Wayfinder 72 / Cultivating Compassion & Post Adventure Blues

Lessons from a Master Spy

I have an unhealthy habit of complaining and being a bit of a cynic. I struggle with the zombie-like culture that seems to be everywhere. People walk around lacking awareness of their physical space in the world or ignorant of how their actions affect those around them. My cynicism is mostly trivial, dispersed campers leaving garbage at their campsite, cars not using a turning signal to exit a roundabout, people buying excessive "stuff" simply from boredom and the need to acquire "things" — but rarely utilize items enough to justify the cost.

Do I continue to complain or do I take action to affect a positive change? I must change my own mindset and show some compassion, or empathy, for anyone regardless of their habits or actions. I need to be a part of the solution rather than sending negative energy into the universe creating more stress and discontent for myself and others.

The only way that I can see to be part of the solution is to stay in touch with the practice of compassion and meet what life brings to me. By compassion I do not mean the well-meaning but questionable compassion of pity, or the self-serving compassion of those who seek to feel better about themselves by cultivating a practice of compassion, or the materialistic compassion of those who aim to “do well by doing good.” No, I mean compassion that sees clearly what is happening yet does not contract into self-protection; compassion that sees through the cultural projections that hide inconvenient truths or unpleasant ironies; and compassion that understands that it is not so much about making a perfect or even a better world but about being present in the suffering of the world, the conflicts that produce that suffering, and the tensions that produce those conflicts, and then seeing what can evolve from there.

How older athletes can fight the effects of aging

The latest results suggest that even trained athletes get less efficient as they age – and surprisingly, the secret to avoiding this fate lies not in the heart or lungs, but in the muscles.

Strength training improves efficiency and reduces athletic decline particularly in 50+ athletes.

Older athletes that completed a strength training program three times a week saw a gain in efficiency that nearly reversed the 17.6 per cent deficit.

The results showed a clear decrease in efficiency starting with the 50-59 age group. By the time they were in their 60s, the athletes had to burn 17.6 per cent more energy than athletes in their 20s just to produce the same amount of power on the bike – a significant deficit.

Struggling With the Mundane After a Major Adventure Ends

“I wasn’t trying to conquer anything, I was just there. In a way, that mindset allowed me to be ok with insecurities and imperfections. I learned that when negative emotions surface, it’s ok to sit with them.” — Joe Grant

In 2016, ultramarathoner Joe Grant climbed every 14,000 foot peak in Colorado. On his Tour de 14ers, he biked between mountains, slept where he could, and nearly summited a peak every day. It took him 31 days, eight hours, and 33 minutes.

What followed was a media storm of accolades for this fastest known time (FKT) and the striking logistical and physical challenge of the trip. Overwhelmed by the response and the intensity of his time in the mountains, Grant fell into a months-long depression that stumped his ability to communicate his experience in a way that felt meaningful to him.

“The depression I fell into after the tour was a new experience for me,” says Grant. “I’m generally upbeat and positive. That’s how I deal with the world. I’m optimistic.” He found himself waking up and crying every morning and felt overwhelmed by small tasks that he felt were shallow and meaningless."

The Two Things That Stop Us From Being Happy

Pain and boredom hijack our contentment. Welcomed suffering doesn't count, pushing ourselves via our physical passions is what staves off the boredom bit. Unhappiness primarily comes from chronic pain or the emotional pain we often inflict upon ourselves.

While pain can be constant and ever-present (it’s a call to action, so if you don’t respond to it, it persists), pleasure (or a similarly good feeling) isn’t and turns into boredom if you have everything you need (if it didn’t, survival would be out of the question).

Now, it’s easy to see how pain is unwelcome, but a deep existential boredom can be similarly torturous. In some cases, perhaps even more so, leading to nihilism and depression.

Why Endurance Athletes Should Work on Their Mental Skills

Whether you’re striving for peak performance or coming back from injury, psychological techniques can help.

Less is more – First-world problems, paradoxical life goals and the art of letting go

I reread this article yesterday as I laid down my bike and put a could size chip in the paint, no structural damage at initial inspection though. Phew.

Ever got in a bad mood about a scratch on your new bike? Anxiously craned your neck every two minutes to check your bike is still outside the cafe? Felt any sort of shame about the older-model Dura-Ace groupset on your bike? Been on the verge of crying yourself to sleep over losing a Strava segment?

Luxuries – and we’re talking about immaterial as well as the material ones – can unlock great moments, but they can also cause stress and worry. Often, that perfect life curated on Instagram and Strava is an illusion that we work hard to maintain. The reality is more of a hamster wheel, with soaring and nigh-on unachievable expectations and a self-imposed pressure to perform. We work harder, party harder and keep riding further but happiness isn’t getting any closer. Why’s that? Let’s face the facts: no amount of success and no sum of money will secure long-term happiness. Look at the world’s top athletes, the most successful business minds and the most influential politicians – do any of them look like a beacon of happiness to you? You may get a brief moment on the podium, throw a hearty smile at the public and maybe the chance of a rowdy after-party when success comes your way, but the steely expression quickly returns and it’s business as usual again.

Finding Balance in a Tiny, Wobbly Boat

"I took up rowing because I needed to get out of my head and into my body but along the way, I realized I was also rowing myself back into the world."

A first person account of how one woman found balance in work and her personal life by getting in a boat and learning balance through movement and a connection with Nature.

I knew I needed to get offline, go outside and exercise, but physical activity more intense than yoga or walking made me dry heave and break into a cold sweat. My body was sending a clear message: My typical Type-A style of mowing down deadlines wasn’t working anymore. I needed a new approach.

15 Ways to Reduce Waste When You Travel

Research has shown that an increase in tourism equals an increase in trash, pollution, and damage to the environment. But there are plenty of ways you can reduce waste (and your overall footprint) when you travel.