I have been going at a pretty fast clip these last weeks and months. A lot of stuff can get piled up when you are out and about with life! It always seems that the first thing I want to do when I have a moment or two is to simplify. So I spent the weekend sorting, organizing, and dispossessing. Of course it did include using power tools to build a rather clever custom workbench/shelf -- but any project worth its salt has to have some degree of creativity and danger!

Simplifying for me is not just having less stuff, it is also developing a habit of finding "the line" through projects or situations. The line, in bicycle and car racing terminology, is typically the fastest path between two points. While going fast is not my primary objective (at least not always!) there are other kinds "lines" that I look for when approaching a unexpected curve or bump in the trail.

Mountain Biker Steve Peat finding the lineOne line in particular is the line of traction. In cycling, for example, if your wheels hit a slick part of the trail, you are not going to be able to grip the road -- you might lose speed, swerve, or wipe out. So you might need to find a line that seems less direct, more on the edges, in order to keep that traction -- and remain upright! That part of the trail might not be as obvious nor well-traveled, but it might be just the thing!

(For more on "the line" metaphor from the world of cycling, see the article How to Mountain Bike Faster by Michael Frank.)

For me, finding that line of traction means being willing to go off the acceptable route to be able to find more of what is necessary, or efficient, or meaningful -- whatever the primary value is for a given situation. For example, I love the rhythm of the praying of the psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours. But I am not a monastic. I can't chant. I mess up the ribbons. And sometimes, I don't know if it's morning or daytime. This was the "slick part of the trail" for me -- getting so focused on getting it "right" that I was not focused on God. It was not the fault of the Liturgy of the Hours, but rather my own inability to be okay with not doing it fully and perfectly! For me to find that line of traction meant finding a way along the edges where I could regularly pray the rhythm of the psalms that worked for me.

What kind of traction are you finding with a "line" that you've recently pursued?