This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just joining us?

If you're new to the BIKE WITH JACKIE blog, I encourage you to start reading from the beginning. You'll get a better understanding of how the mental BIKE operates. It's a progression really. In previous posts, I've talked about how patience is necessary while you're in transition. We all want things these days, like, right now. Today even. But creating quality of life takes time, and you're the architect.

Like the architect who draws up plans and works with consultants and developers or contractors to create the masterpiece building, you also will operate similarly to create your masterpiece life. You might consider hiring a life coach or a therapist, depending on your needs. You might need legal assistance. You might need friends now more than ever. It'll take time to develop the you you want to be. But you'll need to know who to call for help when help is needed. Architects don't do it all themselves. They have help. You'll be looking for help as well.

Reaching out might be a huge step for those of us in turmoil. But you'll see that going with others makes the transition a lot easier to navigate than going it alone.

I've discussed some of this already. I've also explained that this blog isn't about exercise, that a bicycle just happened to be the way of my journey. It's how I got my start to a new life. It was the beginning of my reaching out. I encourage you to get on a bicycle. I think it's a wonderful way to measure personal growth. But it's not necessary for yours. You may be drawn to something else entirely. If you read from the beginning, you'll understand what I mean, and you'll see how this journey is yours. The way you make it happen is yours. The progress is yours. I'm just here to provde you an idea on how you can begin it.

BIKE is simply a metaphor for the time and space you give yourself. It's a powerful tool, but only if you use it.

Keep reading, I'll explain as we go along.

Ask questions if you like. I'm happy to respond to your comments.

All my best,

Saturday, February 23, 2008

More about books...

The list of 12 books I mentioned in yesterday's post was just a small number of books I've read. I have an entire library full of books I read and continue to read during my recovery. For as long as I can remember, I've been drawn to self-help, self-improvement, and memoirs, for example. One of my first was the Rev. Robert H. Schuller's Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do. The title says it all. There's a lot to learn from other people's challenges. Not to overwhelm my students, however, I kept their list down to 12. It's a start for them. If you'd like to know what my full list is, post a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

Jackie AKA The BIKE Lady

Friday, February 22, 2008

A BIKE and a book...or two

I wanted to report that my class at Homeward Bound is going well. I had compiled a list of about 12 books that I read in my early days of recovery from my divorce, well, even before that, and distributed it in class. I was thrilled to hear that this non-profit is trusting in my work so much that it has ordered all 12 for the on-site library. I'm thrilled because the ladies will have these resources so easily accessible. They won't have to buy them themselves, and they probably couldn't afford them anyway.

I've mentioned a few of those books here already, and will continue to mention them. In your own recovery, from whatever past trauma or turmoil or just the everyday challenges you're dealing with today, you'll decide what you need. You'll create your own list, I'm sure. But be open to the books and authors I mention here. They've helped me; they could very well do the same for you.

My point is that books are merely a starting point. To live a life of joy takes a lifetime. Every day, you must decide to seek it. A book with new ideas is just the starting point. You have to take action to make things happen. That's where those BIKE rides come in. They help move you forward. You consciously become aware of where you are and where you're going, and you move accordingly. It's no secret. It's not magical. It's really a natural progression, but it's very individual. And only you really know the path you need to take.

Maybe this weekend, you can visit the library or bookstore nearest you and find a book that offers lessons you could benefit from learning right now. Your progress can start there, with a book. It doesn't have to be self-help. It can be a travel book of essays. It can be a travel guide. It can be a book of fascinating facts or quotable quotations. It can be anything that speaks to you at this moment, anything that provides you with a message that you need to hear. You'll know if you need to hear it, because it will draw you in, most likely without you even recognizing it.

