Yesterday we went for a bicycle ride through the outskirts of downtown Boulder. It was one of those picture-perfect crisp autumn days filled with clear cool mountain air, bright sunshine and Nature at her finest. The paved bike path meanders through city and wooded park areas, back and forth over Boulder Creek and up and down small hills at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
The last flaming colors of autumn had fallen and were covered with touches of snow still remaining from Friday morning’s passing storm. The first ice of winter was desperately clinging to the rocks as it tried to form a crust on the top of the flowing waters. I felt at one with the Universe, blissfully happy with the day, my life and grateful to live in such a beautiful place.
As I was riding, I couldn’t help but think back to bike rides as a young girl, before we had things like multiple speeds and gears. I remember what a big deal it was to get my first 10-speed when I was 14 years old. Remember how big hills used to seem when you had to stand up on your bike to keep moving? Now we just push a little button, move a chain over to another sprocket and continue pedaling.
With Koda running by our side, we rode up and down undeterred by the hills in front or behind us.
It wasn’t until we were in the car heading back home that I had a realization. You probably know by now that I think almost everything relates metaphorically to my life. In the car on our way home, we were at the base of a very large hill and my first thought was downshift quickly! Although my husband was driving our car, in my mind I was still on my bike. It struck me how I was dealing with and preparing for the situation as if I were on autopilot.
Just like when a mountain appears on the road in our life, do we pull over with frustration, or just downshift and keep going? I strive to be like my 21-speed bike. I have speeds that I travel on flat, safe and predictable places in my life. I also have brakes for the downhill treks when life comes racing at me too fast. And most importantly, I have gears for the uphill times so that I can keep going.
Instead of pulling over when a mountain looms in the distance, downshifting gears and slowing down a bit allows me to cross obstacles in my path. Sometimes I travel uphill more slowly than I’d like. But, if I just keep on pushing one pedal after the next, I am soon zooming down the other side, wind blowing through my hair, with a big grin on my face.
Life will always have its ups and downs. We get to choose if we will pull over and get off the path, or just keep on riding. Even if we fall off we can get back on. We only lose when we stop pedaling.