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.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm back!

Sorry. I stepped out for a while there, didn't I? A long while, I guess. But you know, there are so many things to do...and only so much time. Who doesn't need to take breaks now and then? I did. And I did.

But I'm back. And I'm pleased to report that the BIKE is still working for me. Is it working for you?

Exciting things have happened to me since we last shared our time together. I've been traveling a lot. In fact, I've been to Southeastern Arizona with friends to follow the Salsa Trail -- a route along the Old West Highway that takes you to 13 Mexican restaurants, a chile farm and tortilla factory, where you can taste really hot salsa and really good food. I'm on first-name terms with the guy who helped organize this unique trail, Sheldon Miller. He probably loves me most because I've sold several stories on the tour. But, hey, you get the love where you can sometimes, don't you?! He's a good guy, no matter what. And if you ever happen to be in Southeastern Arizona, I recommend you take the trail. It's really fun, and the food is off-the-beaten-path good. The scenery ain't half bad, neither.

I also took my first trip abroad. But instead of the typical European tour that I always dreamed I'd take, I veered a bit from that and went to Kenya. I was with a group of really fun and caring women, led by an organization called the Foundation for Global Leadership. There were about 10 or 12 of us traveling together to learn about women's rights, or the lack thereof. We toured a refugee camp. We met with women in the Kenyan Parliament in Nairobi. We spent a lot of time at a slum, also in Nairobi. That particular part of the trip was quite surprising to me, because I noticed I felt far too comfortable walking amongst the muddy paths, holding the little hands of girls too young to suffer mental anguish as I know they must. And there I was, walking with them, knowing a part of me could relate. I felt a connection with these girls that scared me a bit, and yet I felt safe walking with them.

Aside from those young school girls, I met some other amazing women...Merci Musomi who heads up the Girl Child Network, for one. She's a huge proponent of giving young girls the power of choice. I love that. Becuase of her, I thought, perhaps, I'd spend some time teaching the girls and women she works with about my BIKE philosophy. She had asked me to. But instead, when I came home, I realized there are plenty of women right here, in my own neighborhood, who can benefit. They're the reason I started speaking about BIKE in the first place. I'm likely to go back to Kenya and work with Merci, but I think I have things to do here first.

So that realization took me to Homeward Bound, a homeless shelter for women in transition. I'm lucky enough to know someone who knows someone. So I was able to meet with the director and present my idea. I'll now be teaching my BIKE lessons to a small group of women at Homeward Bound in January. For four weeks, they'll get a chance to learn how a mental bike can help shape their future for the better.

I'm excited about this new opportunity, though somewhat intimidated. I've presented my BIKE presentation to plenty of people before but never to women who are living the life I once led. It's not pretty. It's not easy. It's not anything anyone wants. So, in January, I'll get to see first-hand if BIKE really works. Or was it just a quirk in my personality that allowed it to work for me? My guess and my hope and my expectation is that BIKE can work for all of us. But the key word is work. It takes time. It takes thought. It takes effort to transform an idea into reality. I hope I won't scare the women off because of that.

But you'll soon know more.

Meanwhile, I hope you're back on the road like I am, changing the course of your life for the better.

All my best,

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What are "they" saying about you?

Anyone who works in the mental health field will tell you that it's important to surround yourself during recovery with people who support you in your goals. Since I tend to believe we're all in recovery at some point in our lives, I think this is true for all of us.

Surround yourself with people who support you in your efforts to grow in all ways: spiritually, financially, physically, mentally, and any other way you're working to heal your life. Dealing with traumatic events, life-changing events, or any other obstacle can be difficult in and of itself; you'll benefit greatly by having friends, family and colleagues beside you or with you in thought and spirit to cheer you on.

I was reminded about that this morning, after telling a writer friend of mine about my upcoming trip to Kenya. I was so pleased to get this e-mail from her in my box today:

"That is so cool! I cannot even begin to express how proud I am of you. I remember when things were not so great for you a few years ago, and you were wondering how you would get through. You've not only gotten through, but you've flourished!"

While I believe this to be true of myself, it's a wonderful testament to know that someone other than myself, someone whose been through her own ordeal, believes that and took the time to send her thoughts to me. What wonderful words she offered?! They're a gift. Thanks Wojo!

