I rode over 350 miles on a bike from Buffalo to Albany surrounded by friendly, but unfamiliar faces. The absence of the support of a close friend forced me to befriend belief in my ability to face this challenge on my own. Months have passed since that spark of desire ignited a flame that burned past the fears of leaving the security of the familiar. Gears are still shifting.
I wake, shower, eat breakfast and move into the day. On the outside, it appears as if nothing has changed. And this is true of many things. Stability of routine has always provided comfort. Conversations with friends about the bike trip seem to lead to the same question: “Was it fun?” This is not a simple question to answer. I usually start my reply with: “I’m glad I did it…” and then stumble on from there with details about some part of the trip, like rain and mud and hills and the tent city and food and people. But I never include that it was “fun”.
The deeper feelings about the trip are harder to express. It has taken many weeks to decipher the subtle changes in behaviors and feelings. I’ve noticed that despite my love of routines, I feel freer to explore when unexpected opportunities arise or new interests beckon. My fear of not living up to rigid standards of appearance or conduct has softened. I appreciate what ‘is’ more easily instead of obsessing about what ‘should be’. Growing faith in my reliable inner voice turns down the volume on censoring doubts. I have greater acceptance of my body that persevered and performed beyond expectations. I feel more balanced in making choices between playing it safe or venturing into the unknown-as essential as that required to remain poised upon two thin tires. And most of all, old currents of unrest feel more settled. I am done running from fear, anger, and frustrations at home. I rode through many challenges-physical, mental and emotional-to make it back home, the place I want to be, even when the going gets rough. My sense of personal power, like the muscles in my body, grew stronger with use. Perhaps the finish line actually represents new beginnings…
New adventures await in a landscape of possibilities!