Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Year of Lost and Found

For a long time, I called 2012 "The Lost Year". All I could think of was loss; I lost both people and things, my body turned traitor on me and all I could feel was sorry for myself. My body hurt and my soul hurt and I withdrew, carefully wrapping myself in a cocoon so that nothing could hurt me anymore. And I stopped riding my bike for a long time because it had stopped bringing me joy.

But it got cramped in the cocoon and lonely and like the caterpillar who can feel the time for transformation nearing, I started to become restless. Plus I was risking a relapse of my health issues if I didn't stay strong.

So I called on the bike coach who had set me up on my bike before I rode to Tucson to see if he could help me start loving my bike again. He took me out on a ride to assess my skill level and discuss a course of training that would help me enjoy riding again. We decided that group rides and competitive activities were not my happy place and only ended up hurting me every time I did them. The whole reason I carry beads for the Carry A Bead program is to send encouragement and hope and I had to figure out a way to rekindle that experience. I remembered the ride Kiersten and I did to Tucson and how amazing it had been - just the two of us in 95 degree weather rolling along the empty highway. We were taking it easy and not pushing hard and took a lot of breaks. It allowed me to really enjoy the day. This is how I wanted to ride every time I carried beads.

My coach had me slow way down. He told me to just go out and ride around and have fun.  Pretty much just go outside and play on my bike like I was a kid again.  I concentrated on just being in the moment and a part of my surroundings.  I rode around the neighborhoods and waved at babies, took pictures and smiled a lot. I even met a man walking his tortoise in the front yard and had an excellent conversation with him because I took the time to stop and chat.  I thought that this was very Zen and I've always liked that concept.  Being mindful, peaceful and being at one with the universe in the moment.  Being Zen means you can't just wrap yourself up in your little pain cocoon and hide from what is hurting you because there is so much you will miss out on.

And thus, the Zen ride was born.  Every Zen ride will be a self supporting challenge with each ride increasing in difficulty.  Some Zen rides will even go up mountains.  But the goal of Zen riding is not to focus on the pain and grinding it out to the finish line.  The rides will be all about celebrating what we can do with the bodies, the time and the circumstances we have.

Every month or so, I will Carry A Bead on a Zen ride for Beads of Courage.  We will enjoy being in the moment, being one with our surroundings, seeing beauty and finding delight in the smallest of things.  I'll put pictures here of our ride and we can enjoy it together!

Stay tuned!