I dreamt that I was riding a bike. The town was new to me, the road was foreign. And I was faintly aware that I was not familiar with this whole “bike riding” thing.
But I rode anyway.
As the roads went up steep hills, I was only aware of the tension and burning in my thighs. It didn’t hurt, and I didn’t have the thought of walking the bike up the hill instead. I was just aware and steady, my attention to it like a mindful parent: encouraging, calm, focused, and invested in this uphill-ness.
As the hills went down, I picked up speed and recognized I had no brakes and I quickly realized my expectations of controlling this thing was a joke. But instinctively, I shifted, leaned forward, and found that I could slow things down by leaning heavier, pressing my feet into the pedals themselves. And I marveled at it, just slightly. Like a “Huh. I’m not totally screwed after all.”
The corners were sharp, and often on the downgrade, but I found I flew around them with grace and ease. Aware of the cars or pedestrians or bikers around me, but without paying attention to them.
My mind was only on my body, the feel of my legs, the wind wrapping around me.
Once I got distracted (by a woman with a badass mandala tattoo, I might add) and found myself nearly tangled in the road with a handful of others. But I simply shifted back to myself and found my way easily around the traffic. And once I noticed a middle age man doing some pretty wicked tricks with his own bike. This was about the only time I really connected with another person, as I laughed and admired his Tony Hawk-ness. Celebrating with him, in a way.
What struck me most about this dream was my inattention to the Outside World, and my mindfulness on my own experience. I was fully present in my own body, in my own sensations. My mind wasn’t wandering, wasn’t worrying how I looked as I slowly pedaled up those hills, didn’t feel less awesome than the trickster flipping his ride like a pro, didn’t take it personally or get wrapped up in the traffic jam, but just was simply present in myself.
It came with its “ups and downs, twists and turns”. It challenged me but I didn’t get lost in my ideas of being challenged (“I’m not good enough. This is hard. I’ll never make it.“). I didn’t worry about “the road ahead” either.
I simply stayed present to my body, my movements, without judging them. And I found myself traveling just fine.
In real life?
I would’ve hopped off that bike at the first sign of even a tiny hill, and complained as I walked it the entire way up.
I would’ve panicked on the way down, likely wiping out (or walked it down as well).
I would’ve done everything in my power to slow down, stop, and avoid the sharp turns, including mapping out my entire route ahead of time to ensure nothing out of my control might happen, and quite possibly not even getting on the bike in the first place.
I wouldn’t have even noticed the badass tattoo, too absorbed in my own BS to pay attention.
If I found myself in a traffic jam, I would be frustrated that I didn’t foresee it, embarrassed that I couldn’t avoid it, profusely apologetic for being a part of it (possibly under the assumption that I may have somehow caused it – because it’s always about me right?), and I would’ve been self-conscious as I tried to move on from it.
And I would’ve seen the flips and tricks, then heard my thoughts criticize for not being able to do the same thing (even though I’d likely have done everything in my power to avoid such risky business in the first place).
And I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed the ride.
(Care to continue this thread with me? Join in on the Sisterhood.)