In order to make such words even more meaningful, I keep all the kudos I get in a file. On the days I'm feeling not so great or overwhelmed, I try to remember to take a look inside that file and remember what's so great about me.

What are people saying about you? Do you know yourself what's so great about you? Think about keeping your own list as a reminder. When you get praise and thanks from others, treat the words with the spirit of love, because that's how they arrived. And place the kind words in a file where you can easily retrieve them on days when they can come in handy a second or third time.

When "they're" saying good things about you, that's a gift that keeps on giving, because even if you forget to save the words somewhere, they'll still be in your heart and mind. Don't let yourself forget them.

All my best,

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Let's talk exercise

Even if you think you abhor the word, keep reading.

Exercise, of course, is a good thing. I know you know that, but let me share with you a story that might nudge you a little bit closer to getting on that bike, going for that walk, or digging out those yoga tapes.

I've mentioned that I found my special brand of BIKE while going through my divorce. I found it while riding an actual bicycle. A year on an old Huffy (and then two years on the Trek 4300 when I wore the Huffy down) taught me many lessons. One of the more important lessons learned came from this story:

The year before chaos hit at my house, I had gained 40 pounds. Some of you may not think that's a lot, but on my tiny frame, that was a lot of excess weight to carry around. And I felt it. I felt heavy. I felt unhealthy. I felt, well, I felt fat!

And when you feel fat, you start thinking fat. Even my son made fun of the size of my butt. And I'd laugh it off. Sometimes, that's how you deal when you're not really dealing. My head was telling me, "Oh, what's the use? It's too hard to try to do anything about it." I know some of you have felt like this, and it's not a good place to let your thoughts wander. That's dangerous territory -- physically, mentally, spiritually, and even sexually.

You don't have the energy to exercise, so you don't. You let the negative self-talk override anything that could be positive. You're probably not praying or feeling anything remotely close to faith in a higher power. And sex? If you're not in line with the prior three, the later is probably not even close to happening. And if it is, it's probably not very satisfying. So what's the point, right?

The point is that you're missing out.

I know. Because I was that person. I was missing out. It was as if I'd flat-lined on a gurney. I mean, there was nothing going on in my life. If there was joy to be found, I sure didn't know where to look.

I was too busy opening cupboard doors.

Even though I'd never been a snacker before, I was snacking during the last year before my marriage ended. Things were falling apart at my house. I had become a woman who was turning to food for the comfort I wasn't getting from my spouse at home. He was hardly home, anyway. And even when he was home, he wasn't. What was even worse was this: I wasn't paying attention. I was ignoring. And I was telling myself that things would get better. But I was NOT doing anything to make it better. I was simply getting by, biding time, waiting things out. Waiting for what, exactly, I don't know. But my head was not in an active mode, that's for sure.

There's more to the story than this, but I started to become more aware the day I stepped on a scale at the gym and saw that number. It was 40 pounds more than I'd ever weighed, and I knew then that something was wrong. An alarm went off inside my head that warned, "Jackie, you have to admit, that's not good."

When I started riding, it wasn't long before I started to notice the changes -- not just in my body, but in my head.

Within two months, I could see the belly bulge disappearing. I realized I no longer felt the skin around my middle smacking my leg as I pedaled. I knew that was a good thing. It felt like progress.

I could think clearer, I had more energy, and I felt lighter.

That was in 2002. Here it is 2007, and I still remember what it felt like to not only feel sluggish but also to behave sluggishly. I am now aware of what my body feels like when I'm not taking care of it. I now know I absolutely do not like that feeling. So when I have my moments of inactivity, when life feels too rushed to find time to exercise, it's not long before I notice that familiar slug-like feeling. That's enough to motivate me to get back on the bike, get back on a routine hiking schedule, or hop on the exercise ball. I'll do anything to avoid moving backwards for long. I do not ever want to return to where I was at. It was not a good place to be, not for anyone.

But some of us have to know what the bad feels like before we can appreciate the good, I guess.

So I now pay attention to how my body feels. I pay attention to what I'm doing to take care of it, and I know when I falter, the faltering moments won't last too long.

