Truly Alive, Fully Awake

In February of this year, I began a new habit of working out on the bike trainer, which is down in our sun room.  It was late afternoon on a Sunday and I was in the midst of my second workout on the bike.  It was brutal.  I felt sluggish.  I decided that I might not be able to maintain the speed and cadence that I wanted, but I was going to finish the hour, as I’d planned.

Because I was feeling sluggish, I was a little down.  Maybe I hadn’t really re-gained my inner athlete; the athlete that I knew myself to be but still felt like I had somewhat lost because of the illness.  As I pedaled, my iTunes playlist cued up Eye of the Tiger.  I began to pedal a little harder.  Images of lying in bed for months flashed in my mind.  The playlist clicked to Gonna Fly Now, the theme song to Rocky.  A new image replaced the old ones: the image of me pedaling my way up the final stretch of Vail Pass.  My eyes began to blur with the emotion I felt.

I kept pedaling.  Hard.  The next song started, Daughtry’s, What About Now?  As I listened to the lyrics, “What about now?  What about today?  What if you are making me all that I was meant to be?” I had a clear flash of what was immensely important to me: reclaiming that inner athlete, the athlete that I know myself to be.  Becoming stronger than I’ve ever been.  Becoming my best self.  It was more important than all of the little distractions and the petty worries that I had.  The next song was Kelly Clarkson’s, Stronger, and then, as I realized I was past my hour and had worked harder than I had in years, it was Beyonce’s, Halo, that ended my ride.  I sat on my bike slumped over the handlebars, spent but energized, and cried.   I looked up and saw the sun setting behind the mountains, dazzling in its beauty, and I felt like I was truly alive, fully awake.

I knew that something important had shifted for me.  The days following that ride, my energy continued to build and things started happening.  My workouts were strong.  I saw more beauty in my surroundings.  I felt more connected.  And . . . happy.

That day on the bike, when I had such a clear vision of what was immensely important to me, I tapped into a core value that became an intrinsic motivator, which is a building block of change.