September 1 | Goleta
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart and mind are not seen as separate systems, but as a single, indivisible whole–Xin (shin), or heartmind.
For the last couple of days, we’ve been riding through some of the richest farmland in the world. As a renowned agricultural center, central California, like the Midwest, is the definition of what we typically call “the heartland.”
But on this ride, I am experiencing it, and everything, as Xinland, a continuous immersion in heartmind–the collaboration of ingenuity, passion, curiosity, compassion, and tenacity that is, at its best, intelligence.
I know our ride today demanded all the mental focus and emotional strength I could muster to meet the challenge. It was 89 miles long, sometimes foggy, sometimes hot, and through 20 miles of our longest climbs, windy straight in our faces.
Many times, journeys through Xinland are solitary, but they can just as easily be collaborative. Today was an example.
I was riding with just one other person, and had been riding in front most of the day. But on a long, steady climb 65 miles in, under a hot sun and into a 20 mph headwind, I was really laboring.
My companion rode ahead of me and told me to tuck in behind him, drafting in his wake out of the wind. It made the last half mile of the climb significantly easier, and lifted my spirits immeasurably.
While conditions might make the kinds of demands that are not usually our favorite, they’re sometimes our best teachers when we stop fighting them and listen instead. This is the essence of Xinland.
And when the lesson ends with a warm shower and a good dinner with friends who just crossed Xinland too, we have to call it good, and know in our heartmind that it’s true.
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