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, November 30, 2008

Ted Turner wisdom

I wouldn't say I'm a fan of Ted Turner, but I dated a guy in college who admired him greatly. That admiration had a lot to do with the fact that they both had ties to Atlanta. I wound up marrying this college sweetheart of mine (He later died.), and I've always noticed anything said or written about Ted Turner since. It's not anything I purposefully look for, but when he appears on TV or on a magazine cover, I can't help but notice. Perhaps it's simply because the guy reminds me of my late husband; they share the same hairline and color , color of eyes, and that dimple on the chin...

This morning, Ted Turner appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press"--I WAS a big fan of Tim Russert's!--and I watched. Discussing with Tom Brokaw a former rift with Rupert Murdock, Turner said about their reconciliation: "It hurts you when you don't like someone; it doesn't really hurt them."

It hurts you when you don't like someone; it doesn't really hurt them.

That's a line worth repeating. It made me stop and think. There are people in my life who I haven't really liked, and I've experienced my fair share of rifts. Turner's insightful words made me immediately think, Who cares? Who really cares? They don't.

So what's the point? He's basically saying, "Let it go."

Let it go.

Three more words worth repeating, again and again.

Can you think of a rift in your life that needs to be discarded? If you're being your Best self, you'll find a way to admit there probably is such a rift, and you'll figure out how you can let it go. Not for them, but for you. It means you recognize where you can make improvements in your life, and that you will take the steps to do that. It may take time--and the letting go part doesn't have to involve that other person directly--but you know you have the power of choice. You'll rely on your Inner strength to remove the shame or doubt that surfaces. You'll trust your Killer instincts to take the necessary action. And you'll use your Expressive voice to say what might need to be said or to simply reach out in whatever way will move you forward.

Here at BIKE WITH JACKIE, it's always about forward movement. That's our goal with this mental bike ride. Whatever's holding you back, whether or not it's a rift, together we look for ways to get beyond the struggles, which can come at us so unexpectedly. We know we're not in this alone. Thankfully, if we're open to improvement, we'll gain the insights or epiphanies needed--even if they come from a TV personality.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shopping frenzy or farce

It's hard to believe what happened yesterday on "Black Friday." But I'm sure you heard about it: a Wal-Mart temp was trampled at the door while thousands of shoppers rushed inside for the sales!

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase.

If a man hadn't died, the scene might be called comical. But it's been billed by some people who were there an "accident." This was no accident. I'm not sure what you'd call it, but accident is not the word.

Can you imagine being a part of this frenzy, this over-sized crowd of shoppers, trying to get inside a Wal-Mart of all places? For what? Can anything you might ever wish to buy at a discount store--or anywhere else, for that matter--be worth the cost of a man's life?

How could anyone who participated in this chaos justify their behavior? I can't imagine how I'd feel if I'd gotten caught up in that. No apology could right this wrong.

I would say this is why I avoid shopping on Black Friday, as they call the busiest shopping day of the holiday season. But that wouldn't be true. For one thing, I've never heard anything like this happen before. And for another, I've gone shopping many times on the day after Thanksgiving. Just never seriously. I'm not the biggest fan of shopping. I can enjoy it. I can engage in it for many hours at a time. But I've never felt the need to buy a gift for anyone--no, not even my kids--that would require standing in lines overnight or anything that would even come close to putting me in a crowd such as the one that must have been standing outside the door of that Wal-Mart in Long Island yesterday.

Maybe those who were there will now think twice about the importance of owning a material item. It's just not that important. A man's life was taken. That's all that matters in this story. A man was knocked down and trampled on till he could no longer breathe life. And now he's gone. He and his family and friends were robbed of his life. That's all that matters.

An innocent man was killed.

And what about the people who killed him? The gifts they brought home...what meaning do they have left? How do you explain to your young son or your husband or your mother, "Oh, I waited in line all night to get this for you. I even knocked down a man to get this for you. He died so I could get this for you. I hope you appreciate it."

Merry Christmas?

I can't imagine.

Friday, November 28, 2008

After dinner transition

The turkey's put away. The dishes cleaned. The dining room back in order. Family's gone home or back to the hotel. Now what? That after dinner transition can be an unsettling time for some. Your mind has taken you to this high-energy place and kind of wants to stay there, where it's fun and exciting, but the next day--after that big dinner and all the company that comes with it for the Thanksgiving meal--can feel pretty, well, blah.

For some people, this can move into a slight depression, the post-holiday blues, I've heard it called.

