everyone has gone home.

The flywheel has yet to wind down.

The bag of gear that needed to weigh less than 50 pounds for the sake of the luggage crew hefting so many bags multiple times per day had gained an awful lot of water weight by the time I struggled it out of the car when I got home yesterday. Before I was able to wrestle my soaked tent out of its carrying bag, the skies at home opened up with an attention-getting downpour of rain that interfered with my plan of hanging everything in the sun to dry.

It served to help sustain me in the mental place of the ride, having awoken in a similar downpour in Staples, MN earlier that very same day.

This morning, I am faced with the realities of news that a minority of people in my country are accomplishing steps to force their narrow moral views on all, moving our society backwards fifty years. I like the meme spotted recently that suggests life begins at ejaculation and maybe the burden of unplanned pregnancies and fears about unmarried promiscuity should be placed primarily on MEN in these situations, not so much women.

I’m going to ride the residual spin of wonderful energy from my Tour of Minnesota experience this year for longer than ever.

Somehow, loving all others as much or more than we love ourselves will bring us to better places soon. That’s a flywheel that I strive to get turning to a maximum velocity the whole world will feel.

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Her Birthday

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Send love to Cyndie for her birthday today! She is out of town at the moment, so I am celebrating with pictures of us together while she is away. I actually posted these two years ago for her birthday and so this is kind of a not-so-random “wayback” post. I believe they all work just fine a second time around…

 

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Happy Birthday, Cyndie!

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Written by johnwhays

June 4, 2022 at 7:00 am

Opposing Forces

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What triggered the thought in my head to ask, I do not know. My mild compulsion to seek order and repetition in my daily activities leads me to reset some things while often completely ignoring others. Really, the majority of my efforts for order are preemptive, enacted with the intent of easing future tasks.

One example of this is rinsing pans, dishes, and utensils instantly after use to avoid foods drying to the surface and becoming more difficult to clean later. Another version is clearing snow to a distance beyond the edges of the driveway or walkways to make it easier to clear future accumulations.

However, not all my impulses are entirely practical. This one is probably more aesthetic.

Recently, I noticed that I have repeatedly been adjusting the entryway rug inside our front door to pull it off the sill. I figured normal traffic or possibly an exuberant dog was causing the rug to slide up against the door, so I kept moving it back.

Then, for an unknown reason, I experienced a vivid moment of intuition that led me to ask Cyndie if she moves the front rug up against the door sill.

“Yes,” she said. “I do.”

Aha! We have been unknowingly operating at cross-purposes, doing battle back and forth with opposing intentions.

She was thinking about catching debris from dirty boots on the rug, so she surmised there should be no space between the rug and sill. I said we could just step onto the rug when we come inside.

Something in me senses the rug should be spaced away to avoid possible interference with opening the door.

Cyndie and I are very different in many ways, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising that we were working against each other in this regard, but it is always humorous to discover little details like this when we have been living together for over 40 years.

Our opposing forces may be part of our mutual attraction and balance the many ways we are alike. There is something to the adage that “opposites attract.” It’s rather magnetic, isn’t it?

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Lovely Ride

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Beautiful weather, wonderful friends, and an old railroad grade paved trail made for an absolutely lovely bike ride yesterday. We even came upon my favorite word carved in stone. Of course, I just had to pose for a portrait. Rich obliged my request.

Eventually, the whole gang got into the act.

Doobie is not pictured because he is the one taking the picture. Gray is not in the picture because he kept riding when we stopped so that he could get back in time to make another event.

We had arrived at the Big Stone Sculpture Garden and Mini Golf course. Truly a worthwhile destination.

Our little jaunt took us from Wayzata to St. Bonifacious and back again on the Dakota Trail. As we rode the first leg, I became aware that we would be riding right past the house where Cyndie’s and my friends, Barb and Mike Wilkus live. On the way back, I asked Rich to pull off the trail with me to take a quick picture in front of their house. I figured they were out of town for the weekend so I was going to send them a text with the photo.

As Rich and I turned off the trail, I saw a car in the driveway so I rang the doorbell and found they were home! After a quick greeting, it was time to catch up with the rest of the group and get to a lunch reservation waiting for us in Wayzata at The Muni. (Wayzata Bar and Grill.  I recommend the Cubano sandwich.)

As I rediscover every time, the riding is always good but the company of friends is ten times better. The next time I will see that group of folks will be in the middle of June for the Tour of Minnesota. I am really looking forward to a week of biking and camping with them once again.

I love these friends.

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Written by johnwhays

May 16, 2022 at 6:00 am

Love Matters

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So many things don’t matter at all unless we choose to grant them value.

