Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Too many inputs

The purpose of this blog was initially to be a place where I could reflect, in writing, on the things that I pondered while I ran. I felt like it served that purpose well. Then I was told that I really needed not to run any longer in order to preserve what little cartilage was left in my knees. Biking and/or swimming were to be my new athletic outlets. I feel fortunate that I enjoy--and have grown to love--biking. (Swimming not so much.) I feel certain that if I were told to be sedentary, then the decline would be swift and unattractive.

What has perplexed me over the past several months is that I do not feel like I think and reflect when I am biking as I did when I was running. It is not that I have figured everything out and no longer need to mull things over. Is it that I simply do not have any more meaningful thoughts? I hope not. So what happened to the steady flow of things to reflect on? I think that there is too much else going on with biking.

Running is pretty easy in the sense that one foot goes down after the other and, once you have a route planned, there is not too much to think about. Breathing pretty much takes care of itself, as does balance. Biking is a different story. I must be attentive to traffic, staying on the road and upright, alert to hazards on or beside the road. Not to mention my computer inputs--elapsed time and distance, heart rate, cadence, speed--and other mechanical decisions to make--large chainring or small? What gear works best up or down this hill? On the bike I never have the feeling of time simply passing while my body goes on autopilot. And perhaps with all of the "noise" connected with biking, I simply do not have the brain capacity to also think deep (for me) thoughts.

I wonder whether this translates to relationships? Do I allow my days to get so packed with things to do or think about that I do not make time for friends? Or for time with God? Not because I actively devalue others, but just because I have used up all of my available attentiveness on the "cycling computer" inputs of daily living. I don't think that I like this very much. I want to make time and energy for people who matter to me.

But I am beginning to think that the answer may not be found in trying harder to pay attention. Perhaps it starts in making space that is not filled with other things that will allow time and energy that are not distracted, but that I can invest where those things can matter most--meaningful relationships with people who matter.

Pressing on,