What It Means to Change…
Today I have beautiful blue skies here in Colorado.
Yesterday I rode my bicycle up a canyon I haven’t been up for over 40 years. It was well before my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis over 32 years ago. The ride was one of the more spectacular ones I’ve been on, even over three decades of riding. The weather was perfect for a ride, blue skies, clear air, and very little traffic on the road. It was a perfect setting to revisit some powerful memories.
I’ve written of some of those memories here, but it was pretty powerful to be back in the setting I dreamt about when my body was collapsing with what I didn’t know at the time were the first of many symptoms of MS. Heck, I didn’t even know what the disease was back then. Today I am intimately more familiar with my body in ways I couldn’t have imagined back then and as an athlete, I felt like I knew my body.
The ride yesterday was emotionally overwhelming for me because I found myself on the same road I would dream about riding on all those years ago when I was afraid I was dying. Even though I was just off racing bicycles, I couldn’t sit up because of the painful spinal headache they created with one of the tests they were running to try to figure out why my body was devolving daily with new losses in sensation.
Those daydreams of riding my bicycle in the canyons kept me going in the face of some pretty scary thoughts.
The canyon ride yesterday was a form of closure for me. Looking back on all the things I’ve done since I last rode up this canyon, I could say definitively I successfully moved through many life challenges and have become a pretty amazing person. Although I’ve hit lots of hurdles and tripped more times than I can remember, I’ve become a better person than I would have been able to imagine all those years ago.
Many aspects of success were based on material kinds of things and today they seem pretty superficial as to how I once defined myself. Much of that could be tied to youth.
As I ran through some of the more impactful experiences I’ve had, many of them were quite painful. But those were the experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today. They are the experiences that I’m most proud of. Who I am today is a direct result of those difficult experiences that I somehow found my way through.
As you look at whatever circumstances you’d like to change for yourself today, ask yourself what are the outcomes you want. How can you stretch differently to be more of who you want to be? What painful experiences have you had recently that can lead you to make shifts in who you want to be tomorrow?