That's what BIKE is about. It's not about being perfect. It's about realizing when you're not doing your absolute best -- because you know yourself well enough to know what that really is -- forgiving yourself when you falter, and getting back on track. The special brand of BIKE that I'm sharing with you offers you not an excuse to make mistakes but an acceptance of those mistakes and a reason to move past them...simply because you can and because it's the best action to take.

Your mantra today: I am human. I make mistakes. But I still know how to move forward.

All my best,

Monday, July 16, 2007

Read anything good lately?

Finding your way in life is a journey not meant only for yourself. We're here to live life with others, in the spirit of togetherness.

In business, a manager might call that teamwork.

Six months ago I spoke to a community college president for an article I was working on; it was actually an assignment to write short profiles of six or seven successful women involved in Arizona public policy. This particular woman told me during our phone visit that she gave assigned reading to her employees, but not just any reading. She assigned them the current best-selling business books to read, and then they met to discuss what they learned so they could apply the principals to their work. This was only the second time I'd heard of a college president doing that. From our conversation, I learned that she also understood we are meant to work together for the good of all. That's what really makes us successful. Her story inspired me.

In my life, I've known many people who did not seem to understand this concept.

How many times, for instance, have you seen a couple at a restaurant, a nice restaurant even, not say a single word to each other as they waited for their meals to arrive. And then afterwards, while waiting for the bill, they still said nothing! I've observed this many times. And the sad looks I've seen on some of these faces usually said it all. I've often wondered why communication seems so difficult. It doesn't have to be, particularly not with those people in our lives, our loved ones or co-workers, who rely on us. If we chose to say what needs to be said and choose to allow this from others -- without judgment -- that decision can lead to more meaningful relationships all the way around.

If you're in need of learning how to take care of yourself in this way, by speaking up when you need to, I recommend reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Even if you don't agree with the spiritual nature of the story behind his lessons, you'll likely agree with the lessons themselves: be impeccable with your word; don't take anything personally; don't make assumptions; always do your best.

Finding your mental BIKE requires this kind of input, and awareness is key to the knowing. Your mental BIKE rides, when taken daily, will lead you not only to where you really are in your head but also to where you really want to be.

All my best,

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I believe it does take a village

I just found out my daughter is moving back home after a living a little more than two years in another town, another state, another job.

The move back is unexpected but welcomed. It'll be nice to have my not-so-little girl close by again. My son, her brother who moved with her, plans to stay behind; he likes his life. (But I cannot help but wonder if his attitude will change once she's gone. Ummm.)

What brings her home is unimportant other than it shows me how well she can handle a challenge. She's found herself indirectly involved in a life-changing experience, and she's taking responsibility for helping make the transition go as easily as possible, not just for herself, but also for those nearest and dearest to her, such as her brother, who would otherwise be left in the lurch.

She knows it takes more than one person for chaos to occur in a relationship. And she knows how to focus on the solution rather than drain all her energy on the problem. That doesn't mean she doesn't vent. Trust me. I've heard it all. But that's okay. We all need those shoulders, and more importantly, we need to know where we can find them. I'm glad she knows.

I hope you know where your support system can be found. If you don't, today I encourage you to start looking. We are not alone on this journey. My son reminded me of that several years ago, and I can still hear his voice in my head when I need to be reminded again. "You are not alone, mom!" he said to me during one particularly angst-filled morning. His words were so comforting to hear at that moment, and I've never forgotten them. Just as that bicycle sitting my garage appeared at the precise moment when I needed it, his words did as well, and I know they came from a source greater than ourselves.

That's also why I know BIKE is more than just a ride; it's a spiritual ride. The time you have alone with yours will help you find your metaphorical village. Wherever your support might be, all you have to do is be open to the embrace when it arrives.

Enjoy the rest of your day not only knowning but also believing, "You are not alone."


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Can the ride lead to laughter?

I've been gone a bit longer than intended, but I hope you haven't forgotten to ride. If you're still asking what that is, simply put, your ride is how you interpret your life. Is it good, bad, neutral? Are you having a good day, a bad day, a so-so day? How do you want to interpret your day? Remember, you are the navigator.

Here's a tip I just learned at a speakers' convention this past week:

On those so-called bad days that may begin with you in a cranky mood, don't get out of bed without first acknowledging your mood and then asking: What's the BEST that can happen?

