|Part of the celebration: new license plates!|
The WordCount Blogathon 2012 has officially begun. Today marks the first day of 31 days of non-stop blogging with a blogging community you'll get to know during this next month here through BIKE WITH JACKIE. This time around my theme is all about the BIKE. In fact, to celebrate, I ordered new license plates -- vanity plates -- to represent my recommitment to the BIKE philosophy, or should I say my recommitment to write the book (memoir) about it.
As you may know, BIKE is an acronym that stands for what I see as the four key elements of who you are inside, what you're really made of, or, in other words, your core. It's a metaphor that leads you to:
1) find your Best self.
2) access your Inner strength.
3) develop your Killer instincts.
4) use your Expressive voice.
It's action-oriented. That means, it requires you to do something. There's good reason for that, and it's called taking responsibility.
Many of us were brought up without understanding who we really are, so we became what others wanted us to be, or what we thought others expected of us. We never stopped playing follow the leader, and we certainly didn't realize we could lead ourselves. I can what??? Nobody ever told me that.
Well, now you know.
Here, you learn a process that will show you how to identify the true core of your being. This identification as essential in order to live the life that best suits you. You. Not anyone else. To do that, of course you first must know yourself! It's not just me who believes this. "Know thyself" is a borrowed phrase from ancient Greece and before. Even Plato admitted it was a long-standing maxim when he used the phrase.
Okay, so while I'm not a Greek philosopher. What I am is experienced in the knowledge of what happens when you don't know yourself. You commit to relationships that are wrong for you. Been there. You take jobs that you hate. Done that. You say "yes" or "okay, fine," when you really mean "no." Do I have to tell you how many times I've done that? You could very well become a bitter person should this pattern continue. Whew! Shot past that one. When you don't know yourself, you act like someone else or for someone else. You don't feel like the you you really are, because you aren't, and you might not even realize on a conscious level why or that it's even going on. You don't have awareness.
But awareness is key.
I learned this first-hand during my bike rides to get through a three-year divorce. I witnessed the transformation and embraced it. What happened? Turns out that mind-body connection really works. I naturally used time on my mountain bike to assess and ponder what I was going through and how I wanted to respond. Taking in all the information that was coming my way -- advice from a good lawyer, financial consultation, friends' well-meaning jabs at the soon-to-be ex, and sisters on both sides who wanted me to "take him for all he's got" -- I processed. I knew right off that I wanted to respond in such a way that I'd be able to walk away from a marriage gone wrong with my head held high when all was said and done. I accomplished that. I didn't feel the need "take him for all he's got," I let the lawyers -- his and mine -- do their jobs. I just wanted my life back.
But first, I needed to reconnect with the me I knew I'd once been. She got lost somewhere between the "I do" and the "I'm done!" Intent on digging her back out, I wanted her to breathe air again. I believed in her.
And I'm not saying I didn't say or do things I shouldn't have, but I'm saying I made decisions methodically, strategically, thoughtfully, and I don't regret a thing. I could have had more. I might have had less. Whatever the case, I took care of myself. And I was able to do that because I listened and learned, appreciating that only I had the answers to how I would move past the unexpected pain. I had to trust I could take what was given to me and what I sought out for myself and use it wisely. Isn't that what we all really want when we're experiencing a life challenge? To come out of it still intact? To love ourselves when it's over?
Almost from that very first ride, I knew I was drawn to that bike for a reason. After all, it had been sitting in my garage for years. I hadn't ridden it but maybe a dozen times before. Maybe. So I knew there was a purpose to all of this. I just didn't know exactly what until much later. But I knew, and never let that knowledge stray. So I kept journals. Boxes full of them.
And don't worry. This is not about riding a bike, though that's the tool I was drawn to use. You might be drawn to something else. Maybe running, hiking, sewing, fishing, boating, painting, writing, sketching, anything that is yours and yours alone. See, this is about finding that safe place to consider the challenges you're experiencing and to make sure you're responding in such a way that keeps you moving forward. It's your answer, not mine.
That doesn't mean you won't screw up, make mistakes and maybe even fail. What it does mean is that despite those screw ups, mistakes and failures, you will know how to overcome even those setbacks. They won't flatten your tire for too long. You'll be able to put the brakes on the stuff that threatens your success (even if it's just a mental pause, you know, like a negative thought or two or ten!), move them out of the way, and move on.
You'll be drawn to the things that will save you. You'll seek help where you know you can find it. You'll trust that you are doing what's right for you. And you'll walk away from your experiences feeling a sense of satisfaction and self-approval. You won't rely on others for that. And you will definitely reconnect with the spiritual guide you believe in to help lead the way. I think that, too, will come naturally, as we're all spiritual beings regardless of our awareness or lack thereof. That's what I believe.
If you don't know already, I teach what I call the "BIKE Lessons" in four-part increments, one letter at a time, to women in transition. I also give break-out presentations and keynotes to women's groups, business luncheons, and conference gatherings. My background has left me with a ton of stories to tell about each individual letter. It's why I can connect with my audience. Basically, I teach coping mechanisms, using the BIKE philosophy as the road guide. Just as my travel guide is a map to Arizona, guiding you to state thrills. My BIKE Lessons guide you to joy. Both are all about happy endings, and this is why I'm known as the BIKE LADY. It was a name given to me at a conference several years ago, and I've embraced it since then, mostly for the positive message it represents. Despite the challenges I've faced in life, I've had many things given to me, and that's what I want to give back: a positive return on your personal time investment. I want your time here to matter.
My BIKE is about moving forward. This is Day 1 of the Blogathon. For the next 30 days, we'll celebrate a sort of revival here. Maybe along the way, you'll reconnect with something that you've set aside and are on the verge or the fence about trying again. If so, I hope you'll share your story.
See you tomorrow? I hope so.