Come Home to Self

Gaining a new awareness while on a long bike ride this weekend, 50 miles in 100+ temperature, venturing over hills where there were narrow bike lanes and no cell reception. Ingredients for some possible rough outcomes I surmised. Much was telling me that I needed to listen deeply within and come home to self.  Then I got lost, separated from my group, had sports asthma and could not get the heat out of my body.

Yes, I got scared, yes, I scolded myself for not being better prepared, for missing a turn and probably upsetting the group I started the ride with earlier that day.  But alas, I was in the foothills above Napa Valley, a bicycling destination for the unwary.

With sheep bleating in the distance and cars flying by, I wheeled on, passing creeks gushing with bubbly water, gliding under trees grown just to protect me from a daunting overhead sun. I enjoyed the time to listen to my soul whisper encouragement.

I have heard it said that ‘home’ is in the belly, where we feel most grounded; on that ride my ‘home’ was in my breathing. It lightened the tension in my body, brought me calm …  the in/out flow of air that revives weary muscles. Riding creates breezes that anoint my soul. I heard voices, some suggesting that I turn around, some asking where is the rest of my group, especially the sag wagon my husband was driving! But I also heard whispers say “you are strong, not broken, keep rolling”.

It was a flip of a coin from time to time, whether to stop or continue. I could not rest in the dry grass because of allergies, I could and did ask for ice at a garage, then put it in my clothes. I added the rest to my small sunbathed bike bottles, letting it melt into drinking water.

Time was on my side as I closed in on the last hill, to peak and then discover what became the thrill of the day, a 7-mile downhill on perfectly smooth asphalt @ 50 miles per hour, enough to get me closer to my destination and back in flow of riding with my group.

It was a worrisome experience, taxing to anyone who tackled these hills on a hot dusty day in July. Then we reunited, boisterously celebrating back at the group leader’s home. Rejoicing with chat about the next ride, delicious foods, welcomed showers and lots of water to gulp.

The body does rise to challenges when we let it. People who create ‘bucket lists’ to increase thrills in life sometimes miss the thrill of adventure that is all around, every day. We only need to take the time to let nature stream over the top of us like the ice that melted under my helmet and tickled my back …. Nature abundantly provides.


May all that is unforgiven in you be released

May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities

May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future, graced with love

                                    John O”Donohue