Does it count as aerobic exercise if my heart races over 200bpm while flying down a single-track trail over rocks and roots and leaves?
When I did this last Saturday on the Tsali Thompson Loop trail, I think that I forgot to breathe. It was mid-day, but the cool air was trapped in the canyon into which we rode. As I gripped the handlebars, my knuckles went white with fear of falling. Grrr... why is this so hard for me?
Mid-way through the ride, we began to ascend. Up and up and up. I stood on my pedals and got into 'granny gear' to grunt my way up the rocky path. Sweat poured down my back and my breathing slowed, actually, as I lightly and gracefully used the handlebars for slight balance adjustments. Ahhh.... it's a beautiful day!
I reflect on how different I feel when I am descending (frightened, self-absorbed, trying to "do it all" myself, focused on *steering* the bike over gnarly objects) from ascending (strong, self-assured, looking out at the scenery, challenged, accepting the bumps along the way by bending my knees). I wonder if this is about "being in control" and my discomfort when I am "not," duh. It is just too obvious about how the more frightened I become, the more dangerous I make my situation.
I have a hunch this mirrors my current "not in control" constellation of unknowns in my life - my discernment path, my temporary job, my short term internship at a parish, my unfinished board certification chaplaincy paperwork. I am emotionally much better when I reframe it all - towards the inner strength to continue: the challenge of climbing up, the sense of call that I feel no matter what the Bishop or COM might discern, how I believe that my short 11 weeks at United Way will make a difference in agency funding, how deeply I love the internship parish and know that they will be there when my assignment is completed.
In this moment, my. heart. beats. In showing up to this moment, I choose to see the dark aspects and in this moment, to ride like the wind. Thank you for joining me on this pathway.
Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. Psalm 44:18