Did you notice the difference? Aren't we used to saying, "What's the worst that can happen?"

Today, let's switch it up and ask the opposite. Put positive focus on your thoughts and observe the changes in your mood. Sneaky, huh?

When you consider that you only wake up cranky if you choose to wake up cranky, you give yourself back the power to decide. When you start paying attention to your moods, your thoughts, your habits, you open yourself up to awareness. And more importantly, you open yourself up to your personal power -- the power to choose.

Today, embrace that power and choose to smile.

What's to smile about, you may ask. My answer: create your own list.

Here's my short list from this morning:

good health
my dog asleep at my feet
singing karaoke with my speaker friends from France and Portland
a messy desk
a car that needs cleaning so I get to use the power sprayer

From your own self-exploration, you'll see there's much to smile about every single day. Put your focus on that instead of on that which makes you frown. Problems make you frown. Solutions, however, make you smile.

If you want to feel the power even deeper within yourself, do what my Phoenix speaker friends Kitty Wiemelt and Kathleen Thoren, both laughter leaders, might suggest: laugh out loud.

So, yes, when you take charge, when you set the course in a forward-moving direction -- even if you don't go far at first -- your BIKE ride will not only lead to laughter but even the detours along the way will bring smiles.

How's that for centrifugal force?

All my best,

Friday, June 15, 2007

How's the "ride"?

I'm asking because my ride feels a little rough right now. The bumps in the road are keeping my focus on other things than this blog.

It's okay, though, because there's focus. Focus is good.

Keep that in mind as you run into your own bumps, or the places in your life that may at least FEEL bumpy. It's okay. They'll show up from time to time. Just remember you can ride right by them. There's smooth surface ahead.

Think about that this next week; I'll be off-line, pedaling around on a different project. But I'll be back at the end of the month.

Keep pedaling!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Testing, testing...

My mental BIKE has been tested a lot lately.

You know when you have so much to do, and there's hardly enough time, but you know you have to do the work, anyway...what do you do? How do you get started? How do you reach the finish line?

I like to follow Anne Lamott's advice from her book, Bird by Bird. I remember to do it one thing at a time, one day at a time, and if it's a report about birds, then one bird at a time. It's easier to accomplish something if you tackle it in bites rather than gulps.

So I've been tested a lot lately about prioritizing, scheduling, being able to "fit it all in." I thik we all are tested in this way at times. How do you manage this?

With my special brand of BIKE, especially the first part of it -- my Best self -- I am reminded that at the end of the day, I'll do myself a huge favor by realizing I can only get through what I can only get through.

I'm reminded of the advice also in the book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.

Next time you're tested, do the same for yourself. Don't sweat it. Remember that we don't have all the time in the world. Pick something to do, do it, and then be grateful you accomplished that. Remember to celebrate your accomplishments and make specific plans to tackle the next item on your list.

Your Best self would be the part of you that treats you well, reminds you that you don't have in infinite amount of time, and lets you say "no" when it's necessary.

This week, starting today, remind yourself that it's okay to say "no" to the things you don't want to do or to the things you don't have time to add onto your schedule. Be clear about your schedule with others. Doing this will lead to a self-assurance that will help you save time for the things that you do want to complete. And you'll be a more joyful person.

Imagine yourself now with your hands high up in the air as you come up to that finish line. No matter how long it took you to get there, you did it.

That's what BIKE is about.

All my best,

Monday, June 4, 2007

Miss me?

Maybe you've noticed I haven't posted in a few days. I've been busy with deadlines and preparing for a BIKE presentation that I just gave on Sunday. That was two hours of telling my story and audience interaction and discussion; the program ended with me getting lots of hugs from my audience members. How empowering is that?! I was humbled and so joyful.

I left the meeting room feeling particularly proud of myself and happy that I have a message to share that can truly inspire.

It's a great illustration of the ability to turn a negative into a positive. We all have the power to do that for ourselves.

I hope you've been thinking about your BIKE -- the vehicle that will move you past whatever pain you might be going through.

I've been talking a lot about BIKE in the past few years. It's become such a part of my life. Without it, I'm not sure I'd be selling to the national magazines. I'm not sure I would be traveling as much. I'm not sure my life would seem as full.