Does a single day matter in the grand scheme of weeks, months, or years? The calendar advances as the page for a day is turned over and topics simmer in a stew that, for me last night, included news of atrocities occurring in Ukraine and descriptions of U.S. history in the PBS broadcast of Ken Burns’ “Benjamin Franklin.”

It is never appropriate to enslave people. Apparently, Benjamin figured that out toward the end of his life. It’s less appropriate for an invading army to abuse and murder innocent civilians —women/children/the elderly— trapped in their own land by the conflict.

Whether or not oft credited Edmund Burke actually expressed the concept of evil triumphing when good people do nothing, the idea hangs heavy in the air when world news is filled with unending reports of state-sanctioned violence. Makes it hard to feel that the slow influence of sanctions compares reasonably with doing anything very far above nothing.

It is the year 2022 and telescopes have discovered a rare glimpse of a new planet ‘still in the womb.’ Researchers are finding a new type of cell in the human lung that plays a vital role in keeping the respiratory system functioning properly.

How many of us have grown up thinking that what we know about the world is pretty much everything there is to know? Scientists just completed mapping the human genome. The more we learn about the universe, the more aware we should be about how little we actually know.

Meanwhile, evil tyrants are still able to direct their armies to enact lethal havoc on a country of innocent people.

If love is the solution the world needs, I wish simply saying so could fix everything that needs fixing.

Eventually, it will be discovered that everything in the universe is connected, sometimes in surprising ways, and the main thing that matters in all situations is inextricably associated with love in one or more of its many forms.

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Written by johnwhays

April 6, 2022 at 6:00 am

Words Emerge

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Spring has arrived on the calendar. Maybe that explains all this spring-like evidence unfolding before our eyes. Mud, primarily. Yesterday, I opened some gates for the horses that we have historically held open using step-in posts. Without thinking, I attempted to step them in and quickly met the resistance of frozen ground an inch or two below the surface.

It’s only spring on the surface thus far.

There is still snow in the woods, but it is shrinking by the minute.

The wooden blocks of the “boardwalk” we installed on a section of trail that gets the muddiest are beginning to reappear.

Cyndie has painted words of inspiration on some of them and it looks like those messages have survived the winter just fine.

Out on the open road I didn’t find any traces of snow while spending time on my new bicycle in the afternoon. I’m pretty confident I will never regret purchasing an e-bike. Having that motor assist took much of the stress out of my first real ride of the season.

Like the emerging words say, LOVE always. I expect I will be loving this bike for the rest of my life.

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Written by johnwhays

March 21, 2022 at 6:00 am

Just Watching

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Day after day, reports are given about the numbers of Russian troops massing along the border with Ukraine. We’ve been hearing about it for months. What would it take for this conflict to not happen?

Over and over we hear about the mass detention of Uyghurs in China while nations continue to do business with the country and allow them to host the Winter Olympics. What would it take for the persecution of innocent people to not happen?

To where should the millions upon millions of refugees and displaced people on the planet fleeing from conflicts or natural disasters migrate? What if the countries of the world worked together to solve the need to find homes for displaced people?

Why are some US people so desperate to prevent the inclusion in our public education system of the true history of racial injustices in this country? What if we all accepted what really happened?

It’s as if the human race is incapable of avoiding the creation of our own pain and misery.

Imagine if Putin put all the money and effort of his troop build-up and cyber warfare into making life better for all the individual citizens of Russia. Imagine if Communist China put all the expense and effort of spying on and controlling their own citizens toward making the happiness of all its people the number one priority.

Imagine if the US government was actually functional as a two-party system that collaborated to accomplish the will of all the citizens.

Imagine if all humans felt equal amounts of empathy for others who are suffering. What if all people were fully attuned to their gut and heart intelligence, in addition to their brains, and functioned in complete balance among all three?

Adulting can be hard. Emotional intelligence much?

I recently watched a documentary movie that made a big impression on me. Afterward, I searched online for information about the movie and came upon a series of reviews critical of the many shortcomings of the film. Reading the critiques helped me to more fully process what I’d seen and tempered my reaction to it.

The writer/director wasn’t wrong, but neither were the reviewers who found fault with his movie. None of us are exclusively good or bad, or right or wrong. We are all of these.

Still, I wish we didn’t have to just watch helplessly while conflicts around the world play out in a relative slow motion display of the worst of human behaviors.

