Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We are strong enough to hurt ourselves

Last weekend I was reminded about how ignorant I can be. Hear me out, I'm not just being hard on myself; rather, I'm reflecting on the consequences that come from ignorance, hardening, and competing.

I spent last weekend developing a relationship with the ProjectSPACE bicycle and, incidentally, myself. I have been training by doing long distance rides to various places. Last Saturday, I rode all day through the rain, and I was reminded of a time I had gone hiking with my yoga instructors and fellow trainees in India. Our destination: a Shiva holy place called Mani Mahesh some 4500 meters high.

We hiked all day from a 120 degree sunny morning to an eventual crisp and dark snowy chill.

In the beginning of the hike, I did what I knew best: get tough, quick, and in my own head. I was strong. Strong enough to hurt myself. And that's nearly what I did.

I started off the hike too fast, too hard, and ahead of the group. I was heavy headed, and it was one wrong step that nearly cost me my life. Looking down on the road instead of ahead where I was walking, I stepped on a wet rock which took my feet from beneath me and left me hanging from the cliff. My hiking stick fell into rapid waters below. It was one of those "movie moments" where you look down, see the water destroy the tool you were just using as a walking guide, and you know that if you also fall, then you die. All because you were so strong. Strong enough to hurt yourself.

Luckily, my friend and my instructor ran up to pull me off the cliff and back onto the road. I don't know if they saved my life, but I'm glad I didn't have to hang off the cliff any longer to wait and find out.

My greatest challenge in training for the ProjectSPACE tour has not been the physical element, as you may imagine. Instead, the greatest challenge in training has been the mental element. The mind is a powerful thing and, when you are biking for 8 hours making the same motions over-and-over, it can be difficult to conserve your mental energy and to stay soft and smart.

Last weekend I was not riding very mindfully through the rain and my tire caught a patch of ice which took my bike from underneath me and left me flying into a puddle.

The handle bars were twisted sideways. I was laying in a puddle soaking wet.

And I laughed hysterically. I laughed because I was reminded of how ignorant I can be; how I am strong enough to hurt myself.

I am working on training the mind. I am developing a relationship with my bicycle and, incidentally, myself.

54 days until departure!

Long, endless ascends

Inviting woods

From my hike to Mani Mahesh in Himachal Pradesh, India

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