To avoid this, what kinds of things do you do to keep the holiday moving forward and the momentum going through to the end of the year? With our economy in a flux, that may seem difficult to think about. Worries about bank accounts and jobs and relationships may be trying to move in on your inner peace. But you can take charge of how you perceive the holiday season. You can decide it will be stressful, or you can decide it won't. You can let the rush seem maddening, or you can simply slow things down. Even when life seems out of control, as it may today, you still have choices about how you interpret what's happening to you.

After my holiday meal yesterday, I overheard friends talking about getting together the next evening--today--for card games in the evening. They were making plans to extend the fun, so that it all didn't just end so abruptly. I kind of liked that idea. It was simple, inviting, and would involve an all-age crowd--no one had to be left out.

I'll be going to a football game myself.

Another friend and his family will attend Glendale Glitters--one city's special event that involves a tree lighting display.

So it seems, as with most things, planning things to do can be a real life saver. It can help you move your thoughts to more positive places.

To keep the momentum going--especially when, as in my case, I couldn't have all of my family together this year--I've decided to spend the rest of the weekend decorating, even though I won't likely see guests in my house this Christmas, either. It'll help remind me that the season is here, that celebrating is a choice. And maybe I'll create a few spontaneous get-togethers, which is always a fun thing to do.

So what are you doing to keep the momentum going, to keep the spirit of the holidays alive? Are you going to church or other religious service? Are you listening to holiday music? Are you planning to map out the homes with holiday lights and visit them?

Are you PLANNING to enjoy the holidays?

Think about that, and if you if you have a few holiday ideas to share, I hope you'll post them here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An addition to my Blogroll

I've never thought about doing this till today, but it makes sense to me for some reason (I can see clearly now?)...But I thought I'd announce from here on out when I add a new blog to my Blogroll, you know, to introduce you.

Today, I've added the Crystle Ball to the list. Owned by Chrystle Fiedler, author of the soon-to-be-released, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Remedies, this blog will focus on mainstream and alternative health, as well as self-help topics. And since Chrystle writes about the mind-body connection, which we talk about a lot here, I thought she'd be a good fit. Plus, she's a colleague of mine from, which I refer to frequently as well, and you can't go wrong with these folks.

If you want to take a look at the other blogs on the list, they're on the left-hand side of the page, under the title, "Blogs that make you go ummmm."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The bike route to freedom

Remember the Underground Railroad--that secret path that was once used by slaves to escape to freedom? This part of American history has been preserved by way of a bike path--a 2,028-mile bike path that takes the rider along the same route American slaves took before and during the Civil War.

The path follows secret routes and safe houses used by the "freedom seekers" who dared to risk their lives to escape slavery. The Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, as it's called today, takes the rider past points of interest and historic sites between Alabama and Ontario, where the free slaves created a settlement in 1857.

If this isn't one of the better reasons to ride a bike--to learn and live this history, and see for yourself what it means to overcome--I don't know what is. Not only can the power behind the pedal lead to good physical and mental health, but it can teach you first-hand what it means to become free of your bondage--however that may be defined.

To me, this path is so symbolic of what our trials and tribulations in life can do to us. Yes, they can chain us down, but faith proves there's always a way out. With faith, you find a way. And this bike path testifies to the power behind that faith. It may take physical power, such as pedaling a bike for as long as it takes to reach your destination, but if you believe in yourself, faith says you'll get there.

I'd love to do this tour some day.

Recently, the groups that created this adventurous ride, Adventure Cycling and the Center for Minority Health, received an award at the National Trails Symposium. To that, I say congratulations!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A recent Associated Press report

This week from the AP wire:

"BIKE ON: More urban pedal-pushers are trading their cars for a more low-tech way to get around because of gas prices as well as health and environmental concerns. Bicycles were a $5.4 billion industry in the U.S. in 2007, including the retail value of bikes, related parts and accessories, according to research funded by the National Sporting Goods Association."

I like this. People are turning to bikes both for HEALTH and ENVIRONMENTAL reasons. It's all good.

How about you? Are you thinking about riding yet?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No time to wait

I ran across this quote today:

“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." —Anne Frank

If you think about it for a second--for a single moment--Anne Frank's words make sense. Despite the fact that she and her family were hiding in a secret annex from the Nazi soldiers during WWII...despite the fact they had left their German homeland to escape the Jewish persecution...despite the fact they were then arrested and taken to the concentration camps, where Anne, her mother and sister were later killed...before her death, Anne Frank still sensed some control over her life. It's why she continued to write in her journal, the diary of her life, as short as it was. It's why her father, who survived the death camps, published her thoughts for the world to read.