Becoming aware, paying attention, living consciously -- all of that will occur more and more as you ride. Trusting those gut feelings helps us make better decisions that allow us to experience life in an exhuberant manner.

Wouldn't it be great if you could feel joy despite the sorrows? You can. It's the law of life, the yin and yang.

No matter what is annoying you today, or grieving you, or causing you pain, think about what also gives you joy. If you're not already doing so, start keeping a "Grateful" Journal. A friend of mine gave me such a journal when I was going through my divorce. In it, I wrote down ONLY those things for which I felt grateful. I filled the pages with grateful thoughts. If you do the same, you'll be surprised how your attitide can change after just one week of this practice.

Today, think joyful thoughts.

All my best,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Missed opportunity

BIKE is about awareness, and this is a story about why it's important to pay attention -- even when you're eavesdropping...

I've mentioned my trip to Sedona a few times already, and I'm still feeling the effects of that trip. I've been thinking, for example, about a specific moment. I was with my boyfriend on this trip, and as we headed out of town to come back home, we stopped off at a creekside restaurant for dinner. We sat out on the patio which overlooks Oak Creek. It was a quiet day, a slight breeze in the air, very relaxing. After the meal, I went to the restroom. On my way back to meet up with my boyfriend by the stairs and head for home, I overheard the conversation going on at one of the tables. It seemed to be a husband, wife, their teenage son, and perhaps a family friend at this table. They were chatting, having a good time.

They were speaking loud enough that it wasn't difficult to hear what was said. When one of the men made a comment about how angry his ex-wife was as I walked by their table, I couldn't help but smirk just a little bit. Though I can't recall his words exactly, they were enough to cause me to make a face while I eavesdropped. The man caught me but didn't take offense. Rather, he invited my boyfriend and I over to their table to join in on the conversation. "We're discussing personal growth issues," he said, "It looks like you might have something to add."

But knowing we wanted to get home, I declined with this reply: "I wouldn't want to bore the poor kid."

"Oh no, you wouldn't. He's been sharing his own knowledge. Listen," and then the guy cojoled the young man into revealing what he knew.

The boy shared the usual stuff..."Don't take drugs. Finish school. Go to college."

It's all good advice we want our kids to adhere to, but it's rote commentary. There's no depth to it, I thought.

Still, I didn't offer my own words of wisdom, nor did my boyfriend. We just left the party behind.

It wasn't until I'd reached the parking lot when I realized I did have some good advice I could have shared, but I didn't take the opportunity when it was given to me.

If I had, I would have shared my BIKE philosophy. "Find your BIKE," I'd have told him. "If you want to live a good life, making decisions that move you forward into a positive and productive future, find your BIKE -- It's mental, not metal."

In the next few weeks, I'll share with you what that means.

All my best,

Friday, May 25, 2007

"You've Got a Friend"

That's the name of the song that I was referring to..."You've Got a Friend." Can you hear the words in your head? As a child, I think it was Dionne Warwick I heard sing that song on the radio. I remember singing it at my eighth grade graduation. It marked a new beginning.

Music has a way of lifting us up in our darkest hour, doesn't it? It also can turn the tears on, if the right song appears at just the right moment. We connect with the sounds, the words, the harmony. There are certain songs that I bet you'll never forget, songs that evoke very specific memories. Music as a healing mechanism works very well for this reason. It helps you connect thoughts to feelings so that you can release energy that needs to be let go.

During your rides, I imagine you might have tapped into some music from your past. A song may sit in the subconscious, just waiting to be released at the perfect moment, to provide the needed comfort.

Our bodies really do know what we need to nurture it. The key is to tune in and be willing to listen.

Let that be the thought that carries you into your weekend.

We'll talk more next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pause for effect...or...affect

Back from my Sedona weekend for several days now, my mind is filled with thoughts about growth, lessons learned, and what they really mean. If you've ever been on a merry-go-round and all you could think of during the ride was, "When is it going to stop?" I'm kind of feeling that way now.

I want to slow down a bit. I want to make sure I'm taking time for thoughtful decision-making. I wasn't always this way.

