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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 30: Reaching the finish line

Sunrise at Monument Valley

Made it! I reached Day 30 of this transformational exercise.

For 30 days, joining a small group of other writers, authors, artists and other creative types gathering at, I engaged in meditative walks (sometimes it was a bike ride, sometimes it was yoga, sometimes it was just getting lost in the quiet space of home) and journal writing. I then blogged about the process here, but not blog daily, which was the original agreement. You can clearly see the days I missed by checking the right-hand side of this page. I also felt resistance on more than one day and avoided writing in the journal at all--highly unusual for me, as I live by the journal. To me, that meant there would revelations to uncover and things to figure out. I wasn't afraid of that, but it seems I did have some resistance, maybe even some anger (at myself). But I made it to the finish line, and I am pleased.

Three Things I Learned From This Exercise: 

I learned to forgive myself, to be kind to myself, to let things go. Normally, in an exercise like this I want to do it all, and I want to do it all perfectly. I learned to be okay with imperfection or the idea that I might not do everything as expected. I can be okay with what is good enough. This is a good lesson for someone who comes back in to edit out that extra line or space or the misplaced comma in a blog post. I am learning to let those things be what they are. Would you really notice an extra space in a sentence? Would you care? Studies show people generally read right over such mistakes in copy, so that's something to remember if you catch yourself editing that minor error in your next post. Let it go.

I have issues. Who doesn't, right? Seriously. OMG! I have issues. BUT, I'm more than willing to work on them. At least when I'm not resisting. I am willing to face truths that I'd prefer to ignore. I am willing to accept my failures and take away something from these experiences that will help me do something different or better the next time--if there's a next time. I am willing to accept there might not be, that I may suffer consequences. I have issues, yes, but I am not afraid to face them so I can detach and grow. I am enough. Remember that post?

Some people I know think I am no good with change. But, thankfully, I know myself better. I'm very adaptable, fairly flexible, and I can go with the flow. That doesn't mean I like or want to embrace change that hurts or somehow makes me feel uncomfortable. But I can accept the inevitable (in time, if that's what it takes) and figure out ways to deal with it. This exercise just reinforced what I know about myself, and that's a good thing for someone who's been playing in the sandbox of uncertainty. Change can bring you back to who you really are inside, and I am definitely open to that.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 29: Recycling a life

Time for a new me! How 'bout you?

While sorting and tossing items in the recycling bin last night, I was struck by the emotions and changes that are going on in my life right now. I realized...

I'm recycling my life.


And I'm happy to be here.

From time to time, maybe we all do this without realizing it, in some fashion or another. Basically, I'm resurrecting parts of me that I've neglected, and sorting through and tossing out things about myself I no longer want: papers, clothes, bad habits. If you think about who we are as emotional, physical, spiritual and sexual beings, there are parts of ourselves that actually do need a recycle every now and then.

In thinking about this periodic "whipping into new shape" idea, I see how it's happening for me--and how it might happen for you. What do you think?

The Emotional Recycling (or recovery, if that's the case)
In considering the self-talk that's been taking place in my head this past year, I am both surprised and sorry to see so much of it negative. I need to relinquish that and turn on the positive. If this is you, too, it's time to suss out the affirmatives and toss those nasty rumors you've been spreading about yourself. It doesn't matter what did or did not happen. Let's ask ourselves: Are we really that bad? Let's be real. No one's as bad as they make themselves out to be. So let's agree to focus, instead, on the great things achieved in 2011, and how they can be equaled or topped in 2012.

The Physical Recycling (rejuvenation even)
If it's going to pinch even one inch off of your self-esteem, don't even think about stepping on that scale. Toss it. Instead, if you've been like me and didn't live up to your personal care-taking goals, let's invest in some kind of movement. It doesn't matter how much or how little. Any step counts when you're trying to alter your size, shape or form. And this isn't about some Nike slogan, either. It's about feeling good about who you are inside. No slogan can change that. Only you can change that. So don't just do it. Believe it. If you want to recycle the body you have now into the one you want or think you deserve, then let's take that first step together. The second, third...and more...will follow when you see results and begin to believe. That means you have to dig around and find some patience. You'll need to hold onto that, so keep it somewhere in sight. If you've neglected other areas of your physical care-taking responsibilities, make those calls this week. Let's get rid of the mindset that allowed us to veg for too long and exchange it with one that encourages us to get up and go or get up and do--right now, while we're thinking of it!

The Spiritual Recycling (perhaps it's really a cleansing)
In the wheel of spiritual fortune, where would your arrow land after the spin? Would it land on the $1500 retreat? What about the books you've been meaning to read and digest? You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones about yoga, The Artist's Way (because you didn't have time to read it when we did it together here), the Bible. Are they still stacked up on your bedside table, no eyeglasses in sight. How about leaving an extra pair on top of that stack, so you have no excuses for ignoring your self-development? It's never too late to educate. It's never too late to learn. It's never too late to say "Yes!"And if you've been neglecting attending the classes, meetings or study group you once enjoyed but have since put out of your mind (for lack of time maybe?), bring them back to the forefront and decide to show up. Just once. At the very least you've given yourself permission to regroup and assess. Where you are and where you need to be will be obvious once you make that first move. At least it has been for me. It's one reason why I'm heading for Guatemala this month.

The Sexual Recycling (maybe evolution's the word)
Without getting too personal, if you're missing the boat in the romantic docking area with your significant other, consider what you can do to be on time next time. Maybe you need to set the date. Maybe you need to pick the place. Maybe you need to take an aspirin. Whatever it is, be in charge of the change--even if it involves something as simple as ridding yourself of the flannels in favor of something that helps you fancy your feminine side more. If you like how you're feeling, chances are he might as well. And if you have to go all out and ask for it, then pose the question--or demand it. Whichever works.

