“It is only important to think about physical discomfort when the mood is wrong. Then you fasten on to whatever you call uncomfortable and call that the cause. But if the mood is right, then the physical discomfort doesn’t mean that much.”

There is something that I should have learned this summer that I failed to realize until I was taken away from the very situation. This summer I fell in love with my motorcycle. At first, my intentions were very practical. Honestly, I wanted to save some money, get places quicker, not have to put up with traffic and for that matter, learn something new.

But, through my practicality I missed out on the best part of having a bike. It is not about the destination or the outcome. It is not about where you go, but rather, how you ride. If you are in a hurry, you miss all the small things that pass by you on your way. Your mind is pre-occupied with other thoughts, more mechanical thoughts and not those that should be the underlying dimension that answers the why question.

I think about a few weeks before I left, I took a long journey over the Coqhuilla mountain pass. That was the first and only time on my bike in which I wasn’t in a hurry (I am not talking about speed, but rather your mental mood). That experience was incredible. My mind was free to notice all the small things around me and appreciate the here and now, rather than anticipating the future.

I think this is a basic principle for life in general. As I think about my upcoming journey 7 days up Kilimanjaro, I believe this experience is more than just reaching the top. That is the smallest part of the task. It is every moment, every step, every breath that makes you feel the discomfort and pain, that is what you will remember and what will teach perseverance and mental toughness.

Upon leaving Kelowna, I have many of the same thoughts as well. Why was I not more satisfied with the present moment? There were so many more things I wish I could have done and more time spent with people. But, it is always a lesson in life, and I think this is my fifth time around. But, especially this trip, I will work to free my mind and my heart to embrace the present moment. I will not flee the discomfort that I know will soon befall (not just Kilimanjaro, but the African experience). Rather, it is imperative to embrace it and feel the feelings and learn to love the moment, rather than rush for its ending. That is the mental mood I need to prepare for.

Ah, the motorcycle and what it has to teach us. Well at least for this moment, I am completely in discomfort and that has me embracing this moment for I will not lose the small things that discomfort exposes.