Back on Track…

January 7th, 2015. Wow. It’s been almost a month since I published the last blog post. So many experiences. So many thoughts and feelings.

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Perhaps it’s obvious at this point to those who are keeping track, but I’ve decided to continue South. I’m writing this post from a small cafe in Central Baja in a tiny colonial town in a desert oasis, surrounded by fresh water and palm trees. VERY different from the surroundings of the last month. I’ve continued to collect photos, stories and fantastic connections these last few weeks and will publish some posts about them over the next couple of weeks whenever I’m able to access sufficient internet connections to do so.

But for now, it feels important to share the page of life which has immediately followed since my previous post. In response to that post, a friend posed a question to me, “What are you trying to EMBRACE?” Given my description of all the thoughts and feelings I’ve described attempting to let go of, I felt it was an important frame shift to be asked what I was inviting. Another friend who recently conducted an interview for a magazine asked me, “Are you more riding toward or away from something?” So I’ll take a moment to unpack my response to these two similar questions of this classic issue that many of us face.

First of all, I prefer to avoid posing deep esoteric questions as polarities. This vs. that conceptualization I think often has the effect of forcing an oversimplification onto a quite complex issues. Not to say that I don’t OFTEN fall victim to that very same reductive verbiage in my own thinking… all the time. But I try to soften it when I see I’m doing it. Because truly I don’t think there is a person in this world that’s not continually moving towards some things and away from others, even doing both with respect to a single issue. The question in my mind is not about push vs. pull, but in understanding the mechanics of each, acknowledging how they subconsciously affect me, and how to integrate this awareness into conscious choices. So I can say, at least for myself, that an initial answer that I’m doing both is only “letting myself off the hook” if I stop the inquiry there. But any one word answer to that question would be just that, whether it is moving towards, away, both, or neither.

Another pitfall of the riding towards vs. away mentality is that inherently we assume that moving towards, is good, while away is bad. Perhaps you don’t make those assumptions, but I do. So if I explore those assumptions for a minute, I wonder what exactly is so good about being pulled towards something that I want to manifest in my life? And even more importantly, why is being pushed away from something I want to avoid or discontinue in my life necessarily bad? Another perspective might be that riding towards something is riding with a conceptualization of the future, while riding away is that of the past. When I stand back from either question, I see the faults of both. I’d rather be doing neither, just being right here, riding where I AM.

That all said, I still feel it’s valuable to try answering both questions individually. I feel that I’ve pretty well addressed the side of what I’m riding away from in my previous post. So to answer what it is I’m riding towards, at least in this moment:

A life not yet known, not even to me, one that must be created through exploration and experience. A life that I feel proud  to be living, in every aspect of how I live it. One with compassion for hard that can be in the real world, feeling how each and every choice can bring me closer or further away from a feeling of integration. I was lucky enough to spend New Year’s Day last week with an amazing traveller on a high mountain plateau overlooking a beautiful bay in the Sea of Cortez. He shared with me his vision of living in an eco-village, a sustainable community that lives independently from its own internal resources of people, skills and agriculture. The key word that stuck with me was sustainability. How to live a life that is integrated with my deepest values, and one that could sustain my body, mind and spirit indefinitely. I realized that in many ways, we were looking for the same thing. So my attention is for now directed toward exploring the lives of people I visit who are sustainable in their own ways, and how this correlates with my own visions. I know I can’t just ride a bike forever. I am certainly still in love with the experience, for all it’s joy, challenges, pains and passions. I know now after entering Mexico that I must still keep riding for now.

Crossing the border into Baja has further drawn my attention to very simple living. I’ll reflect more on this over the course of the next few posts, but simplicity is a big word for now. I’m choosing to be more conscious about what I put in my body, when I move, and when I pause. I’m embarking on the challenge of having deep connected conversations in a language that is secondary to me, like discussing the difference between being alone and being lonely. Not easy, but so much more interesting than the superficial stuff. Worth the work without a doubt. Somehow it’s easier to escape the comparison game down here. I don’t feel the effects of the shoulds of life very much. For now, that’s more than enough.

11 Responses

  1. Sydney Schalit
    | Reply

    Should-a, would-a, could-a. You are a wordsmith to envy and a force of nature. Be kind to yourself in these musings. After all, at the center of them is this loving, gentle, strong person who does unto others and amazingly enough still has the energy to share his inner journey.

    • Scott Pauker
      | Reply

      Wow. Thanks Sydney. Never been called a wordsmith before. Maybe by the time this whole thing is done I’ll be a worldsmith as well 😉

      All I can say is that in your case, it takes one to know one. So great to know the world brings such great people like you across my path!

  2. batya
    | Reply

    beautiful…
    and im smiling at the ending big time
    lonely vs alone
    less shoulds
    enough…
    love you

  3. Nicholas Carman
    | Reply

    Be sure to detour into the mountains south of there. At least, a ride up the tar road from Loreto to San Javier (used to be unpaved), then explore some of the backroads behind there, eventually leading towards Constitution. There are more ways to do it, and a handful of missions in the mountains west of Mulege and Loreto.

    • Scott Pauker
      | Reply

      Exactly what the plan I’ve been concocting. I’m in Mulege now, so I’m cutting inland through Purisima, San Juanico and Commondu. Then Back toward Loreto and eventually through all the missions outside of town on back roads back to Constitucion. Then back across to take the small coastal road down toward La Paz….

  4. michael ackerman
    | Reply

    Brilliant- a beautiful reflection, Scott.

  5. Cristy Harper
    | Reply

    It seems fitting in this moment to say “Be brave, dig deep, Make Changes”

    Cheers!

    • Scott Pauker
      | Reply

      Awww! I miss our class! What simple great lessons. I’ve not heard that in so long. Thanks Christy!

  6. shannon
    | Reply

    I like the neither approach, not standing still, exploring and seeking out evolution is awesome to read about. Humbly not status quo, thxs for sharing.

  7. Dana VanVoo
    | Reply

    I feel as though I get to do quite a bit of exploring too simply by reading your blog, which brings much joy and has stirred my passion to start planning my own bike adventure! Thanks for making my workday go by so swimmingly well. Viva Mexico!

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