The book, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, was made into a stage play and then a movie.

Her words have, indeed, helped to improve the world. As she sat in the annex, she did not wait at all. She wrote and wrote and wrote. Perhaps she didn't know then the exact impact her words would have after her death, but I think she'd be pleased they continue to inspire.

What are you doing right now to help improve the world? What are you waiting for?

Monday, November 17, 2008

News and gloom

An economic downturn, layoffs, business closings...and now the California fires that have left 100's of families without homes.

This is not good news. Even the thought of a new president with charisma, charm and inspirational ideas about giving our country an economic facelift doesn't change that fact.

So what are you doing to overcome the challenges you're personally facing at home and at work?

A bike ride, alone, won't cut it.

I know that. I don't try to pretend here that it will. But it can help make a difference in how you perceive your personal challenges. If your bank account is running low, if your job is on the line, if you're having difficulty finding work, if your business is in need of customers, if you're worried about your financial future, my special brand of BIKE--This one's mental, not metal--is a tool you use to combat the fear, the anxiety, the stress. I use it daily. I also ride daily. And in those really tough times, where emotion takes over, and I forget, it's okay, because I know, just as my physical bike is parked in my garage, my mental bike is parked in my head; it'll be there the minute I choose to "ride."

Because, you see, I, too, still get stressed and worry and sometimes slip into negative-thinking mode. Sometimes, I do not operate at my optimum. And, like you, I am concerned about the economy. I am concerned when I read about yet another publishing company that's laying off employees or dumping a magazine altogether. These are sources of my income. It does send my thoughts to wonder where the next job will come from if the magazine I write for is shutting down. These are pretty normal concerns for me. And whatever your concerns are, I bet they're normal for you.

I can't imagine one person who is not affected by what's going on with Wall Street and beyond on some level. It's not good news out there, and there's not much to convince us it's going to get better any time soon. Even when I try to ignore it, I get a statement in the mail that I don't want to read. I know the numbers it lists are down. I'm not sure if want to really see how low or imagine how low they could still go. I don't know that it would be productive to look right now. But I do, and then I file the statement away. I do not control those numbers, so I just take charge of how I respond to them.

And I know we are never without hope. Things will turn around. That's a given. It's just a matter of time, and we don't have the ability to predict how long this cycle will last.

But you can stop spinning your wheels with my special brand of BIKE. At least, it's a start. It'll help you become more aware of who you are and what you're really made of inside. It's a good idea to know that during tumultuous times. The more you know about yourself, the better chance you have of overcoming the challenges that life drops in your lap when you least expect them. You won't act hastily. You'll take the time to think through the challenge--no matter what it is--consider your options, and respond in the best way that works for you. We just bring more trouble into our lives when we react to chaos, instead of respond to it. And that's how my BIKE can help. But you have to learn how to make it yours.

If you're new to my blog, here are a few past posts that tell you more:

And since I am teaching my BIKE Lessons via the telephone now, post a message if you'd like to know more.

All my best,

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A bike study to watch

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is sponsoring and conducting a new exercise study at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, about cancer survivors that involves the use of a stationary bike.

Previous studies already show that cancer survivors after treatment may experience health risks, including psychological distress, decreased aerobic fitness, increase in body fat content, and other ailments affecting the physical body itself, according to a fact sheet on the study.

This exercise study will compare the benefits of Tai Chi versus stationary bike cycling (aerobic exercise) on cancer survivors who will participate in the 12-week study, aided by fitness experts and instructors.

Tai Chi Chuan (the formal name for this martial art form that derives from ancient Chinese medicine dating back to the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644) combines breathing exercises to create what the study refers to as "moving meditation." If you've heard of it, then you've probably read that it can improve a body's flexibility, muscle strength, balance, systolic blood pressure, cardio-respiratory fitness, and reduce psychological stress and symptoms of arthritis. Likewise, aerobic exercise, such as stationary cycling is known to improve cardiovascular fitness, decrease coronary risk, and lower cholesterol levels. Both exercises may benefit cancer survivors, but studies have never been conducted to compare the two.

It will be interesting to me and my own BIKE work to see the results of this study--not so much for the cancer survivor benefit but to see if the scientists see a mind-body connection in both exercises as I do. Since that's not what they're looking for, it could lead to yet another study.

If you have any thoughts about the mind-body connection or would like to share your own experience with this, please post a comment.

If you'd like to sign up for updates, you can do that at the bottom of this page.