Put a little love in your heart

and the world will be a better place

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Written by johnwhays

February 20, 2022 at 7:47 am

Winds

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

February 2, 2022 at 7:00 am

Painful Loss

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I knew Jennifer to be a precious, congenial, and amiable person, despite the experiences she lived through that drove her to multiple treatments for mental health concerns. Every time I saw her again after long absences, that remarkable dose of her true spark and desire to gain full command of her wellness glowed anew.

My idealistic goal of loving everyone on this earth is not always effortlessly achieved. Jenny was not one of the difficult ones. I loved her as easily as anyone.

It is devastating to have learned that she took her own life this week.

Those of us who knew and loved Jenny are experiencing the pain of losing the sound of her laughter, for good this time. It is we who must now reconcile the mental turmoil of the various roles we played in her life, of opportunities now vanished, hopes tarnished, with the burdens of sudden grief pressing down upon us.

As a person who has enjoyed great success in breaking free of the oppressive mental weight of depression, with all of its distortions of perception and its focus on imagined perils, I suffer deep heartbreak over instances where the interruption and amelioration of the affliction are unsuccessful.

There is debate about whether depression is curable or not, but there is general agreement that it is treatable. Good health requires maintenance, and being treated by professionals for depression can be a project of a lifetime.

In a way, good health habits are a self-directed form of treatment that keeps my depression at bay. It doesn’t feel focused on depression prevention for me because my healthy practices bring so many other rewards beyond just keeping my mind free from the dark dysfunctions that define the affliction.

Put simply, living healthy serves as a vaccination against the ills of depression for me.

It feels important to me to accentuate the time component of dealing with depression and frankly, all other aspects of a journey toward optimal health. I am profoundly moved by the length of time and variety of avenues Jenny navigated in her efforts toward health and well-being.

Good health does not happen in an instant as a result of a momentary desire to be healthy. It is a process that requires firm determination to stay on task for days that become weeks, then months, and ultimately, years. I often point out that a goal of getting healthy should be referenced against the number of months or years we allowed bad habits to weaken our muscles, add excess fat, compromise our livers, overtax our hearts, rob us of needed sleep, and ignore or misinterpret our full range of emotions.

May we always remember the best about loved ones who are no longer with us and seek inspiration from those fond memories for a determination to strive for our own optimal health in a journey that we renew every morning for the rest of our days.

Amen.

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For any occasion involving thoughts of suicide, free 24/7, confidential services are available:

call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741).

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Holiday Afterglow

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A particularly precious aspect of family gatherings over a holiday is the physical assembling in collective display of love and affection for each other and the sharing of our immediate concerns and joys. I am greatly blessed to be a member of Cyndie’s family and together we are humbled to be parents of two incredible individuals in our daughter, Elysa, and son, Julian.

The previous two days were filled with hours of family time, regardless of the growing threat of the highly contagious coronavirus spiking once again around the world. We will serve as examples of the full vaccination/booster combinations to constrain any possible infections from severe illness or forced hospitalization if sickness arises in the days ahead. We hold no confidence that the latest omicron variant was completely absent the whole time, despite the lack of any symptoms or known contacts in those present.

Out of an abundance of caution, not all family members chose to participate in-person, in order to protect those with greater vulnerabilities to the threats of infection.

This morning, Cyndie and I are warmed by the residual energized emotions of heartfelt sharing with so many relations we dearly love.

My body feels hyper-nourished and a little over-sweetened by the feasts we gleefully enjoyed. Man, this family cooks and serves regal holiday meals.

The time shared at the home of Cyndie’s mom in Edina was a bit more emotional than usual due to activity underway to prepare the house for sale and the thought process and physical work of transitioning Marie to new living space at Friendship Village in Bloomington.

The next few days will involve intense effort by many hands to replace Christmas decorations with a much more austere simplicity in preparation for the realty company to film the full walk-through for online “open house” reviewals.

I will do my part by holding down the ranch so that Cyndie can offer her full-time attention to helping her brothers carry out the herculean task of processing in just a few days, lifetimes of accumulated family possessions.

In a perfectly timed gift after my final day of commuting to a day-job, Elysa gifted me the perfect shirt reflecting one of the responsibilities that will become an enhanced focus of my increased hours available to manage the ranch.

The EFRU has gained a new full-time member and I couldn’t be more proud.

I feel great pleasure every time I push our wheelbarrow out of the barn door and under the overhang with a calm greeting of, “Housekeeping!” for our horses to know what comes next. It doesn’t hurt that they smartly recognize what usually follows the tidying up of their accommodations. That is when their feed pans are served up.

Today is my half-birthday. December 26th is always a day I feel rather celebratory in the afterglow of Christmas magic.

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