A Salve for the Daily Demands
The rushing motion. That constant forward progression; onwards through everything and nothing at all. This is what keeps me sane. Keeps me grounded in an overly productive society in which I feel the pressure to do more, achieve more and stuff more into my already overflowing schedule.
The steady hum of a single cylinder thumping along those quieter back streets, now covered in hues of red and orange, steadies me. It doesn’t drown out the insistent chatter at my back but quiets it completely. Swinging a leg over my Yamaha SR 400 and kicking off into the streets of inner city Melbourne pulls me into what Richard Rohr, a contemporary Franciscan priest and author, calls “Living in deep time”. Something not unlike the feeling of soothing completeness one gets when meditating or running or painting…
In amongst a city of millions, activity is unceasing like the hum of a beehive. And to sit on a two wheeled machine which continuously combusts to drive itself across asphalt is something delightful. As it illustrates an ability to simultaneously pull one away from everything whilst plunging them into the whirlpool of it all.
Whizzing in and out of cars backed up along Alexandra Parade at peak hour, red brake lights glow in the deep autumn dusk. The limbs of European maples stretch their delicate fingers across the road in a canopy that blots out the first twinkles of stars. I focus on the cold wind which whips by my helmet, squeezing through the many layers I’ve piled upon myself in an attempt to starve off the piercing cold and I sigh in contentment.
Riding is when I feel none of the restrictions of time, and the constraints of our limited existence pressing in; it is when I feel most at peace, and when I feel free to be. All of which infuses with me as I ride in the midst of chaos yet so far removed from it.
It’s the time of the year when leaves blow across the ground in blankets of warm colours and trees stand bare against a fine slate sky. The time of year when everything seems to be shifting yet the shift feels a little too sudden, too fast; too heavy.
For me, this shift is evident in the compiling of everything in my life at the edge of a waterfall, not yet flowing over but the demands of life’s current move my pile of disorder closer and closer to that edge.
University has reached its peak and is far from plateauing… work seems to have hit a relentlessly high speed that I am struggling to keep pace with… and my social life is packed like the pockets of my jacket after too large of a shop on my motorcycle…
I’m overwhelmed, furiously treading water to stay afloat, yet my legs are tiring, and my body failing me. It seems impossible to be able to get on top of this all.
And it is.
We live in a fast paced, capitalist society, forever consuming and always striving to juggle more.
So, I have begun a journey of attempting to accept this and accept that I will never be able to do everything or achieve everything I want.
However, it is only with utter calm that permeates my senses when I fly down Royal Parade on my scrappy motor, that has aided in helping me do so.
By Emily Dale
More of Emily’s wonderful writing… Emily Dale Square Space
If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed with life as it is… reach out to those who may help:
Lifeline Aotearoa 0800 543 354 Suicide Crisis 0508 828 865