Thanks for joining me today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Slow day


I just completed the first chapter in my first book--a travel guide called Backroads & Byways of Arizona. It'll be published by Countryman Press in 2009. I'm waiting on edits so I can complete the remaining 11 chapters. It's going to be quite the feat to finish by February 1 (How's that for alliteration?), as it's not just the chapters I have to write, but I also have to compile all of the photos, find a map and highlight the routes, write the acknowledgements, the table of contents (after I organize the chapter), and a bunch of other details that the publishing company has written down in style guides. They e-mailed me three different ones. It'll be a lot of detail work when I get to that point. And I still have two or three more trips to take, and maybe a few short reminder weekend travel days to schedule in. I'm not sure yet.

But now that I met the deadline on this first chapter, I'm feeling a bit underwhelmed. I now have no immediate deadlines, no immediate assignments to work on, and no need to feel rushed. That's a weird feeling for me. Not to feel under the gun about a deadline? It's crazy. Yet nice.

I have a list of things to do, of course. There's always plenty to do, but no rush.

Ummmm. So this is what a slow day feels like? Nothing. Very strange. I'm even going to have time this weekend to go shopping with my daughter for a few presents for my son's new baby--due also in February.

Since she'll arrive about the same time as my book deadline, I'm thinking that's not good timing on her parents' part. At least it doesn't take into account my deadline. I won't be leaving this house in late January, I hope they know, until the book is turned in. So good thing this is my son. My daughter would kill me if I weren't there for the birth. She's already pretty much told me that. But I'm hoping I'll be there for my son, anyway. Still, the timing thing could be tricky. There are no delay allowances for a book project. Not this one, anyway.

And now that my days have slowed down a bit, these are the kinds of things I'm thinking about. I've now got time to think. I've also been doing a bit more marketing than I had been. I've been able to fit in about 10 pitches to several magazines in the past week. That's a good thing, to try to stay ahead.

When you have a slow day, or a down day, or whatever you call it, how do you stay busy?

If you care to weight in, post a comment. I'm curious to know how you are able to manage the down time when no one's on your back. Are you using your BIKE? If so, which parts?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The impression a sky makes

Today I woke up to a cool, crisp Sunday morning. Standing in front of a window, concentrating on work I have to do this afternoon, I nearly missed the view. Even though the shade was open at my Arcadia door upstairs in the loft, even though the sky was right there in front of me, I nearly missed it. I had to take a second look.

And there it was.

That open desert sky. The one with the purple, blue and yellow layers of color, cloud puffs off to the side, palm tree outlines in the forefront, mountain ridges in the distance. It's a lovely sight, and I nearly missed it. I had to take a second look. I'm glad I did. I'm glad I noticed. It's etched now in my brain, those colors, that vision. It took my breath away, just for a second. And I was reminded that you can't see beauty if you don't look.

"It's a beautiful day," I'm thinking now, remembering the words Bono sings..."don't let it get away."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Make 'em earn your trust

Trust. It's an issue on my mind today as I think about a publication that I once wrote for fairly regularly and now have crossed it off my list. The reason being: lack of trust.

This is a highly regarded magazine. It regularly receives top honors. I thought these people who headed up the magazine were my friends. But the new editor is not a contributor's friend.

My words are my commodity. I sell words to make a living. When I enter into an agreement with an editor or a publisher, I sign a contract and expect both parties to abide by this agreement. For this particular publication, I've never had trouble with them before and never expected to have...until the last few years when they've experienced editorial changes in leadership. These new leaders, apparently, don't respect their contributors very much, as they seem to think what they've purchased to print in the magazine is theirs to use as they like. That's just not true. Copyright is a very delicate and important issue. It's importance becomes even more apparent when it's violated, as I'm learning now.

We, this publication and I, had to deal with this several months ago, when I discovered they'd violated my copyright by printing an article of mine (that they'd purchased for one-time online use) in a different publication altogether, that they had sold it to this publication, without my knowledge, without my agreement, without paying me for this additional use. And they weren't making any effort, that I was aware of, to let me know. I found out by accident.

When I found this out, I called them on it, and they subsequently paid me for their gaffe. But I did have to go into a lengthy explanation about the copyright they had originally purchased, and I had to listen as they tried to convince me they had a right to use the article has they had, which I knew, in fact, they did not. I spoke to one of the editors with the contract in my hand, going over it with him. To top it off, I was stunned to discover they didn't quite get it. But after several conversations, they seemed to understand. I was eventually asked what I'd charge for this second use. So I quoted what I thought was a fair price, and after several accounting issues, I was paid. That was that.

But no, that's not exactly the case.

