Among my favorite memories are early morning walks on the beach, alone, with my Panasonic RX4920 Stereo Boombox resting on my shoulder, playing my favorite reggae music. Those were High School and college years, in the 1980s, on random Florida beaches, playing mixed tapes of my favorites songs by Bob Marley, UB40, and a lesser-known band, Steel Pulse. Something about those early morning, walking alone, the sound of waves lapping the shore, and those reggae rhythms, recalibrated my heart and soul to their proper and preferred tempo.
It was good for my soul.
Riding my motorcycle is a similar experience. When I find a long stretch of empty road – especially ones with some gentle wind and curve – cruising around 70 mph (give or take), my feet resting on my highway pegs, I relax, take a few deep breaths, and find my inner RPMs returning to their ideal operating speed. I don’t have a stereo on my bike, and I don’t want one. The mixed-tape I need has been permanently stored in my head.
I remember an opening scene of the Sons of Anarchy series: its night, and the Sons are riding a California highway, and, in the background, Jax says, “Something happens at around 92 miles an hour – thunder-headers drown out all sound, engine vibrations travels at a heart’s rate, field of vision funnels into the immediate and suddenly you’re not on the road, you’re in it. A part of it. That’s why I love these long runs. All your problems, all the noise, gone. Nothing else to worry about except what’s right in front of you. Maybe that’s the lesson for me today, to hold on to these simple moments.”
I rarely go 92 mph. But, I get his point.
I’ve experienced the same in a rocking chair, on my porch, on a cool Spring morning.
For some, it’s running or yoga. For others, it’s fishing or canoeing. For others, it’s horseback riding. For some, it’s swinging a hammer. For many, it’s keeping a Sabbath day.
Whether or not you’ve found a time, place or activity that uniquely settles your heart and soul, I think we all need it. I know we do. It’s just so easy to get out of whack. Just like a motorcycle engine operates at an ideal speed and RPMs, but may need an occasional recalibration, I think the same is true for the human soul.
The stressful demands of life and work; the competing demands on our focus and attention; the countless distractions and interruptions; the flood of meaningless data; the barrage of incessant noise; the push and pull of wants, desires, and needs; the pressure to perform and measure-up to some ridiculous standard; countless worries and sources of anxiety; the external and internal critical voices; all muddling your brain, driving your heart-rate, and clouding your soul. We all need moments – regular moments, frequent moments – and practices, to let it all go, to find your centered-place, to breath deeply, and to return to your best God-intended rhythm.
My soul needs it – demands it. I bet yours does too.