If you’ve ever been on a bicycle this quote kinda sounds like a no brainer, if you stop pedaling you WILL fall. But it also holds true once you step off of the bike and into any other aspect of your life. Whether you call it balance, passion, grit or hustle… it is fueled by your commitment to keep on moving once YOU stop… it slows down and potentially even stops. But once you stick with it and keep moving it picks up momentum and before you know it you are coasting at 40+ mph enjoying the ride…and once you get at taste of THAT, you honestly can’t go back… that’s where you want to live.
Why am I comparing riding a bike to life? I just got back from completing my 5th AIDS LifeCycle ride, an amazing charity ride supporting the SF AIDS Foundation. I’ve struggled with assigning words to capture the physical, emotional, spiritual experiences I had. It was exhilarating and it was painful. It was empowering and it was defeating. It was lonely and it was sociable. It was experiencing life in its fullest. And that’s why I came back home with a serious case of the blues. I just spent 7 days on a bicycle, pedaling 545 miles down the coast of California surrounded by 2500 people and countless strangers cheering from the side of the road… some of them had lost their sons or daughters or significant others to HIV/AIDS and watching us ride gave them a sense of peace, the memories live on. Together WE raised over 16million dollars this year, when I first shared that with a stranger at a restaurant in Santa Cruz, I felt a surge of emotion… a feeling of connection to something greater than me.
When I crossed the finish line I broke down into tears not because I was exhausted or tired but because I finished it.
I wondered over the years of doing this ride why I come back feeling empty after doing something so invigorating. This year it hit me… my years of studying optimal well-being, positive psychology, and mindfulness collided with my world of cycling. I have strived to live a life of purpose and passion, and it takes work. But, for those 7 days I’m truly living with passion and purpose and although I’m working, it feels effortless. Mind blown… And I’m sure there are still more mental explosions to occur as I continue to unpack this and reconcile my experiences.
Over the course of 7 days I experienced the following:
- Having clear purpose
- Completing something every day
- Being surrounded by supportive people cheering me on
- Falling down and getting back up
- Staying committed to the ultimate goal
- Taking risks and overcoming fears
- Approach challenges as opportunities for growth
- Trusting the process
- Being of selfless service
With all of these qualities present at the same time, strangers became friends and fears turned into growth. I got a taste of flow once again and it tasted real real good. I was hustling everyday whether that meant waking up early to get out of camp before others, or pedaling faster. I was gritty and resilient, the winds, falls, or heat were not going to stop me. I was exuding compassion and embracing my emotions. At times I screamed with fear and other times with joy. I was mindful of my place on this universe and humbled by the force of nature. And with all of that I felt extremely alive.
These qualities are left only as theory until they are experienced. Once experienced they are not forgotten, rather waiting patiently to be cultivated.
Although this was my 5th year riding, this year was transformational. Now that I’ve crawled out of my post ride cave I’m enthused to cultivate the planted seeds.
Now I want to hear from you! What keeps you living life in the flow? Post to comments…