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reSLience… a.k.a. resilience

it's what lies within that really matters


There are some things you never forget. Riding a bike is most certainly one of them. It is a life-long skill and best learned when you are young. Teaching someone how to ride a bike also seems like a life-long skill. Both riding and teaching bicycles are metaphors for life. You encounter things about yourself you never knew when you begin to ride, and then, when you try to teach someone else you encounter things you never expected.

Metaphor 1: Balance is a lot like keeping everything steady and on an even-keel in life. When you first take off, you have to learn how to keep yourself steady. It seems almost impossible. Concentrating on moving your feet to push the pedals, steering the bicycle the right direction. Come to a turn – sharp or otherwise – and look out – balance becomes an advanced skill!

Teaching someone else to balance is similar – and yet the trick is being in tune enough with them to know when to let go. When does the rider have the feel, the balance intuitively, that you know as a spotter that you can let go safely and they will ride off perfectly balanced independently?

I find myself thinking about that intuitive need to balance and how it relates to my own life. Some days as I start off slow, or up a hill, or have to come to a screetching hault, my balance may falter a bit. If I’m relying on someone else for my balance, I must be in tune with them – and vice versa. I have to be independent, but not too independent.

Metaphor 2: Self-Reliance and moving toward a goal. Riding a bike finds you providing the power to propel you forward. Other than gravity on a hill, the bike requires you to move it forward. If you push hard, it goes fast. If you slow your pedaling, you slow your travel. You learn to rely on yourself and know that even if you might have some help, from the wind, from the hill, from gravity moving you along… ultimately you are the one making things go. Isn’t this true about life? No one else can power your legs to move you faster. No one else can really make you go a speed you do not want to go. And ultimately, where you end up on your bike is where you set out to go in the beginning. Goal setting and achievements in life are a lot like that as well. You have to plan where you are going. If you don’t plan, you have to be ok with where you end up and be ready to plan for where you are going next.

I’m excited Noah has deciding bike riding is his thing. It will serve him so well – physically, emotionally, even spiritually. Alone time, pedaling, breathing in cool crisp morning air can be spiritual.

I always felt the downfall of my physically fit state was when I got a car. Relying on my bike to get me where I needed to go in college did limit my geographic boundaries but it also kept me in the best shape I had ever been in.

I look forward to getting reaquainted with my mountain bike. Noah was surprised I still remembered how to ride it and could keep up with him (heehee – I’m not THAT old!). And, I look forward to getting the rest of my family mobile. For now, Noah is left to ride with either D or I… but I can picture all of us in the near future. We will be quite the gang pedaling down the street. Will that mean the serenity of a ride will be lost if my entire noisy crew becomes mobile? I’ll keep you posted. I may change my bike riding/life philosophies if that is the case.

Enjoy your Friday! Save some fuel and pedal somewhere.

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