"Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."
The road will not always lead to where you thought it would, and sometimes the best laid plans come up short. Enjoy where you are, wherever that is. Life is never about the destination.
"The Ten Zen Principles of Good Motorcycle Riding Habits"
Respond to situations, instead of reacting
Look in the direction you want to go, not where you don't want to go
Practice mindfulness, focusing on what you're doing, when you're doing it, and in the correct order
Understand and respect your own limitations, and set your own pace
Be prepared and think and plan ahead
If you fall, get back up
If you break something, fix it
If you don't know something, learn
Practice good habits often and commit yourself to the process
Enjoy the Ride
Continue to work on your skills and practice often. The details make up the big picture, and your little habits make up your life! When I started learning to ride a motorcycle, I had to get rid of bad habits I practiced when I was driving in my car because I was afraid they would transfer over to my motorcycle riding (for example, I tended to race to a stop sign, then hit the brakes hard).
My husband always says "It's not what you do, it's how you do it." Having a goal isn't enough. How we approach things is what really ensures our success. Work on creating good habits in one area of your life, and watch these little changes add up to an improved life.
Principle #8: If you don't know something, learn!
I wish I knew how to:
Ride a motorcycle, Bake a cake, Make lots of Money, Travel Internationally, Roller-skate, Surf, Drive a Car, Navigate a Subway System, Change my oil, change a flat tire, become a nurse, invest in real estate, do a headstand....
It's never too late to learn something new. You just have to be willing to surrender your ego and be patient with yourself.
Principle #7: Own up to your mistakes. If you break something, fix whatever you have broken.
It's not a weakness to admit when you've broken something or made a mistake. A rider who knows how to take care of their bike and fix things that are broken is an automous, free rider.
It's not necessary to throw away things, or relationships, or yourself, or whatever else you think is broken.
If you feel broken, there is always time to put yourself back together again.
This one is self-explanatory. Just because you fall off your bike, doesn't mean you should quit!
One of the reasons some people actually quit riding is because they've dropped their motorcycle more than once and think they can't handle it. It's a bad feeling to drop a motorcycle. But how much of it is just an ego thing?
If you fail at something, it does not you should give up!
It' cliche but still true. If at first you don't succeed, keep trying!
This one seems obvious. But it isn't always as easy at it sounds.
It's easy to plan the big stuff and create goals. But what about the smaller steps you need to reach those goals? Have you planned and prepared for the steps necessary?
On a motorcycle, you might plan your destination, but you also have to think ahead for things on the road.
As you're riding, you have to plan ahead for every stop. Is there gravel or grease at that stop sign? Is the road uneven?
If you pull into a parking spot, will you be able to get out of it? Are you going the right speed to make that turn?
Are you wearing all your gear? It's better to be fully armored and never have a crash, than to be unprepared and have a crash.
As I've been trying to change my habits on the motorcycle and plan ahead, I'm noticing that I am planning ahead with other little things in my life. Like, even how I wash the dishes, I notice I'm planning ahead as to which ones I'm washing first so they are more organized in the dry rack. I'm procrastinating less and planning even my small actions more. I'm finding it's actually saving me time and making me feel more grounded.
It is better to be prepared and never meet an opportunity, than to meet an opportunity and be unprepared.
Focus on what you are doing, when you are doing it, and do things in the correct order.
It sounds like the simplest thing in the world to do, but for some reason, it's so difficult!
You can't write a book before learning how to spell. You can't learn to run until you've learned to crawl.
You can't shift into second gear before pulling in the clutch. Respect the process and do things in order.
I had an 8th grade English Teacher who used to say "A person who does two things at once, does two things poorly."
More than once, I've heard stories of motorcyclists zoning out at a stop light, forgetting they are sitting on a 500 pound machine with two wheels and are not in a car. Then, start relaxing a little too much, daydreaming, and the next thing you know, you end up dropping the bike, just sitting there. How does that just happen when you are just sitting there?
Well, I've done it, and can tell you, it's because my mind was off thinking of something else. Like, as if I was paying the bills or getting a grocery list going in my head and not being present and mindful in that moment.
Mindfulness is an obvious habit to adopt. But it definitely takes practice!
Don't be mindless. Be mindful!
When you're on a motorcycle, wherever you are looking, is where the bike will go. If you want to make a tight turn you have to look into that turn. If you look down, the bike goes down. If you're looking at a van parked on the side of the road, the motorcycle will head right for it.
If we are focused on avoiding the things in life we are afraid of, or what we don't want in life, we are practically guaranteeing to bring that energy into our life.
I had a yoga teacher named Travis Eliot who would always say, "Where the mind goes is where the energy flows."
So, make sure your mind is looking in the direction of your dreams rather than your fears.
And always look in the direction that you want to go, not where you don't want to go.
Reacting on a motorcycle can lead to accidents and injuries, such as grabbing the front brake to avoid a crash instead of swerving out of the way, or taking a turn too slow and dropping the bike.
Cultivating and practicing the right Responses on a motorcycle, such as using the back brake, and using skills to swerve out of the way of danger are not instinctual, but these practices can save your life on a motorcycle.
Reacting to life's situations is impulsive, and not well thought out.
Reacting in a conversation can lead to arguments, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.
Responding is a conscious and responsible action.
It means you took the time to learn your skills on a motorcycle.
It means you took your time in a conversation to hear what was really being said, and that the words you used were chosen mindfully.
Don't react. Respond instead.
-Leslie Reyes Waddington, BSN, RN