The copyright issue has come up again, only this time, with different articles. I have recently discovered the magazine has gone digital, and my print stories are now online. In this case, the opposite has occured. These articles were sold to be used in print only, not in digital or online format. Ugh!!! I do understand that publications are, more and more, buying all-rights, and this is making it difficult for writers like me to be able to sell reprints, but at least we know what we're getting into when we sign these contracts. There's no secretiveness involved. But this particular publication, again, had not been doing that when I was writing for them regularly. It seems they're going that way now but forgetting that one minor detail--the contract.

At this point, I'm thoroughly disgusted with the editors on this magazine staff right now. They have proved they do not respect their contributors. They have proved they do not care one whit about rights. They have proved they only care to work at saving a publication that has been losing subscribers for several years now--by going digital, I guess they must think they'll attract more readers. But they're going to lose their writers and perhaps their photographers.

So here comes my BIKE to the rescue.

I am using my Best self to move forward on this issue. I'm also using my Inner strength to hold off from reacting, to work on my response, instead. I'm using my Killer instincts in realizing I have rights, and they once again violated them. And, finally, you can bet I'll be using my Expressive voice to let them know they will not get away with this.

I gave them my trust after our first controntation. I assumed they'd earned it at the time. I believed they had simply made a mistake, as they argued. I believed they should have known better, but I chose to believe their "excuse." The second time, not so much. I am inclined to believe they knew exactly what they were doing the first time and were only trying to get away with as much as they could. Same with this second instance. It's disgusting. They've trashed the reputation of a perfectly good magazine for me. I will no longer be able to see it in the same light. I will no longer subscribe. And I will no longer submit ideas to them. Not that it will matter to them one bit, which is too bad, but it should. And I'm sure I'm not the only writer to feel this way. In fact, I know I'm not. Again, our words are our commodity. It's how we earn our keep.

Bah! This is all so unfortunate.

So I ask you: Has there ever been a time when your personal integrity has been violated in this way, when the trust you too easily gave someone was broken? How did you respond?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ten miles a day

Ten miles a day on my bike. That's my regular routine exercise these days. I go through phases, though, where I might pick riding. Or I might walk. Or I'll hike up a mountain. But I must do something physical.

I've learned to pay attention to what my body wants and needs. It wants and needs exercise. Without it, I lack the energy I need to get through the day.

That once made no sense to me whatsoever. I wondered, how can you gain energy by using it? Why wouldn't you just be more tired? But it's like this: The more you do something, the more you get used to it. And if it's good for you, all the better. I just didn't want to see it that way back then. I was stubborn.

But I exercise now because I know I must. It's no longer me who's stubborn, it's my body. My body requires it, demands it even. If I let my body down and try to skip a day or two or more, my body lets me know about it. THAT'S when I'm tired. THAT'S when I lack focus. THAT'S when I do less than what I can. "Hah!" My body says to me, "You can go without exercise, but if you do, I'll make you pay!"

And so it is. I follow orders.

I nearly proved my body wrong once, though. When I first started riding my bike in 2002, I was beat after a ride--and those were short rides. No more than two miles. They killed! But then they didn't. It didn't take long, maybe a month or two, before my body wore my mental toughness down, allowing me to actually enjoy and look forward to the rides. My body made me change my focus to a more positive one. It tricked me, really.

It tricked me to the point where I can now say that two miles would never do anything for me. That would be like me saying I'm going to enjoy a bag of jelly beans, but I only eat two jelly beans--Just two, out of one of bag, the same color, even. Hel-lo! Where's the enjoyment in that?! Two would not be enough. Not. At. All. And the same color?! Bah!

But ten jelly beans, now you're talking! I could actually enjoy 10. It wouldn't be too much. I could eat 10 different colors. I could make a pattern and eat two of five colors. I could even eat all 10, all at once. With 10, I'd have enough to get creative.

It's like that for me with 10 miles on the bike. With only two, I can only do so much. But with 10 miles, I can change things up. I can create something with that. And it gives me time to think, to relax, to create a pattern, to veg out, to get a good enough work out that I'm sweating. Ten miles isn't too difficult.

But it's still going to be a good enough ride. I've learned what works for me. Ten miles on the road gives me the oomph I need to muscle through a difficult assignment back in the office. It helps me get away from a bothersome contract or digest a challenging issue that I might need to address but would rather not. It gives me the time away, the freedom to let my mind wander and think through what I need to do. In two miles, I would not have time for that. I would be rushed.

These are good reasons to take up riding. These are good reasons to give yourself 10 miles a day. It's good for your mind, body and soul. It's a BIKE path worth taking.

What do you think?