As Lúgnasadgh approaches, it is time to reflect on the past and prepare for new beginings. We have toiled in the fields of life and have reaped what we had sown at Imbolg, nutured at the feast of Shéileagh na Gaoithe, lit the fires of Béaltine, danced at both feasts of Lúgnasadgh, danced and toiled while reaping at the céiliúradh Oíche agus Lá cothrom san Fómhair and look forward to the new cycle beginning at Samhain.
In all our personal endevours, we have followed the Cycle of Anú or Nature herself and as she prepares for her slumber, we meditate on the future and learn from the past while keeping the present at hand. Slumber is not just a period of inertia but the preperation of a new cycle just as Boann was swept away by the rushing waters of the Well of Segais but became part of the cycle of the newly created Boyne river, fertilising the lands, creating life, as the river forged a path to the sea and returning to the source thus begining the cycle anew.
Roughly 20 years ago, I trained in tae kwan do and competed nationally and once internationaly and still am proud of my achievements. A change in career ended that unfortunately. When I started the Philosophers Accreditation course with an philosophical organisation that I am affiliated, I realised that how I worked out physicially during that period shaped how I approached achieving goals workand life wise.
Over a year ago, I bit the bullet and stopped procrastinating about cycling to work and keep myself physically fit to some degree. Okay, for those who know me, I bit the bullet but the bug bit me and hard. I really got into it and go on endurance cycles as well as training to cycle the length of the country from Malin Head to Mizen Head as part of fund raising for the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind (blame my missus for that one, she thinks I am nuts for trying to kill myself as she lovingly puts it but not only did she suggest it, she signed me up for the 2021 trip). One small goal that I have for myself once a week is a 2 hour endurance test. Now bear in mind that my bike is a mountain hybrid that has a heavy frame comapred to a lightweight racer.
If you have travelled Irish roads, you will know that you need less maintenance as the mountain bike is more enduring and I have seen a lot of other cyclists on the side of the road repairing their wheels regularly. I try to get between 35 to 50 km distance covered in that set time frame. Last year, I reached a goal and hit 57km but that was over the 2 hr limit but took two attempts (I got a puncture 40km into the first go and there was plenty of profanities used ). Why this is a part of my physical part of my personal paradigm is simple. Firstly, I am in my 40’s and need to take care of myself healthwise for both my sake and the sake of my family. Secondly, it becomes a regular time for decompression/ meditation outside of my ritual dempressions on the Gaelic Celtic Cycle.
When departing, I use mediatative and inspirational music on my headphones (dungeon synth) and a homemade isotonic drink. And as they say, I’m out the gap. I view this time the same as I view how to achieve my goals. I decide and plan on a route. None of them are the same as they have different rises and falls, surfaces and openings (wind factor plays heavily here). One thing they have all in common is there are a lot of ways to cut the route short and the temptation is huge. But then it can also give you the option to go a longer distance as well as being more of a difficult challenge that you may want to take up if so desired.
One thing never changes and that is the unexpected can happen, there are dangers and that you are to be aware of your surroundings and keep your eye on what is ahead. When you finally complete the task, you get/fall off the bike and relax. You are panting, sweating profusely, legs about to collapse under you but you feel great, look at the GPS monitor/app, knowing that it’s a job well done and you did it.
Go raibh maith agat as do chuid ama, Seán Ó Tuama.