[These excerpts are from CYCLING in the CITY — How I Got My Confidence Back, Book 2 in the Burnout to Bliss series. Book 2 is about a first step in recovery after intense burnout. (For that story, please see Book 1, BURNOUT — How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith.)
Book 2, CYCLING in the CITY, was designed to be a guide for anyone wanting to make any kind of change in her life. “Part One: Cycling in the City” is my story, sharing the process of making a huge personal change — healing myself and reclaiming my confidence and self-esteem. “Part Two: Thoughts About Making Changes” explains why making change is so difficult; it addresses the different kinds of changes we make, the mental games we play, and the essential key for success. The book is $1.99 for a limited time. Buy it here.]
One of Catherine’s work buddies, the “soils man,” took me for a bike ride along the American River, 23 miles!
It was hot that day, and he wanted to go skinny dipping. He seemed miffed when I didn’t jump off the rock after him into that clear water. First he was playful with his comments. But then he taunted me, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to go skinny dipping with a complete stranger.
I wondered why he thought I would! We’d only met recently at their company picnic. This was our first time together alone. Is it just me?
But I wasn’t angry, just surprised. That and the fact my attention lay elsewhere. I had an incredibly sore bottom! All I could really think about in that moment was my private parts. I was thinking about that gel seat in Purgatory, wishing I had bought it for my bike when I was still working. I was pondering the question, “How long does it take to toughen up labia? Or is that even possible?”
Clearly, we were not on the same page. His mind was on enjoying the situation, a well-deserved swim after a ride.
My mind was focused on my bicycle program. I was congratulating myself for not whining and for doing my best to keep pace. I was celebrating the fact that he stopped in a beautiful setting so I could chill and admire it. I was so happy he wanted to swim so I could sit by myself for a while. We didn’t have anything in common, and conversation on the drive had been challenging.
I was so into what I was doing that I couldn’t be bothered by a strange guy’s expectations.
I never heard from him again. (So who noticed?)
And writing about that in my journal made me realize that a huge healing had taken place in the self-respect goal. I was feeling stronger by the day! I was more concerned about me and what I liked or didn’t like than pleasing anyone else.
The previous year, I had spent so much energy being concerned about relationships with males – what they thought about me, whether or not they liked me, and what I should do to get their approval.
But from that ride with the devilishly handsome and debonair “soils man,” I had just proven to myself that I was no longer fixated on finding a relationship! Instead, that interest now ranked way below my program of cycling in the city!
I had actually gotten my self-esteem back from riding!
My program was working! And not only in getting my chops back for cycling! My psyche was being healed, too!
And my body was looking fine. I was attuned to my muscles and recognized when they needed to stretch. And I found it easier to smile. But somehow I knew the big test was just around the corner, because that’s how it happens. As soon as I think I’ve got something figured out, the Universe sends me a big test to make sure.
The test showed up on another ride when I stopped at a convenience store and met a retired military guy. We talked a while, and he said he’d take me on a trail that started near Catherine’s house in Carmichael and went all the way to downtown Sacramento.
The trail ran along the river and ended up in Old Town. It was 35 miles round trip!
When we parted that afternoon at the convenience store in my neighborhood, he referred me to other riders. He said he couldn’t waste time riding with a beginner anymore. He needed “to ride long and hard.” He liked to ride up to 100 miles a day.
I thanked him for his time and for the most excellent ride. And I wished him well, thinking, Good for you, dude!
That experience certainly offered a different perspective about my “accomplishment” of the day – that I had kept up with him – but it didn’t diminish it.
That I could be happy for him without in any way down-playing my own accomplishment showed me that I was “getting even better” emotionally.
What I had accomplished in terms of cycling was huge for me, and I wouldn’t let him belittle that with his comment about what was good for him. Tralala! But at the same time, I could genuinely feel happy for him and his accomplishments and goals.
Hello, self-confidence! Hello, self-esteem!
You’re rocking now, Pammi! Go, girl!
I continued to cycle in the city daily, unless it was raining. Then I’d continue my study of A Course in Miracles in my nest in the garage, read novels, or write letters. I wrote really long ones, and no one got the same letter! In fact, writing a few friends each day could easily take up the entire day.
After a month of cycling, I had built up to a 20-30 mile daily ride – by myself! By that time, I no longer needed to have my rides mapped out. I no longer felt geeky wearing the helmet. I no longer cared what other people thought about me! My attention was on myself and my recovery.
My “cycling in the city” program changed my life dramatically. By mid-October, about two months into my program, I was biking those longer distances with confidence! If I was riding in heavy traffic and someone got too close, I’d let them know either with sign language or a tweet from the whistle dangling around my neck.
I was no longer afraid of the city. This city was mine!
Cycling in the city not only gave me my body back, it restored my confidence and self-esteem!
Coming up next: chapters from Part Two, CYCLING in the CITY.
In Progress: Book 3, Burnout to Bliss Series:
Book 3 relates my story of “surrender” — trusting that my life is in Divine Order. It is the final story of a two-year journey with one modest paycheck and no plans that was launched with BURNOUT. The first getaway from that extreme situation was to a “sanctuary” in California as related in Book 2, CYCLING in the CITY. That getaway apparently was offered by the Universe simply as a respite to heal myself enough to take the next step.
The real story of “surrender” began when that sanctuary was no longer available and I became like The Fool (Tarot card), jumping off a cliff with a tiny knapsack and a little dog for company…
Want to be with the first to know when Book 3 is available?
Click the BURNOUT TO BLISS tab on the far right at the top of the page and scroll down, and then follow the directions OR simply click the link below:
Till next time, please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi