Somehow, the act of sitting down with yourself with the willingness to simply be with yourself as you are, whether you show up in your most brilliant or puniest form, relaxes the inner critic or whatever stands behind our oppressive self-criticism and incessant efforts to improve ourselves. Meditation says, “I don’t care if you are the most excellent person of all time or the most absurd- I love you. Right now.” This is the love that most of us have never received. Surprisingly, it doesn’t look like affection or approval. It looks like companionship. If you’ve ever wished for a friend who would love you as you are, appreciate your genius, and make space for your foibles, welcome you when you’re funny and shiny and when you’re a complete mess- well, I can introduce you to this person. Rather, your meditation practice can. He or she has been there the whole time. You are the one you’ve been waiting for as they say. ~ Susan Piver “An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation”
I’ve been fighting a battle I’m never going to win. My intentions have been pure, always with my heartsong in mind, but the barriers I face (and always have) are bigger than my greatest efforts. Resistance is futile, as they say, and what goes up eventually crashes to the ground. Looking back, I never even had a chance. So I’m here now, picking up the pieces of what appears to be an endless war. And it is just that- a war. As always, just when I’m about to give up and give in, the intelligence and gifts I’ve been given rise to the occasion. This will be with me until my dying day, and it’s a constant struggle to stay afloat. But I will.
Because I have to.
Getting back to the bike isn’t as simple as I want it to be. There are things that need to rise above pedaling on the list of personal priorities. I need to find the courage to be myself. I need to find that mindful awareness and find new ways to embrace this life I’ve been given and this body my spirit has chosen to live in. You might think all this seems a bit hokey, but when you have two doors and you’re at the end of the line, you have to pick one or the other. My alternative isn’t the greatest place and it’s rather dark and maybe not worth the trouble. Actually, trouble is exactly what lies behind THAT door. The other door isn’t a walk in the park, but I know I deserve everything I will receive when I’ve put in the work. And fuck, there’s so much work to be done.
The thing I used to love the most about bike racing and training was experiencing my mind and body being present at the same place at the same time. This synergy is SO POWERFUL, and a lot of the reason I kept coming back. In learning about meditation and working to make this a part of my life, I’ve realized just how similar the two are. The “white noise” I often made reference to is my own personal form of meditation. My hope is to get back to it soon, but my mind is tired and my body can’t work without my mind. For now, I’m left to break down the walls and build them up in a way that’s more sustainable in all conditions. My wall just couldn’t weather the storm anymore.
Part of getting back to a “normal” existence is accepting that I’m not normal. I process things differently and I really just need to be more compassionate towards myself. Much of my upbringing and life experiences have molded me into this, and a lot of it was passed through conception. In short, I have to choose whether to carry it on my back willingly, or drag it across the earth shackled to my feet. I’ve done both, and I think it would benefit me the most to choose the latter. And I simply cannot allow fear to guide me through the wrong door.
Be kind to yourself. Rest. Recharge. Remember what was positive from the past. Take the good and restructure your future. All is not lost, and the sun will come up tomorrow just as it always does. Whatever you do, don’t give up.
“Sports may be a patient’s entire raison d’être. Don’t just tell somebody, ‘Hey, maybe you’d be better off not being involved in sports.’ Consider the athletic temperament of how they define themselves. Don’t just put sport involvement on the shelf.”~ Dr. Antonia Baum, George Washington University Medical Center Department of Psychiatry