Yesterday, I wrote about one good reason to ride a bike: for the challenge. You will test your limits. You will see growth as it occurs. And that brings me to the next reason to ride a bike.
Reason #2: You'll find awareness.
From the seat of my bike, I learned that awareness is key to all growth, and that a bike can act as the vehicle that attracts this awareness. As I rode, I had to pay attention . I learned to tune into my surroundings. If I didn't do that, I could have gotten hit by a car, run a stop sign, or driven off into a ditch.
And I had to be prepared for this awareness to occur. I had to keep my eyes and ears open. I had to observe. I had to listen. Since there were no distractions, other than what was going on outside of me, it forced me to let go of what was going on inside.
Or, if I wanted to pay attention to that, then I could actually hear my own self-talk, maybe for the first time. In the beginning, what I heard were garbled negative messages. "He's going to leave me. We're going to get divorced. No, maybe we won't. What will I do if we do?" The messages went on and on like that. I realized I was focused on fear, which got me nowhere. My rides were shorter at that time.
From the seat of my bike, however, as I added on the miles, I learned to let go of that nonsense. What did it matter what he was going to do? He cheated--and not just once, but repeatedly. No one deserves that. I didn't deserve that. So I learned to focus not on what he said we'd do--We'll work it out, he'd once told me--but rather what he was actually doing--He left. And then I learned to let him go and focus on me, instead.
That was difficult to do. It took lots and lots of meetings with my therapist and many, many conversations with other people for me to realize what I needed to do for me. I'd put my faith in this man, in the ideal picture that he painted for me of our family. But he lied. He hadn't earned my trust.
And though I felt as though I was losing a lot, I learned to pay attention to how I felt inside and to be okay with those feelings. Of course, I was losing something. But I gained something I didn't even realize I'd lost--my life. Where, in the beginning, I felt like little more than a shell of a woman, now I was beginning to refill that shell--one part of me at time. And those parts involved accepting how I really felt about what was happening to me. I learned to become aware of what it felt like to feel sadness, fear, anger, the miniscule amounts of joy that would seep in every now and then. I learned to cry for myself, for the little girl inside of me, for the loss of what once was. And I learned to embrace what was happening now.
If I felt anger, I learned not to be so quick to shut it aside. I started listening to it and to access where it came from. Was it because of something he said or did? Was it because of something I said or did? Was it because I was acting out of spite or behaving too timidly? I learned to consider my motives before taking action or responding to requests. I learned to trust that my response would be appropriate for me.
I also realized that I had to stay ahead of the game we were now playing. Even though I didn't like this game--I hadn't asked to play it, and I certainly didn't know all the rules--I learned to trust that I'd know what to do when it was my turn to move. I began to pay attention to my own intelligence.
My bike rides gave me the time I needed to consider my options. They also taught me just how important awareness is to who we are at our core. The rides allowed me to forget trusting him and learn to trust myself. The time on my bike taught me to be cautious and led me to reconnect with my instincts in ways I never had before. I had not learned how to pay attention to my gut, because my childhood had not prepared me for that.
I learned this important skill while riding my bike.
If you think you could benefit from learning how to pay attention, to become aware, to listen to what your mind, body and soul tells you, it might be a good idea to get a bike. You can transfer what you need to do for survival on the seat of your bike into what you need to do to survive your life at home or at work. That's what I did, and it saved my life.
Don't you think that's a good reason to ride a bike?