However, you want to get to the point where you do recognize, because then you'll be open to the greatest amount of learning. Julia Cameron mentions this in her book The Artist's Way. She calls it part of the spiritual path to higher creativity. I used her book over and over again as part of my spiritual path to a better life. You can, too. That's on the list.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A bike collection

I've been buying bike imagery a lot lately. I believe in having visuals to help you connect with goals. So I've been buying bikes. I have my mountain bike, of course --the one I ride. That Trek 4300, and my Huffy, were the first. Then I purchased my business cards, with the bike picture on it. A friend gave me a pin to wear on my lapel--it's a little golden bike. Another friend gave me notepaper with an image of a person riding a bike. Then after yet another friend sent me a greeting card with a bike image on it, to help me celebrate some recent BIKE-related successes, I decided it was time to start a collection. I see BIKE is starting to catch on, and this is exciting for me.

I am a collector, after all. I collect matchbooks, nutcrackers and books of all kinds. So why not bikes? I already had a good start, I knew. So when I was in Las Vegas last October with friends who were running the Las Vegas Half Marathon -- as running Elvi, of all things -- I found a special bike card at the Expo. It's an image that moves. Not sure if I can explain it, other than it looks like the biker is actually riding the bike. It's pretty cool, so I had to have it. I'll frame it. I also found a wine bottle bag with bike decor all over it. And just the other day, I found a bike replica at Cost Plus. I saw it once, and I'm the type of buyer who shops for things first. Then, if I go back to the store, and the item is still there, I take that as a sign, and I'll buy it then. That's what happened with my $30 welded bike sculpture. Now it's sitting on a shelf in my office.

This imagery is letting the BIKE continue to work it's mental magic.

If there is something, some image, that will help you make your dreams come true, I encourage you to use the magic within. This kind of imagery can help you stay focused.

If you were to start your own collection today, what image attracts you?

All my best,

Monday, February 18, 2008

New beginnings

What if you treated every day as a new beginning? What if you woke up and just knew that today was the day you started that new job, read that book you've been meaning to read, or ordered the business cards for that new business you've been hesitant to begin?

What if you started your day out like that?

Wouldn't that be something?

It would mean you were beginning to trust yourself, to trust in your ideas, to have faith in your ability. It would mean you had decided to let yourself enjoy your life and connect with what you love, what you know you can do, and what you're most passionate about.

I share this with you because I look back on the past few years, where I've been, where I'm going, and I see nothing but growth. Last summer, I wanted to sell a book idea, and I'm now on the verge of having two books to write. Twice what I wanted. I wanted to teach my BIKE lessons, and now I'm near the end of my first class. It's being very well received, and I'm so thrilled. I wanted to increase the number of national markets I would write for, and I did that as well. Those successes are proof that you can do what you decide to do. It just takes action. Just like the message behind the famous remark by the German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic within it.

That phrase has returned and returned to me in various forms throughout my life, and it's continued to serve me well. It's a symbolic reminder, and I think I'll use that in my BIKE lesson this coming Wednesday to the group of women at Homeward Bound. I'm teaching them about listening to their gut, and I can see in their eyes and hear in their voices that they're willing. But they don't yet have the full faith in themselves. Some day they will.

Some day, sooner than they think, they'll wake up knowing they can accomplish good things in life.

I hope they'll let me know about it when it happens.

Here's an exercise for you to try: Count the number of accomplishments you've had this past week. Write them down on a piece of paper and post them where you can see them every day. On the mirror in your bathroom, for example. Use that note as a reminder to yourself that every day brings the opportunity to move that much closer to your goal. Whatever it is you have yet to do, you can start today. You can be bold.

All my best,

Monday, February 11, 2008

Are you operating from fear or love?

Simple question, isn't it?

It's what my therapist asked me last week when I went in after a year hiatus to seek some advice.

I went in with the answer to my dilemma, but I didn't trust it. Something happened to make me rethink my behavior, and I was confused. What if I kept doing what I was doing? What would happen then? What if I didn't? So many questions were causing me to doubt the decision that I'd already made, a decision that I hadn't made lightly in the first place.

So she said to me, "Jackie, I think we operate from two very basic emotions: fear and love. Which one do you pick?"

