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Take a deep breath and bike

Trees_park_bike_meditation I write on many ad-supported web sites to earn my family's keep, and sometimes I weary of the grind. The cheerful list of tips. The careful consideration of a topic from all sides. So when I got the opportunity to do a presentation at Ignite Portland 5 -- I'd pitched the title "hacking life with kids, and without a car" -- I decided to avoid the usual perky lists and helpful hints and top-10 lists and I wrote it as a meditation. "You are riding your bike. You are taking the bus, train, streetcar... You do not pray for change in the world. You are the world. You are the change."

As usual when I really get lost in something I'm writing, it got away from me and took on a life of its own. The line that was repeated the most after the presentation on Thursday night was this: "You are not en route. You are already here." As I've been thinking over the past few days of dealing with challenging children and my own need to take a deep breath so much in my life, it's a good reminder to myself: this is what I wanted, this life, with children who want nothing as much as to stand in the middle of a parking lot tracing the stenciled letters on the ground, or to take a 90-minute bath because they're just enjoying looking at the faucet, or to play and play and play at the park until the sun goes down. When I dreamed of having kids, it was not a dream of typing at my laptop in a coffee shop without them, no, it was the journey that was my dream, the struggle and the joy, the books read over and over and over. The video of my talk is after the jump; you can link to other Ignite talks here at Blip.tv (I love this one on chickens; this one on taking the bus; and this one on being a refugee).


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I love it - very inspiring and beautiful. Great work!

Fabulous reminder to slow down and enjoy the life I've set up for myself!! Thank you for having me stop and think for a moment!

Thanks, Sarah. I am one of the fearful, but not a driver by nature. I'm a walker, so I do go slowly. One of my goals this spring/summer is to get comfortable on a bike so that I can get over the fear of biking with my 3-yr-old.

Yes, but what is that child seat that puts the baby *up front*?? I want one!

Exactly! I wanted to be a mommy, and every time it gets hard I just realize this is what I really wanted. I hate sitting in a cafe with my laptop - I'm so sick of it. I'd rather push a little person on *top* of the roof of the car cart all around New Seasons.

As for the biking, I was thinking of your meditation the other day as I rode up Hawthorne to 60th, thinking of things I've learned that I might add. "You will learn that hills look less steep once you're on them...You will learn that the will is stronger than the body." And many more.

nancy: that baby seat is the bobike mini seat and they have 'em at clevercycles on hawthorne and 9th. there are others that work similarly but this one's the most accessible :)

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