September 6 | San Diego
In 1950, two Frenchmen, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, became the first to summit an 8000-meter peak. In his memoir about the climb, Annapurna, Herzog closes the book with this statement:
“There are other Annapurnas in the lives of men.”
I can’t begin to equate my cycling several hundred miles down the California coast with what Herzog and Lachenal endured on that Himalayan mountain. But the intersection of risk and adventure that takes us out of our ordinary routines and awareness and compels us, for a concentrated period of time, to be present and responsive in a new and more intimate way has the power to change our life.
In fact, I think our life depends on our willingness to take some risk, to embrace some adventure. It’s not mere entertainment, it’s the difference between thriving and merely surviving.
When the Bike The US For MS PacCoast team rolled into San Diego’s Mission Beach this afternoon, I concluded a journey that has taken me three stages over a four-year span to complete. I’ve now ridden my bike from Seattle to San Diego, a distance of about 1,850 miles.
Every one of those miles has introduced me to the world, to its people, and to this creature I call myself in deep and transformative ways.
But now what? What do we do when the destination has been reached? How do we carry the excitement of exploration and discovery forward into our ordinary living? If an experience is life-changing, how can we make sure it actually changes our living?
Zen Buddhism reminds us of the necessity to be both vigilant and humble when nurturing a potentially transformative experience:
“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
Ultimately, it’s not the activity or the destination that will make the transformative difference. It’s the attitude of open curiosity and the spirit of adventure with which we participate that changes our world.
The most challenging destination, the highest Annapurna, is being right here.
To learn more about Bike The US For MS, visit biketheusforms.org.