Before I found BIKE, not all of my choices were chosen thoughtfully enough. I made far too many mistakes, reacting, instead of acting proactively. Still, even my mistakes have paid off, so I'm not judging myself. But it's important to note that my mental BIKE taught me to recognize when to slow down. This lesson might have had something to do with the fact that I came close to getting hit by a car several times. Survival instincts had a lot to do with the learning. I'm sure you can see the metaphor in that. But no matter the reason, I can now recognize when there's need for pause. I'm not always as successful as I'd like to be, but I'm getting there. It's part of the journey.

That's the beauty of having your own mental BIKE; it won't go away. The lessons you learn during your miraculous rides will stay with you for as long as you let them.

It makes me think of the song that includes these words, "Won't you let them?" If you can name that song for me, will you post a comment?

Thanks for joining me today.

All my best,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Growing, growing, grown?

During our childhood, our growth is apparent almost on a daily basis. Our parents or our caregivers make note of our weight gains, whether a new tooth is forming, and they may even mark our height in notches on a wall for all to see. Snapshots and videos also record amazing feats that we've achieved as a toddler. If you happen to be the first-born, that first step you took may have been welcomed by a family celebration, beginning your first family tradition. Most everyone I know had their very first birthday caputured on some kind of film, to be shared over and over again.

This early growth just seems to feel so good.

As we get older and grow into adulthood, however, we seem to forget how good growth really does feel -- beginning with those hormonal and frequently chaotic adolescent years. We put away the party favors, the cake and ice cream, and maybe even skip the presents. Our growth becomes less visible, less celebrated, less important. Often, we don't even pay attention to it. Some even prefer to ignore it. We don't want to get "old."

Today, I've returned from a weekend assignment that really forced me to notice areas that could use improvement in my own life. It reminded me -- and yes, we need those reminders -- that the growth continues; it's never-ending. So I challenge you today to consider areas of improvement that you could make in your own life. Focus only on you, not on your loved ones, nor your friends. It's easy to point out the flaws and mistakes made by others. It's much more difficult to look inside our own imperfections. Doing so, however, will wake those senses. It will arouse your curiosity, and it will remind you that growth is always a good thing -- even when it hurts. And there will be times that it will. Those are good times, too. They need not be fearful times. Often, they are the moments we really should be celebrating the most!

For your ride today, think about where you are in your life. As you paint or draw that still life, as you pedal past thorny bushes and up over the bridge ahead, as you take this time to yourself, think about the choices you've made in your life. When have you been the happiest? When have you felt nothing but pure joy, the kind that keeps you giggling for hours or laughing from deep down inside? Think about that, then write down your thoughts. Remind yourself of the last time you felt child-like, as if you were that little girl or boy playing on the monkey bars once again. Even if you recall the falls, think about how you got back up.

Being able to bounce back from your falls is key to continued growth.

In your "ride" today (The quote marks mean your ride is your choice, not mine. If it's a bike, that's great. But if it's something else for you, if you require something less physical -- or more physical -- that will work just as well.) for your "ride" today, think about your own growth.

It's not over.

Let this one be a smooth ride. No bumps today. As my therapist would often say to me during some really rough moments, "Be gentle with yourself."

I heard those same words again from a yoga instructor this past weekend. So, Johanna Mosca from Sedona Spirit, if you're reading this, thank you for a lesson I can share with my readers. Yours are celebratory words, belonging to us all.

Let's celebrate growth today.

All my best,

Friday, May 18, 2007

To clarify...

..."When I rode..."

I still ride, of course, but I mix it up now. I ride. I hike. I jog -- very slowly. I walk, mostly doing something I call "curb walking," and I'll explain that later as well. And I journal regularly, pretty much every day. Sometimes, I even engage in yoga-like activity. I don't knit or crochet -- that's my sister's deal -- and I sometimes engage in other artistic endeavors. But those things don't draw me, personally. They just fill time when desired. For you, however, something along the creative lines -- even painting -- might be exactly what you're drawn to. If so, it'll be the perfect activity for you, because it'll be a natural fit -- something you'll most likely stick to on a daily basis...or close enough. Oh, and guys, your thing might be the tinkering you do in the garage. That may be the perfect place where you'll find your BIKE.

But just in case you were wondering..."Is she still riding?" Yes, I am. I believe the continuous repetitive action must go on in order for BIKE to be most effective as your journey continues. Remember, your journey is simply your life. How do you want to live it?

