It’s been two weeks or so now since I was in Sedona for my first Sourced(™) Retreat. The day after we completed our retreat may have been my personal favorite transformation.
On that day I was the self-proclaimed MIP (Most Improved Player) as a mountain biker! What does this mean you may wonder? Well it’s pretty simple – I didn’t fall… or cry… once!
And I actually discovered the REASON I didn’t!
And it’s called letting go.
As a little back story, I got my first very own mountain bike last Christmas. Kimmi put a bow on it and gave it to me early, just in time for a little planned getaway to Sedona. I was very excited to be able to accompany her on rides – her favorite thing to do – but also quite nervous. I am not someone who gravitates toward death-defying physical challenges.
I had a great time on that first ride. I also fell, and cried, and fell again.
And the crying didn’t have to do with the falling, really. It had to do with my fear.
Since that first ride on my first bike (Gertrude) I have gone on several rides with Kimmi. Some are better than others. One last month had me falling and crying like never before!
Fast forward to this month in Sedona where the falling and crying came to an end.
Being the perpetual coach (and having coach Kimmi by my side) I asked myself what it was that made the difference.
First – it didn’t hurt that I had ridden this trail before and lived.
On a side note, we are working with our retreat leader clients about how to sell transformation and it is not dissimilar. The first time we lead someone to the edge of their own transformation and offer them a solution, we don’t know how it is going to go. We may mess it up. We don’t know our own limits, the trail or the bike. (With the trail and the bike being our tools and the other person).
We may hang up the phone and cry. And that is OK. Because we lived. And when I failed at my first marriage and lived I knew I could survive failing. This knowledge, surprisingly, brought me so much confidence!
So ride the trail, fail at it, and fall and cry if you have to. And then do it again.
Second – and this is the big one – I actually learned to let go on this ride. And when I discovered this secret I could suddenly see why most of my prior rides had ended in tears!
So picture it. I start on the trail, determined to have the most fun ever. Yet toward the very start of the trail was one of its biggest challenges. We needed to cross a main road, and on either side of the road was a ditch. The GIANT dip ‘paved’ with large rocks, I quickly remembered how terrified I was to ride over it the first time. I walked one side of this obstacle, but was determined to ride the other.
As I walked my bike across side one I was already feeling discouraged because I’d ‘given up’ before I started. And as I challenged myself to ride the other side, I held my breath and held on. I made it! But I wasn’t very excited about it because my body was filled with fear. (Tension, adrenaline, cortisol, etc.)
I continued to ride and while I was ‘doing it’ I noticed I wasn’t very happy. The fear from that initial experience was still with me, so I was riding with the feeling of being braced for impact. The next challenge came in the form of some tight curves with high banks on the outside. I was able to ride them pretty smoothly, but put my foot out once or twice to stabilize. Again this made me feel fear, and also a little bit of critical self talk that I wasn’t able to navigate this better.
Now I’m riding and holding on to the energy I felt from my interaction the giant ditches and rocks, AND from the tight curves. And I’m now moving on to roots and hill climbs! With all of that energy of fear coming with me!
And suddenly I got it. I simply needed to let go.
I COULD choose to take the energy of the past experiences with me, letting my past ‘failures’ feel like evidence that I would fail again, and bracing myself for the pain of the next challenge that reminded me of the last one, or I could let it go.
My dog, Monty, who is now 14 and lies around like a champ, used to be pretty high strung. He would get a whiff of another dog and his hackles would go up and he’d bark warningly. Yet as soon as it was over he would shake, letting that energy go, and he’d be prancing like a deer once again.
It was like that.
Of course this makes perfect sense to me as a coach who holds space for people to release their past ideas about who they are to create a clean canvas on which to create. But I had never thought about this for biking!
As I began to practice this letting go process, visually and energetically detaching myself from the last obstacle that had caused up fear, releasing it fully into the rear view, I became free!
Each new challenge was just that – NEW. I could approach it however I chose, and it may or may not have seemed scary, and either way it didn’t matter because when it was done I would move on. Truly.
I suddenly recognized (don’t you love those lightbulb moments?) that ALL of the source of my crying on past rides (and maybe even the source of some of the falling) was that I had allowed each ‘scary’ encounter on the bike to build up in my system as evidence of future hazards to come. I wasn’t reacting each moment to what was, I was instead bringing forward all the pain of past failure and projecting it on to each moment. After an hour of this, OF COURSE my system became overwhelmed and I began to cry. The energy needed to go somewhere!
So I’m curious, how might this experience relate to you and where you are right now?
Are you traveling a new path for the first time, and wanting to do it right — unwilling to fail and learn your way to new awareness? This can be paralyzing!
Or are you continuing down a path you’ve been down before, with greater awareness? And if so, are you holding on to the past experience in order to protect you from the fear that may lie ahead, or are you letting that go — going in with a clean slate of loving presence?
This is true freedom. And we love us some freedom, right?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Go ahead and share over on our Facebook page.