Sometimes not having a plan can lead you into trouble, and other times it can lead to a pleasant surprise. Yesterday my unplanned and rare shopping trip yielded a pleasant surprise. On returning from my trip, my shopping bag consisted of a Throw from John Lewis, 3 stalks of lemon grass, a book of cycling meditations and a packet of my favourite Indonesian sweets. It’s not that any of the purchases where particularly intentional, it’s just the way the day unfolded……and my favourite buy? The book of cycling meditations, of course!
As I left the house, I realised I didn’t want to take the tube, so I picked up a coffee from the Bean Around Town guy opposite the tube station, and took the number 88 bus. I got the front seat upstairs, drank my coffee and watched the world go by. As the bus turned into Regent Street, I noticed the Pinarello shop, and wondered at living in an age where a mono-brand cycling shop could afford the elegant Regent Street address. I was jolted out of my musing by the sudden recollection that the Specialized Concept store was in Covent Garden (and if anybody could give me some information about when the Women’s 2018 Diverge Comp was going to be on sale in the UK, it would be them), except that when I got to Slingsby Place, it wasn’t there anymore! Ho hum, perhaps only the likes of Pinarello can afford the luxury of a central London show-room? It did mean, however, that I was dangerously close to my favourite shop, Stanfords. I immersed myself in maps and travel books and thoughts of far-off lands, and eventually came across a little book called Mindful thoughts for Cyclists.
I flicked to the last page and read the title ‘Sufficient unto itself’. It’s rare that I pick up a cycling book that resonates with me to such a degree. It’s not that I cycle to be mindful, it’s that cycling, by it’s very nature, can be a mindful activity, and if you practice it long enough, it teaches you to overcome suffering. Then you know you are hooked for life!
In my relatively new life as a job-less (but financially secure) person, I am still learning how to freewheel without a sense of guilt or duty. Taking my feet of the pedals and slowing down my pace of life, has meant dealing with everything that I didn’t address when I was busy, and for me, this has meant facing negative as well as positive thoughts. This means that I am learning to be more mindful when I am off the bike as well as on.
What of the other items? Well, the lemon grass was consumed in a Jamie Oliver fishcake, and the Onde Onde were consumed with relish and very little mindfulness whilst walking along Gerrard Street. The Throw has to be returned because it’s not big enough!
Life in the fast lane eh!