Think about that in your daily "rides."

I'll be back Monday to see where you are.

All my best,

For the next few days...

I'm on assignment and won't be able to post here for a few days.

So take this time as an opportunity to test your commitment. Whether you're riding a bike -- and I hear some of you have been inspired to buy one -- knitting a new scarf, or taking up jewelry making, schedule at least one-hour a day on your calendar for this activity. Then do it. Set your alarm clock for an hour earlier if needed.

When I rode, as soon as I woke up, I got dressed and headed out the door. It was automatic. Help yourself transform your way of thought into an automatic response. If it takes a little nudge from someone else, even, do whatever it takes to get out there every day.

Remember, this is your time to yourself for your benefit.

I'll "see" you in a few days. You can post comments about your progress if you like, or if that helps.

Till Monday, then,

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The transformation begins

Like inflating a flat tire, BIKE is about renewal. To get to that state of transformation -- to become your best self, for starters -- you'll first need to see that a problem exists. Understanding why you need a BIKE is as easy as understanding why you need a pump to put air back in that tire. The pump is a necessary tool for a very specific fix. Likewise, that's what BIKE becomes. If you've been living a deflated life, BIKE can be the tool that will help fill you back up.

To begin your journey, commit to daily rides. If you don't ride -- if you'd rather use something else -- consider walking, hiking, jogging, even knitting. Find something you love to do, or loved to do as a child, and begin doing it. Finding your mental BIKE will require continuous, repetitive physical action. The action is what instills the positive change within you. It is what allows you the time and space for reflection. And it acts as the reminder of your new and improved habits.

Transformation begins when you commit to it. For me, I chose to pedal my way past my problems. From the seat of my bike, I was able to recognize where I could make change happen, and I decided what path I needed to take to get where I wanted to go.

What have you decided to use to navigate your growth?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Practice patience

I've had e-mails come in asking me this already, so you, too, may be having similar thoughts. You may be wondering by now if I'm ever going to tell you what BIKE means and how you can incorporate it into your life.

My response: Be patient.

I found this spiritual navigation guide after a very long journey. And, I believe, in order for it to be effective in your life as well, you'll need to follow a similar course. In order to fully appreciate it -- and then to embrace it -- you'll need to see the growth occur for yourself. People talk about "a-ha moments," the ones where you reach enlightenment about a certain question you might have. This will be one of them for you. If you open your eyes -- not only to see but to accept -- you'll experience complete awareness.

But that takes time, and you must take the journey first.

Here's an exercise for you:

Think about the last time you made a mistake, whether at work, at home, or with friends. Maybe you said something you wish you hadn't. Maybe you agreed to do a job you weren't qualified to do, or didn't want to do, and the task suffered because of your decision. Maybe you missed an appointment. Make a note of how you felt after the fact. And then make a note of how you responded to that feeling or to the people who may have been affected. This exercise isn't about judgment; it's about awareness.

You may want to keep a journal to record your thoughts. The journal will be a valuable resource as you make your transformation.

All my best,

Monday, May 14, 2007

I know BIKE works because...'s measurable.

We've all participated in some project or activity that required continuous performance in order to see or arrive at a result. No matter what you set out to accomplish in a day -- the dishes, laundry, a math problem -- you begin the task, and when you've completed it, you've accomplished something. The results are measurable.

That's what happened to me when I began riding my Huffy. Trust me, for those of you who might still be saying, "Yeah, right. This sucks. It really IS all about exercise." Well, as I mentioned earlier, yes, it was for me, initially. Because that's all I had to count on at the time. It offered me a safe and measurable way to see growth.

At the time, I was forty plus pounds overweight. I felt it, but I wasn't seeing it. More accurately, I was problaby ignoring it. But the reality is, I had gained those forty pounds in one year. I found myself stepping on a scale one day, reading the number out loud, "160 pounds!" I couldn't ignore it any longer. I knew something was wrong. For me, that was not a healthy weight. I was a size 6 who had inched her way up to a size 12 in one year! Folks, that is a major signal that something is not quite right. And I knew it. I just didn't know what "it" was.

