Words 2 Live By…..
This was me at age three. By age 4 or 5 I had out grown my tricycle and moved on to a two-wheeling “big boy bike”….with training wheels. I remember waking up Christmas morning and excitedly running out to the family room to see a sparkling new grey two-wheeler with shiny white rims. Attached were training wheels….it was mere days before those were taken off.
At the time, we lived in Windemere Apartments. Soon after getting comfortable with my new bike, my dad took me around the corner to the huge cement basketball court. Time to take off the training wheels and learn to ride!
Excited but scared of falling, I hesitantly agreed. Dad modified my bike, Transformer-style, from a four to a two-wheeler. The plan was for me to peddle as he pushed from behind. “Don’t let go!” I urged, picking up speed. “OK” he assured me.
As I circled the court and saw dad standing in front of me with a huge smile on his face, I became simultaneously thrilled and worried. I was riding alone! Out of fear, my natural instinct was to freeze. I stopped peddling and tipped over like Humpty Dumpty. Splat! It didn’t take me but one or two more tries before I got the hang of it. I was a natural! Zoom…. Zoom!
The last time I road a bike was in 8th grade. That was over 15 years ago. Since then, my increased oxygen needs have made it impossible to ride a bike while lugging heavy canisters. Would I ever be able to ride a bike again? I clung to the idea of strengthening my lung capacity to the point where I didn’t need oxygen, even for 20 minutes. In the back of my mind I knew I had to accept that being oxygen dependent meant some activities were simply out of bounds for me.
This past summer the most incredible opportunity presented itself! I was relaxing on the beach in San Diego, not a care in the world, when my cell phone ring broke my Yogi-like trance. “Get up to the condo and be ready to go!” my dad urged. He sounded excited. I felt something big in the works!
As my parents and I jumped in the car, they took turns telling me they had found for me the perfect short-distance vehicle! An electric bicycle! An E-bike is basically a regular bycicle (2 or 3 wheels) hooked up to a motor that allows you to go without peddling. We arrived at Surf Monkey Bikes and discussed my oxygen needs with the owner. Ten minutes later, we had sketched out an idea to build two oxygen carrying shafts in back of a electric three-wheeler. I was thrilled at the prospect of experiencing independent travel: to feel like a “regular” person.
About a month later, after the store had received the parts and built the rack to hold the battery and oxygen tanks, my parents drove me to the shop to pick it up. At a high-speed rate of 25 mph, the three wheeler looks and feels like a tricycle and a rocket ship had a baby.
I arrived back at the beach, eager to test out my new wheels. Taking it slow at first, I eventually got my bearings and picked up speed, rocketing down the boardwalk with the wind in my hair. I felt free.
I also felt relief that I could finally join my family and friends on outings. “Hey, we’re riding our bikes to the breakfast joint/park/friends house nearby. We’ll be back soon.”
Hey, now! Let me hop on my E-bike and join the party!
My new E-bike gives me Freedom. Mobility. Fresh Air.
Now I can be one of the gang. Now I can feel “normal.”
“Make more decisions in every day. Because a decision is a summoning of life. That’s why a little chaos is good for you, because often you don’t make a decision until you get yourself in a jam. And then, in the middle of the jam, you make a decision and that decision summons Life Force. Have you ever been a place where you couldn’t quite make up your mind and you just felt sort of limp? ‘Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.’ And then you decided, and you felt alive again…So, make a decision. Let it flow.”
– Abraham Hicks
In my last post, I discussed having confidence. But to be sure of one’s self, we need to know who that “self” is.
Nowadays everyone goes, goes, goes so fast. We grasp at answers without fully understanding the question. Websites, Twitter, Facebook, Blog pages, photo sharing sites; life moves so fast. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of making ourselves known that we lose sight of who we really are.
The 17th century French author François Duc de La Rochefoucauld said,
“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.”
When we don’t have a firm grasp on what makes us unique individuals, our identity; we miss out on opportunities to build productive lives. If we want to live life to the fullest we must understand what it is we seek to get out of it. You must “know yourself.”
I believe it takes having gone through challenges and struggles to get to the point where we contemplate our deepest sense of self. Who Am I? Where is my place in this world?
There came a point in my life when I realized that being a joyous person meant stop feeling sorry for myself. When we compare ourselves to others, trying to duplicate their lifestyle and choices, we fail to understand our potential to become amazing, unique individuals.
So take time to sit in silent reflection. Become aware of your thoughts and actions and how they affect your life.
I think it is in our nature to feel important. To feel valued. If I want love and acceptance from others, I need to send love into the world. Treasure relationships. Share joy. The energy you put out into the world will come back to you 10 fold.