If you're wrestling with a choice to make that is complicating your life or causing confusion, can you bring it down to the basics? Can you trust that you know what's best for you? If you could pick between fear or love, what would it be?

The answer may end your confusion.

Sometimes, it really is that simple.

All my best,

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A recommitment

Sometimes it takes a recommitment to return successfully. You must tell yourself you will do a better job, not just try to do a better job, but commit to it. A second or third time, if necessary.

That's where I'm at with this blog.

It takes time. I don't always have it. But I want to share my message. The class I'm teaching reminds me that one person really can make a difference. I can make a difference. So I'm recommiting a promise I made to myself that I would build this blog. Of course, building takes time. Of course, building requires planning. And of course, it must be scheduled into my weekly habits.

Have you been putting something off in your own life? Is so, or if you've neglected to create change where you know you're capable of creating change, or perhaps you've been procrastinating on doing something you know deep down you really do want to do, it's time to recommit. Let go of the fear. Drop the excuses.

This isn't a New Year's resolution. But it is a promise. Make it to yourself, and to those who may be counting on you.

Let's not let anyone down.

Oh, and by the way, I've gone back and posted labels on all the previous blog entries. I actually needed to revisit the pages to see how far I've progressed. I think the labels will make it easier for readers to find me. Refer others when you can.

Ride safely and with a renewed spirit.


Friday, February 8, 2008

The disappearing act -- it could be a good thing

Well, I did it again. I got busy with life and work and endless other things and disappeared on you.

If you've never felt the need to escape from an obligation, or from anything that's going on in your life--good or bad--I'd be surprised. That's what happened to me. I needed to eliminate one thing off my list of things to do. The blog just happened to be that one thing I knew I could let go for a while. I've always known I'd come back here, but I needed to take a break so I could take care of business.

That means I've been doing other BIKE-related work, instead. I've been working on my BIKE Lessons class, for one thing. I began teaching the BIKE philosophy to women at a homeless shelter this week. I'm excited to report that they really get it, and they'll be coming back next week to learn more. They don't have to; it's their choice, and I'm happy to accommodate them. I'll be working with them for four weeks, offering them an opportunity to choose to learn about a new tool they can use in their recovery. What they learn in my class will help make their life transition less stressful and hopefully more productive. As always, the BIKE is about forward movement.

When you feel the need to escape or to set something aside for awhile, it's important to listen to that feeling or that need. It may come from fear. It may come from doubt. It may come from stress. Wherever it originates, I've learned that it's okay to "disappear" for a while. I'm not talking about abandoning responsibilities or family or anything drastic like that. I'm referring to the recognition that you may not be able to do all things all at once, or all the time. Perhaps your work has been derailed by something you have no control over, and because of that, you may not have it in you this week or this month--or this year--to be all things to all people.

There are times when you simply don't have it in you to cope. When you feel that kind of pressure, it is time to step back and reconsider where your attention needs to be. My guess is that it probably needs to be on you.

You probably need down time.

You can choose to take a break, go on a vacation, find a quiet place to reflect or feel what you're feeling, or even change jobs if that's what it takes to feel balanced and whole again.

I encourage you to listen to what your body, your reactions, or your feelings are trying to tell you. Don't ignore your gut instinct. Your needs will make themselves known somehow. Just listen for them. Then, take a step forward and do one thing that turns your attention back towards you.

When you pay attention soon enough, you'll see your disappearing act from others unfold in a gentle manner. And then, when it's time, you'll find yourself easing back into your regularly scheduled program.

That's what happened to me. And it may happen again, because in the coming weeks, I begin work on my very first book. It's a travel guide called Backroads & Byways of Arizona. Countryman Press will publish it in the spring of 2009. I'm very excited about the project. I'm thrilled I have the opportunity to work on it. But it will be getting in the way of my work here. The BIKE may again slow down. I urge you to be gentle with me, be gentle with yourself, and keep riding anyway.

I know I will be.

All my best,