If we consider life to be a journey, we know that the course of it can produce challenges especially on the turns. You may feel that you need to be cautious, so you coast not wanting to go too fast or collide with some misfortune. Of course, going slow and being cautious are not wrong approaches, but when carefully chosen at the right moment, the option to go fast and furious on the turn in the road can prove to be a dramatic gesture of confidence that can catapult you forward and ahead of limited thinking about possibilities. I discovered all of this on my morning bike ride as I began to resume one of my normal activities that ceased on March 18th, 2020 with the start of the coronavirus pandemic response.
With the COVID 19 crisis looming over the three months that followed, I had not been riding my bicycle so I decided to break back into a routine by doing laps in the tree-lined outdoor circle pathway behind my apartment building. In an effort to build up stamina and endurance, I began with three laps and graduated to ten. The repetition opened me up to ponder some valuable insights that I now relish. as a tribute to the co-mingling of reason and the realities of physics and the natural world. Connecting with this practice gave me a life lesson about balance; affirming that the tension between the downward pull of gravity and uprightness of determination and will is proof of a deep source of resilience and strength.
The more I rode the course, the more I studied the inclines and turns which were more challenging than the straightaways. I noticed my initial tendency to slow down whenever I approached a curve in the path; hence, I started to coast instead of peddle. The more I did the course, the more ease I felt and suddenly I decided to peddle on the turns. As I repeated this pattern over and over again, I started to appreciate the value of making progress while others might do as I did earlier; namely, slow down and play it safe. Keeping my balance while speeding up was another issue, but I learned how to do that too with repetition. My familiarity with the course inspired me to accelerate, especially on turns. This led me to formulate the following COVID 19-specific life management advice that I would like to share.
Although many things seem on “hold” and COVID 19, as a formidable symbol of a turn in the road, can make us feel stuck and stalled when it comes to living our lives; you might find that this is a perfect time to advance and enrich your life. “Peddling” on the turns means rather than “coasting” and needlessly slowing down, you lean into ‘turn’ moving forward with power. Let’s take a look at that picture:
Coasting: Overeating; binge watching television; over sleeping; neglecting responsibilities; letting laundry or bills pile up without seeking opportunities to take action; drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs to “chill-out;” not exercising or being attentive to the passage of time; engaging in an array of compulsive behaviors from gambling to excessive online shopping; failing to keep up with health related activities and making doctor’s appointments, etc.
Peddling: Learning a new language or a special work related skill; lowering your cholesterol; starting an exercise routine; renewing your interest in a hobby or creative practice; volunteering; sending cards or letters to friends and family; baking bread; sewing masks; journaling; creating menus for nutritious meals; reading self-help or entertaining fiction, paying down debt ( if you can); taking up a new hobby such as singing or playing an instrument; starting to write a book or memoir; studying your family tree; or discovering the history and/or points of interest in your community.
Peddling may not be for everyone, and there is no harm in occasionally coasting. Perhaps the message is to keep moving forward while keeping your balance. Every life journey is different and connecting with your best choices seems to offer a stunning reward, even on the twists and turns.