Saturday, May 09, 2009

picking up the pieces

we've all been broken. physically, mentally, even spiritually. by people, events, things. in ways sometimes accidental or intentional, but always invariably brutal.

and sometimes it's left us in pieces so many, so great, so random and in such chaos, that it seems there's nothing left of us still recognizable--nothing left to continue, nothing left to begin, nothing to even make whole again. instead there's only shards, marking what might have been now shattered and strewn remorselessly across the earth in the stillness that is the meaning of loss and the silence that is the truth of trauma.

we've all been broken. and in ways we know we'll never recover.

and the worst of it was not the breaking...because it's never just about the breaking.

the worst is what comes after.

what do you do with the pieces of a broken life? a broken heart? a broken dream?

what do you do when you're left as nothing more than litter lying amongst the filth of the ground?

the temptation is to surrender. to let the pieces lie where they are. to let the remnants now become fragments of who and what and when and why turn into empty memories of that which once was of us but now forever cannot be. to just let go. and be broken.

but then you realize several very simple but very important, very crucial things:
  1. whoever whatever where-ever whenever it was that broke you does not care about you, but if you stay where you are as you are in time you are, it will have accomplished its goal. and that was to destroy life. yours. and you can't allow that because
  2. if you do nothing, if you give up, then you'll never experience the things that you were meant to experience, or learn the things you were meant to learn, or to live the life you were supposed to live. and you'll never come to know that which is the truth of you. and more importantly come to know that
  3. life is special. it's a gift. it's a miracle it's a mystery it's a divine sublime supreme enigma from the nothingness that is the universe. don't waste it.
all this leads you to one result: to do all the above--any of the above--you have to go your distance. you have to run your race. you have to live.

and to do this, you have to do the one thing of all things if anything if nothing else that is the truth of life: movement.

because life is the motion that rises above stillness and reifies from emptiness and sings in the stillness and makes the body and mind and soul that is the something more than nothing that is the truth of the universe.

life is life itself.

and so you reach out. for the pieces of yourself that lie nearest within your grasp. beginning with one, and then another, and then another. perhaps with the smallest first, being they're the easiest to reach, then onto the largest, because they're the most important to understand.

and you'll pause for a moment with each one, to ponder and think and reflect and recall or even relive the memories held within it, and reassess and re-evaluate what it means, and then thereby restore it to its rightful place within your heart.

and then you'll continue, until you've collected them all, or have as many as you need, and can see once more a vision that lets you see the truth of life and living that is the universe and you, and somehow someway somewhere sometime find a way for yourself once more to begin anew again.

can we re-assemble the pieces to resemble anything like we were? can we re-create anything even close? can we return to what was once before?

no. of course not. things do not work that way.

but then, you don't want them to.

because the trace of your life follows an unknown path leading to an unseen destination lying in an untouched land lying beside an unending horizon. and to get there you must proceed from here. and that means moving forward.

and to do that, you don't need to the pieces to be about once was or might have been. you just need them to be about what they are...and what they will be.

you need them to be you.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

velo-city 2009

so why don't we in the U.S. have something like this?
Velo-City 2009 is an international conference (well, actually, just in Europe) held annually (this year it will be May 12-15 in Brussels, Belgium) to encourage bicycles and cycling as an alternative mode of transportation in urban areas, with the goal of providing a forum for cycling enthusiasts to meet as well as hosting a conference enabling cities to develop better cycling-friendly policies.

sounds pretty good to me.

now again, why isn't there anything like this in the U.S.?

cycling-related fatalities keep rising in the U.S., with an alarming escalation in hostile driver-cyclist encounters. and the cycling conditions in most U.S. cities (particularly here in Los Angeles) are NOT bicycle-friendly, no matter how much local governments claim it is. seriously, i sometimes have to laugh when i see the streets L.A. city government has identified as "bike-friendly." half the time they're pothole-laden, filth-ridden, high-traffic, high-speed, high-tension death lanes only usable by the foolhardy or the courageous--something entirely contrary to any plans of promoting bicycles as a safe, eco-friendly, traffic-easing, enjoyable form of transportation.

for some relevant links regarding the state of urban cycling in America, check out the following sample:
the closest thing i've found to Velo-City in the U.S. is National Bike-to-Work Week (incidentally, May 11-15, reference: League of American Bicyclists) and National Bike Month (May). but this is just meant to promote cycling, and doesn't provide the additional step of hosting public officials to actually meet and work on improving cycling policies in their cities.

there are also organizations that attempt to motivate public pressure on government regarding cycling-related policies. Los Angeles, in particular, has the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition ( but again, it doesn't provide what Velo-City does, which is provide a location where multiple city governments can work together to establish common policies to improve cycling conditions.

the reason i think this is important is because i think part of the problem in the U.S. is that cycling-friendly supporters are operating in a fragmented pattern, with disjunctures in agendas and strategies targeted at a random array of objectives in disconnected locations. the result has been a watering down of energy, commitment, and awareness, and a suppression of whatever momentum potentially exists to create substantial, permanent, beneficial change. i think greater coordination (by both non-government and government supporters) would provide better support, greater resources, more energy, more commitment, more awareness that could better advance cycling-friendly agendas and strategies...which is exactly what Velo-City is doing.


if anybody out there (Los Angeles, U.S., Europe, wherever) is considering on starting Velo-City (or anything like it) in the U.S., let me know. because i'd certainly want to go, and because i think it would really help improve cycling conditions in this country.