My eyes dart from the rocks below my wheels, to the significant drop just a foot to the right of me, to the narrow space between the trees just a few feet ahead. My hands clench into a death grip, my breath becomes shallow and my focus becomes tunnelled. My hand smashes against the tree, my foot slips off my bike petal as my ankle bangs off the rocks below. What the hell was I thinking? You can’t!! My mind rationalizes, this is only my second time out on my new bike, my first time on a trail and I am failing miserably at my attempts to keep on what is marked as a very difficult course.
My eyes dart from the rocks below my wheels. The unique shapes, edges, and curves catch my attention. The feel of my bike as the wheels glide, bounce and bang off each rock stirs a sense of adventure from within. The significant drop just a foot to the right of me holds a scene of beauty that could almost be out of a nature magazine. A narrow space between the trees just ahead invites me to rise to the challenge as I explore this new experience of mountain biking. One of the trees reminds me of its strong presence as my hand collides with it as I have misjudge my distance and my body comes alive with the excitement of the depth of this new challenge.
The mind –
This is my first time out on my new bike on a trail ride. This trail far exceeded my capacity. Slow and steady would have been just fine. My mind raced with feelings of failure because I could not keep up to my seasoned partner. My mind raced with the desire to control: control my speed, control the spot my bike hits the path, how my feet stayed on the petal… Instead the exact opposite happened. My slow speed meant I could not get up over the roots, by looking down I was no longer looking at where I wanted to go and my tires wiggled all over the trail. Embarrassment and shame bubbled up. And at times even frustration. Not because I hit the rock, or slammed into natures obstacles several times, nor because I had to hurry up and get out of the way so other mountain bikers did not take me out as they rounded the corners with ease, and not because my breath was escaping in fast gulping sounds … But because I couldn’t keep up! Because I feared I was ruining my partners good time. Because I was not “good” at it!!
Then I remembered …the more I try and control things the more I move against the flow.
Then I remembered … what I was seeing as obstacles were not obstacles at all.
Then I remembered …my resistance to the experience was creating my own source of angst.
Then I remembered …that ego was the loud voice that was easy to hear, but that the soft whispers of the soul was the voice I desired to hear.
Then I remembered …to breathe, slow, deep, long breaths.
And when I remembered …the joy from the experience flowed as I bumped and bounced along the trail …my body sang in delight as it came alive from the physical demands …my spirit soared as I took in the beautiful surroundings, embraced this new challenge, and fell into my experience and silenced my mind.
As the designer of my reality I get to choose which of the two stories I experience. And that there are times when the mind/ego is so loud for a little while the souls gentle whisper can not be heard. But when I remember to take slow deep breaths, when I remember to look around in appreciation, when I remember to “relax, nothing is under control” (Zen saying), then my life becomes rich in the pleasures.
© Kathy Bazinet 2014