I'd soon find out...and I'll get to that later...but for now, you can simply know that my Huffy provided me the pathway to a visible success that I also experienced internally.

I remember feeling the physical effects, and it, too -- just like the Ron Carlson quote -- has stayed with me. When a moment touches your heart, mind and soul, accept its significance and positive change will follow.

I remember riding along my usual bike path. I'd reach my turnaround point, pulling into a park area to add some laps to my ride, and maybe ride under the sprinklers if the weather was really warm. In those early morning hours, I'd pass by the women walkers who also frequented the park. I couldn't seem to help myself, but with a smile on my face, I'd literally wave hello and call out to them, "You should try riding. You won't believe how much weight I've lost." I wanted to share the joy that comes with progress. I wanted others to experience what I was experiencing, despite the turmoil I was dealing with back home. It felt significant to me, and perhaps I looked foolish, grinning as I know I was, but I knew I was onto something.

The truth was getting clearer and clearer with each ride.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It was a Huffy, not a Harley

Paraphrasing Ron Carlson, an author famous for his short stories and also for his ability to connect with his graduate literature students, the former Regents Professor at Arizona State University, Tempe, shared this line with me during a recent telephone interview:

"I'll start with what I know, and then write towards what I don't."

It has stayed with me.

I think it's a statement that can be adapted to more than just writing. To me, it speaks of how life works, in general, particularly when we're going through some kind of change or when thrust into chaos -- not necessarily of our own choosing. When that happens, you literally start with what you know -- the situation -- and then work your way through what you don't to get out of the situation. In this case, sometimes life is all about the unknown.

Sometimes, we don't even know what we don't know. And that can be a frightening predicament in and of itself. But it's good to know that even paralyzing fear can take you places, and those places can wind up being better than where you began.

When my husband of ten years left me for another woman in 2002, I had conveniently forgotten that I had once written down in my journals 12 years before that, "This man's not good for me."

I can see that girl clearly, even today. She was lying on my bed, a pen in one hand, notebook in the other, writing her thoughts down. Praying. Those were my thoughts, my prayers, my fears. But I ignored them.

Sometimes, we don't know what we don't know.

And that's why I'm glad I found that bike -- the metal one. It was propped up on its rusty kick stand over in the corner of my garage, collecting dust. In the eight years it had been housed there, I'd maybe ridden it only a handful of times. But the momment chaos came knocking on my door (in the guise of my husband's betrayal), my purple 10-speed answered. Because I was otherwise engaged with panic, fear and an anger that would take years to surface, my bike became the one thing I could count on. We met up every morning, sometimes as early as 5 a.m., for the rides that I truly believed saved my life.

The rides weren't glamourous by any stretch of the word. I mean, we're talking Huffy, not Harley. But they did the trick. They helped me release a lot of negative energy, gave me time to process feelings when no one else was around to hear my rants, and those rides led me on the path to conscious living.

That old bike became the mechanism that led me back to me.

I began to ride -- and write -- towards what I didn't know, so I could connect with what I did.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Welcome to my blog!

I'm joining the blogging world to introduce you to something I know can change your life. I speak about it to women's groups and conferences, and anyone else I get a chance to tell my story to during my travels. And because we all face some kind of challenge in our lives -- some more than others -- people relate to the story I tell that introduced me to my special BIKE. Although I know it saved me from a very traumatic divorce, don't worry, this blog isn't necessarily about divorce; it is, however, about overcoming life's obstacles. Divorce just happens to be a common one.

BIKE is a philosophy on one hand, a lifestyle choice on the other. It's about changing the way you perceive your own challenges, large or small. It's about facing them and taking responsibility. And it's especially about finding joy.

Beware! Or, be relieved. BIKE isn't about exercise. But it could be.

It did start out that way with me. Initially, my rides were bumpy, long and grueling. I wanted to turn around and go back home more often than not. But I needed those rides. And I learned to confront them, despite the falls I took along the way. The rides became metaphors for every difficult task I faced during the three-year-long ordeal that was my divorce. My special BIKE taught me to see and appreciate the strengths I had within me, naturally, to push forward. And that's what I did.

In this blog, I'm going to show you how to do the same.

I hope you'll join me.

Together, we'll learn how to ride the mental BIKE.

All my best,