The Zen of Motorbike Lessons
I have always enjoyed motor bikes, well sitting on the back of them anyway. I travelled across Australia on one, I recently did the Mae Hong Son loop in Thailand on one and my husband and I often go for Sunday rides. I know it’s not for everyone but I go into a ‘space’ on the back of a bike and enjoy the proximity of it – to my husband, the road and the environs. Well one day I just happened to mention to said husband, “I wonder what it would be like to actually ride the bike on my own”. Before you know it he had purchased a cheap (so if I damaged it, it wouldn’t matter) bike and I was off to the Big Pineapple car park for lessons with him. I can tell you it has been quite a journey and although I haven’t got my license yet, I am learning quite a lot about myself. The top 5 things I have learned while learning to ride a motor bike.
- Your mind can be a powerful ally or a powerful enemy – Seriously my mind was going ape shit with revolting scenarios which all ended with me hurt or dead! It was literally doing my head in and wasn’t helping at all with my confidence when on the bike. I had to consciously re-route these thoughts into ones that would support me. Not surprisingly when I did manage to override the pessimist pain and visualize myself riding well and safely it made all the difference. How many times in your life have you let your mind run riot over rational, practical and optimistic thinking? Does worrying actually help -at all?! And if our thoughts create our reality then boy I was headed for a spectacular send of. Do you need to be making friends with your mind and quietening the enemy there?
- On the other side of fear is excitement – When I moved past the fear and allowed myself to relax I discovered that I was actually really excited about doing this. That a whole new world, skills and adventure was opening up not only for me, but for my husband and I as a couple. So often we allow our fear to stop us from trying new things, or meeting new people, or discovering new things about ourselves – but oh my gosh the possibilites when you step through the fear to the other side are not only endless but bloody exciting. Don’t stagnate in the fear quagmire – find the excitement in new situations instead.
- Sometimes trusting yourself is harder than trusting others – So easy for me to just sit on the back and put my life in my husband’s hands. I trust him on so many levels that placing my safety with him was a piece of cake. Besides it meant no responsibility on my behalf, I could just relax and enjoy. I actually said to him after one lesson ‘I don’t trust myself, or my ability’. Well doesn’t that say something! After I realized what I was putting out there my inner warrior stepped up and She was fierce. There was no way she was going to take the easy road, no way she was going to allow me to wash my hands, no way she was going to let me get off with that gem of a put down. If we cannot trust ourselves what right do we have to place it on another? If I cannot trust myself to ride this bike and well, then I shouldn’t be on it. It makes you wonder where else in life you have abandoned your faith in yourself and have given that gift to another.
- Every new skill takes patience and practice so be kind to yourself – I have never actually driven a bike, it is a completely new skill set for me and I found myself getting frustrated and impatient. I gave myself a verbal beating or two in the process. Again it didn’t help, only sprinkled a little stress on the situation. So I took a breath, centred, recognized that it is like learning to drive, or walk, or use a new program, or be a parent, or try a new sport – you have to start somewhere and you just need to keep going, step by baby step. I have learned to be my own little motor bike cheer squad. If you are learning something new then relax, find a sense of humour, celebrate the small steps and look at the big picture. You will only be a learner for so long before you are an expert….
- Going slow is harder than going fast! – really it is, well I found on the bike anyway. When you are cruising all is good. When you have to slow right down and juggle the clutch, brake, throttle, blinkers, corners and speed it becomes somewhat overwhelming. Besides if you slow down too much you either stop or as I did once – fall over (pretty funny actually). It makes me wonder if we often speed through life so we don’t have to take care of or look at the little things, the important things? That maybe we aren’t all that comfortable with slowing down, spending time alone, afraid we might fall and never get up? But really we can’t go fast for ever. Eventually life is going to throw a corner, or stop sign, or other people in the way or traffic lights and you need to know how to navigate the pauses. It is an important skill and even thought it may seem overwhelming at the time, it means you can take a breath and check out the scenery.
Every time I have a practice I am getting more confident, more comfortable, more excited about getting out and about on my own. I know I have some hurdles to overcome but I also know that when I master them I am going to be so damn proud of myself. I will be zenning out and enjoying the ride. So if you see me about, make sure you toot!