When does one push?
When does one coast?
… A long time dilemma for me as a person; I was never clear on “the rules” for succeeding at life. I would bolt or cower when it was time to step up. I would detonate when silence could have prevailed. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t a total blunder, just not a natural at life’s appropriate responses.
While out cycling the other day I became aware of how much I still learn on a daily basis when opening my mind to the possibility of an analogy. So here I am feeling strong (aka improved) on my cycle when two fellows blaze past me—effortlessly. It irritated me. I’m riding alone so I have no one to talk to. (Poor me stuck with me. For the A/B journalers among you this is two ‘A Voices’ trying to have a sensible conversation—it’ll never happen.)
Voice A (antagonist): Why are they so good? How can they be so fast? I should be doing better? What’s the matter with me? Why did I think I was improving? I should’ve stayed home. They probably think I’m pathetic. They’re glad they aren’t cycling with me. See this is exactly why you don’t join the cycling club—you’d slow down the whole group. Geez Lisa, you don’t even have the right riding gear. Maybe I need a new—better—bike. That would make me faster. Oh my gosh, I can’t even see them in the distance anymore. Go, go, go, ride home little girl where you belong.
[After some silence … Thank God]
Voice B (Love, voice of Being): That was interesting. They are better because they are stronger. They have ridden more. They have pushed harder. They did not even notice you. And if, by chance, they did they thought, “Hey a gal on her bike. Good for her getting some exercise,” nothing more. You are not on their radar. So, why the thrashing?
I realized after this brief, yet intense, dialogue that I ride my bike the same way I ride life. (“How you do one thing is how you do anything.” Who coined that?) I take it easy on the flats, pay absolutely no attention on the downhill, and struggle, with unnecessary effort exerted, on the uphill.
I never learned:
- I could push on the flats to get stronger. Pushing when it was flat gives me the option to ease up if necessary. There is no easing up when on a hill. My feet are clipped to my bike, easing up means falling—wiping out.
- I could pay attention on the downhill: enjoy the speed, the maneuverability, increase speed if I geared up, slow down and take in the scenery. Basically a downhill ride could afford me any option. The option to just enjoy. How often do I bring that into my day? Enjoy this exact moment because I can. It took recovery for me to learn gratitude. (And it is a learned skill.) To push or not to push, that is the question. This pushing or not pushing thing … it is not always an option in life.
- The hill … what to say about the hill? The hills of life are coming and they are continuing to come whether or not I like it … (whether or not I got sober). If I continue to get stronger on the flats and efficient on the downhill, I will handle the hills with more ease, less unnecessary resistance, less falling. Even with the lack of strength, the hills of life are what make me stronger. They are invaluable— just not while I’m on them.
I guess I’ll just enjoy all of it and keep learning. It’s not like I have a choice anyway. Learning is not optional curriculum here on Earth. How I learn, who I choose to grow with, who I choose to trust, how hard I push or resist—these are my options.
Push myself, get pushed, or get dragged through life’s lessons. The choice is mine and it always will be.