How boring life would be if our entire existence, the road ahead, were known to us the minute we were born, or the moment we got onto our bike. Going off course is inevitable – the discomfort that comes along with that is often our best teacher. Rather than punish ourselves for going off course we would be better served by accepting that as part of life, part of the ride, learn what we can from the experience and use it to our and our community’s benefit moving forward.
Once we decide to move forward in life we need to accept that not everything will go as planned. It is impossible to anticipate every directional change our lives will take, no matter how well planned we believe our lives are. Comparing ourselves to others is not helpful; we have no idea what challenges others have faced and how they responded in order to know what they know.
As cyclists we are lucky. We have the opportunity to train and prepare for the specific event we choose to participate in; life does not offer that. Life is constant on the job training – so oftentimes we believe we got it wrong because we make an error in judgement, commission or omission. To then continually punishing ourselves for having made an error is to detract from the opportunity we created – to learn something and to improve.
To use the past as our map for what we will do or what we can accomplish in the future is a limiting belief; it is not truth. It is important to accept that the road is not flat and straight but rather it is lumpy, filled with blind turns, fast descents and challenging climbs. How we decide to navigate the terrain is really up to us. There is one truth – if we don’t get on the road we won’t move forward.
Trust yourself, accept that the road will not be easy, believe in the training we call life and be grateful for all the learning experiences that come your way. Please don’t judge yourself harshly, it isn’t helpful to your well being and will not allow you to move forward and continue learning.
Don’t trade your humanity for privilege (a paraphrase from the book “Radical Dharma”.
I told this story to Uli during our last GFNY Podcast (https://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/50109/51784151“>) and thought I would share it with you as well.
Subsequent to my surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and testicle I visited with the oncologist who was going to treat me. When he let me know the treatment he proposed I explained to him that I had accepted what was going to happen to me, which he took as me accepting that I was going to die. I explained to him that I meant I was accepting that I had a serious issue that had to be dealt with in a serious way and that there were going to be difficulties along the road for the ensuing 12 weeks. Clearly I hoped that the treatment would create a positive result, but if not then we would deal with that at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. Of course I was hoping not to die. I have an incredible wife, I have brothers, sister, nieces and nephews and a great group of friends. I also believe I have something to offer in life. Living is my first choice; but if it isn’t meant to be then let;s not pay the price twice by suffering during the process – let’s live every day to the best of our ability and go from there.
I was simply accepting “what is”. Wishing that I didn’t have cancer would have only caused more difficulty for me and those around me thereby making a difficult situation more difficult. Those that know me know that I am not without emotion – I laugh, I cry, I try, I feel a lot – but what I try not to do is hurt myself by wishing something weren’t what it is.
The world is full of noise; sometimes we are in such pain from our own “what is” we find it easier to get caught up in that noise, even though we have no ability to directly effect the outcome, than to focus on our own well-being and goals.
We do however have the ability to positively affect the collective consciousness of the world by being our best possible self, accepting our “what is” in the present and working toward creating a better future. To be able to focus on our in and out breath while we take simple and effective action toward developing a better future for ourselves and our community helps us feel more in control of our destiny.
The climb is the climb, the grade is the grade, the elevation is the elevation – that is the “what is”. What will you do when you make the turn, the grade increases and the end is nowhere in sight? Fight and you will lose, of that there is no doubt. Surrender and you carry it with you to suffer again and again. Be present, focus on your in and out breath, do your best, accept the “what is”. Cycling mimics life.