You know the old saying that once learned, you never forget how to ride a bicycle? It’s not true – and it is.
I just spent 20 minutes sitting on my bike, which I used frequently until an unsuccessful knee surgery last October, trying to remember how to ride. Or at least trying to convince my body it knew how.
I had to raise the seat really high to give myself room for a less painful revolution, so my knee wouldn’t bend more than absolutely necessary. I started by pedaling backwards, hanging on to the wall and getting a feel for going around and around. My body instinctively contorted to move away from the pain as my knee bent at the hardest point in the revolution – expecting pain, anticipating trouble. To my surprise, it hurt less than I thought it would.
“Okay, not bad,” I told myself. “Now slow it down and see where the pain is. See if I can get past it.” I went round and round, slowly, adjusting myself on the seat, changing my foot position, breathing and relaxing. Anything to make it feel easier, less painful, and more balanced.
It got better. But as long as I focused on the pain, it was still there.
“Screw it, just go fast,” my taskmaster side came through. “Who cares what it looks like, just push through. If it hurts, it hurts – it won’t kill you.” I felt sufficiently beat up and pedaled faster. Still in reverse, still going nowhere.
Time to let go of the wall. I looked down the driveway out to the court. I couldn’t’ let go of that damn wall. My mind was freaking out, sounding like a five year old just learning to ride – I’m going to fall, it’s too high. It’s too far. I can’t do it. It’s going to hurt. I was SCARED. I flashed on the first time I rode a bike. My parents let go and I went straight into a barbed wire fence.
Right behind Fear came Logic. Don’t be ridiculous! Just go as far as the shady part. Look – all the mailboxes are tall enough to grab for balance. If you go that way you can land on the grass if you fall. All these thoughts back and forth –fear telling me to stay, logic telling me to go. Neither one moved me forward.
But I could feel something stronger rising from the very center of me. That force – a thing inside that wants to push through no matter what – that has no thought, no words. It took over and I was off. I pushed down with my “Bad” knee and pedaled away. Easy. Didn’t hurt. It was NO BIG DEAL. I glided out of the court, turned around and came back to the garage. I stopped and jumped off the seat – from that high, scary, unbalanced place – just like I jumped off my bike without thinking so many times before.
With both feet firmly on the concrete I lifted my hands from the handlebar. They were shaking. I DID it!
I jumped on that bike this morning spontaneously and without a plan. And until then I didn’t realize how scared I’ve been about pushing myself not only physically but creatively – how many old fears were running around my head in deeply worn ruts that have no basis in truth.
The mind can convince us, through thoughts that lead to emotions – that we are incapable of being and doing more. That we must protect ourselves from pain. That we must not stand too tall in the world lest we fall and make a fool of ourselves.
But the deep knowing of intuition – that driving force of the higher, wiser Self in us all – is always there if we let it be. It never forgets. It is always right. And it will always move us further and faster if we just let go.