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Finding Your Flow


As strange as this may seem, I was not always a mountain biker. There was a time when I was blissfully unaware of the total awesomeness that is mountain biking. My life was a series of long work days, memorably short holidays and grand family togetherness. Great wife-check. Great kids-check. Great job-mostly-check. Life was good but something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

About that time, I read a fascinating piece in the USA Today (Psychologists Now Know What Makes People Happy (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2002-12-08-happy-main_x.htm?loc=interstitialskip). The article stated being rich or having great health did not guarantee happiness. No, in fact plenty of people without an abundance of either were indeed happy. Turns out surrounding yourself with good family or friends, not keeping up with those pesky Joneses, being grateful, having a forgiving nature and most surprisingly, engaging in “absorbing activities” were the magical ingredients.

These absorbing activities can be almost anything. Most importantly, having a hobby, pursing a talent, serving others or bettering oneself leads to “flow.” According to the happiness article, “people in flow may be sewing up a storm, doing brain surgery, playing a musical instrument or working a hard puzzle with their  child. The impact is the same: A life of many activities in flow is likely to be a life of great satisfaction.” Additionally, once in that ethereal sphere of flow, something transforming happens—people transcend into a state where they forget themselves, lose track of time and stop worrying.

Suddenly it all made sense–I had no flow. Fortunately, a good friend, Chris Paris, showed up one day while I was mowing my lawn. He cruised to a stop, rolled down the window and before they were available in the Treasure Valley, handed me a Krispy Kreme doughnut. With a note of supreme satisfaction, he wryly stated, “We just got back from riding Moab—you should come next time.” A year later, with a brand new bike, helmet and set of gloves in tow, I was off to Moab with Chris. Finding my flow on a trail called Porcupine Rim, I never looked back.

Eleven years later, I still get plenty of flow from mountain biking. At the time, it was the road less travelled—I had not ridden a bike in twenty years. However, as the poet Robert Frost said, it has made all the difference.   Add in a healthy dose of family or friends, gratitude, forgiveness and no jonesing for silly material things–and life is good! If you have found your flow, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, begin your quest now to find your flow…

Chris and Jenn Paris' Moab selfie.

Chris and Jenn Paris’ Moab selfie.

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