I woke up this morning determined to sneak in a bike ride before church. I did not have a large window of time and the skies were already overcast, but I wanted to ride. Just as I was nearing my turn-around point, the inevitable downpour started and I got drenched. After about 5 miles of pedaling though a soaking rain I came to an intersection where another rider was tucked under an overhang keeping himself and his very cool bike dry.
“You are not going let a little rain ruin your ride, are you?” I called out. “I was just asking myself the same thing,” he replied.
Now this is Florida, in late May; there is virtually no chance of getting too cold even if you are soaking wet. The biggest inconveniences of riding in the rain at this temperature are the needle pricks on your exposed skin and the necessity to wash and dry your bike when you are done.
I rode away, water spraying off my wheels, feeling bit sorry for the guy.
Many years ago, when preparing for the birth of my son, I read an impassioned plea to mothers-to-be to birth their children without drugs. The author argued that the birth of your child was something that you really want to experience wholly and completely. As it happens, physical pain is part of that experience, as it is part of life, but if you can be open and accepting, you can get through it while being completely present. I have no idea where I read it and I’m sure the author said it much better than I have paraphrased but it has stuck with me all this time.
So often our fear of discomfort, inconvenience or pain keeps us from doing what we want to do. Instead of leaning in, we close ourselves off to our experiences. It seems once we start avoiding, we just can’t stop. It’s too cold, too hot, too wet, too crowded, too late, too early, too risky, too something to really fully live our lives.
If you are struggling today, take off the blinders, ignore your fear and take in the whole situation. Whatever your feelings are, they are part of the experience.
When faced with a choice to leave ourselves open to possible or even probable discomfort or failure, our objective should not be to avoid pain, but to experience the whole of our lives. You are so much stronger and more resilient than you think.
“And when you get the chance – I hope you’ll dance!”