Last week, I went biking outside for the first time this season. I’d been taking spin classes (indoor cycling) all winter and believed that this would prepare me for a local park’s “big hill”.
This hill has been a metaphor for me for the past 7 years. When I first bought my bike and started riding by myself, I would pedal up the hill and as it got tough tell myself that this moment is never harder than all the crazy shizzle I was going through (divorce, major weight loss, health issues, career transitions, financial entanglements, plus!).
The hill itself is not a straight up– it curves and bends and twists like knotted vines. There’s no way to see when the end is near and just when you think you’ve reached the top through all the huffing and puffing on the bike, you realize you have another bend to navigate. So much like my life then and now.
This past week as I started up the hill, I realized my spin class was no match for this challenge. During the first stretch I stopped. I couldn’t do it. I called to my biking partner to come back and meet me where I was.
He assured me it was okay to stop and we could tackle the hill once we had a few more bike trips under our belt this season.
Immediately, I looked at him and said no. I could do it — I wasn’t ready to give up even though my body was pleading in the background through my gaspy breath.
It took me 2 mini-rests to gather myself all the way up the hill. And I realized that in this moment— taking time to breath and gather myself was exactly what I needed to meet this challenge. How I had tackled the hill in the past — didn’t matter. I didn’t need to repeat what I had done then to be successful now.
When I was almost to the top, I saw a small snake in the middle of my path. Immediately it occurred to me that I had made my fear of not making it to the top of the hill a HUGE fear—- when in reality, it wasn’t as big as my mind believed and what it wanted me to believe.
We don’t have to believe all our thoughts. Especially when they are wrapped up by the seduction of our fears— bullying us so deceptively because our fears know how to create a cocktail of stories and emotion that will keep us stuck on the middle of the hill.
Only we know what is best for us in the moment. Living life using the past as a guidepost or the future as a milestone robs us of being us in the present.
So today, ask yourself– what’s your hill? There’s some really great insight that your present self wants to share with you– all you need to do is ask.