If it's time to change things up, then be the change to make it happen. Get out there. Go for a walk. Meditate about any kind of garbage that somehow got mixed up with the gems in your life, and recycle it. If it's no good, toss it. If it's got some promise, file it. If it's still working for you, consider ways to expand or recycle it for more use in 2012. That's what I like about change. If can give us more opportunity to be in charge. I vow to work that opportunity in all areas of my life.

How about you?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 28: Accepting yourself--as you are

A few days ago, I received an email from my hairdresser:

"Hey, we miss you around here!" was the gist of the message. It's nice to be wanted. It's one reason why I like going back there, month after month. But my finances have been slim lately, so I've been watching where I'm spending my money. Fancy hair cuts and color have not been it. Besides, what might appear to be haircare neglect has also given my hair a few months to grow out, and I like the length!

It's been two months or so since I've had an appointment with my hairdresser, and, this morning, when I was looking at myself in the mirror while blowdrying my hair, I once again noticed those sparkling streaks. I call them my sparklies, you know, the grays. When they first appear, they look like tiny specks of glitter. I don't mind them. I think they're kinda cool-looking at that stage. Two months into their growth, however, they're starting to look like sparkling streaks of if I just painted a room in the house and splattered it, instead, all over my head. Only, the streaks are all uniform, and they actually blend in pretty well with my auburn hair. I don't really mind them all.

They're still there because, in light of saving money, I also decided maybe I'll just experiment with this. How long do I want my hair to grow out? How long before the ends need a trim, anyway? And am I really liking those sparkling streaks, or am I just kidding myself?

Looking in the mirror today, contemplating whether I need to make that call to my hairdresser or what, I noticed that I'd stopped looking or seeing the gray in my head. It didn't matter. Whatever I choose to do, I'll do. Meanwhile, I am accepting me just the way I am. Grays and all. But, if you don't mind, I do prefer to call them my sparklies. That makes them more fun.

Do you have a story to share of a moment you came to realize you accept yourself as you are? If so, share it here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 26: Breathing

Smile, breathe and go slowly.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart:  I am, I am, I am.  ~Sylvia Plath

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.  ~L. Frank Baum

I feel like I'm on top of the world. Honestly, I feel like I've climbed a very giant mountain, and I'm just standing on top with my arms wide open and breathing rarified air.  ~Shania Twain

Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?  ~Mary Oliver 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 25: Working through resistance

In my journal today, I wrote one word: resistant.

I'm feeling resistant about this work right now. I don't want to write in my journal. I don't want to think about the things that might be bugging me (Are there really that many???). I'm reluctant to go for a walk. I'd rather do anything than this.

You'd think that would happen in the earlier days, as Julia Cameron tells you to expect in The Artist's Way. But here I am, nearing the end of this exercise, and all I can write in the journal is one word?

To work through this resistance, I am doing the following:

_letting myself engage in the avoidance.

_listening to what my mind is saying.

_paying attention to what resistance feels like.

I have decided it's okay if I don't write in the journal every day. It's okay if I wait till late afternoon to jot down my thoughts--even if they are single-word entries. It's okay if I miss the walk or ride the bike instead. Or even do squats. It's okay if I feel this resistance. It's still telling me something. I'm still listening. I'm still paying attention to the tightness I feel in my jaw or the nervous energy that's settling in my stomach. Resistance is telling me something. And I'm paying attention.

I expect the solution will show up on the page later.

Just not today.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 23: Finding stillness

A river guide sits quietly above the Colorado in the Grand Canyon
 “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” ~Winnie the Pooh
 I posted the link to a reported essay on my Facebook and Twitter page today about the idea that stillness is something the younger generations behind us will know better than we do now.

I don't doubt it. I agree with one of Pico Iyer's (the author) early suppositions: "The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug." I've often felt this need to disconnect, and rarely do I feel guilty when I do. It's why I'm learning to be okay that I have not blogged every day during this journal writing/meditation/blogging exercise. Blogging daily isn't really necessary to get the full benefit. It's extra. I'm also okay if I miss one of the other parts in the exercise. It is what it is.

And it's possible I just might need time to process what I've been learning about myself, because this exercise has led me to some thoughts that have been somewhat painful and true. That's the challenge when you go quiet. When you take time to process, to ponder, to find stillness, that time may also lead to you to what is making you feel the opposite.

Not a comfortable place to be, mentally, but I think it's necessary.

That's why I don't think it's a coincidence that we've also been discussing this and working on this--stillness--in yoga. It's clearly something I'm being drawn toward and clearly something I need.

I even came up with a pitch I'd like to write for a magazine I just discovered. The topic: boulder sitting. The point: finding stillness.

Yes, I would have to agree with Iyer who wrote also in this piece about why he takes time away from his family to stay at a Hermitage not far from his home..."I just take walks," he writes, "and read and lose myself in the’s only by stepping briefly away from my wife and bosses and friends that I’ll have anything useful to bring to them."

If you agree with this idea that stillness is essential, where do you plan to find yours in 2012?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 21: Starting over

It's January 1, 2012--a new day, a new year, time to start fresh. Whether you revise old goals, create new ones, make promises to yourself, initiate a plan of daily affirmations, commit to any variation of a new (or old and adjusted) mental, spiritual or physical diet, I wish you well in the new year.

I wish you a fresh start, a healthier lifestyle, a more positive attitude.

Whatever your heart desires this year, I hope you get it.

And I hope you wish me the same.