The best way to be reminded that you're in Recovery--and that this means forward movement--is by finding your pathway, your North Star, your internal guide.
I found mine on a bicycle. When I needed it, it was there, called out to me--and I rode.
For three years, I rode that bike daily. I thought it was to relieve the anxiety I felt. But it was more than that, I would soon learn. It was like I was on autopilot. Granted, my life was in chaos, my thoughts were scattered, and I wasn't quite sure where I'd wind up. But I knew one thing: I knew that the bike was going to take me places. Not on tours or a vacation, or anything like that--not then. But I knew my bike was my salvation of sorts, and it was going to lead me where my mind needed to go.
Don't ask me why I knew that. I can only tell you it was divine intervention, and some people may not get that. But I did. I trusted and believed, because that's all I had at the time--hope. My bike became a symbol of hope for me, and I knew it was an important part of my Recovery, so I trusted in it.
Briefly, here's what happened on the road: I watched my growth occur in real time.
I went from being able to ride--barely--one mile, huffing and puffing all the way, to being able to ride 20, easily. I can ride much more now, but back then, that was a big deal to me. I also saw how, not only my body, but also my mind could take the hills up ahead. In the beginning, I'd see a hill up ahead and turn around. But when transformation occurred, that changed. Where once I would tell myself, "No, you can't do that. Turn around," I soon began to realize I didn't even notice the hills until after I'd approached them and was flying back down them. I didn't turn away from them anymore. They were no longer an obstacle. They were an opportunity to get to the other side--easier. The downhill ride is always the easiest.
I had accessed my Inner strength in ways I never thought possible. And it spilled over into other areas of my life. Where once I could not run a mile, I could now run 3 or 4, without stopping. Not fast. But no stopping. And, where once, I couldn't finish so much as a chapter in a book, I wrote the entire tome. You can see that in the upper right-hand corner of this page--below the blog title. That's my book. It's an accomplishment I once thought unlikely.
Removing the fear of success in that area of my life--my writing career--occurred all because of my bike, that metal contraption that became a mental one. You hear people say, "It's all in your head," and it is. But you want the right things to be there, not the negative stuff, not the negative self-talk that holds you back, or the worries and the fears that keep you from living the best life possible, the funnest life possible, the one you want to share with other people. You want to replace the negative with the positive. And that occurred for me because of an old mountain bike that once sat collecting dust in my garage.
I found my pathway to success, and it was on the seat of a bike. Yours might be on a jogging path, or a hiking trail, or on the blank canvas, or perhaps in your embroidery needles. It might even be behind the ropes on a horse or the wheel of a car or boat, or perhaps behind the trigger of a gun--if you're into target practice. You find your pathway when you give yourself the time and space necessary to connect with who you really are inside, who you are at your very core, what makes you you and why you respond to things in a certain way, and whether or not you need to learn something from that, to alter something in order to do it better or to feel better or to be better.
My mountain bike became a different kind of BIKE, a symbol for all that I am and all that I am capable of. It no longer stood for Trek. Instead, it stood for my: Best self, Inner strength, Killer instinct, Expressive voice.
I write about what that really means here and how you can have it, too.
Stay tuned or read through the archives to learn more. It's a life story filled with lessons from the seat of my bike. And it's kinda fun.