Uphill and Downhill

Life is like riding a bicycle. At first you struggle to find your balance. You often fall over and need a lot of assistance. Until you get the hang of it, then the joyous freedom of riding like the wind makes us laugh with pleasure.

Once you have mastered the ability to ride a bicycle you never forget it either. Included in this experience of freedom, is the knowledge that you can still fall. My serious cycling friends divide the world of cycling in two:

  1. Those that have fallen and
  2. Those who are still going to fall.

There are basically only two reasons why we fall, either because of an accident or because we are too arrogant. The first fall is outside our circle of influence (and yes we can take precautions), the second fall is because we overestimate our influence.

In life it is the same. We have to master the art of living. In this process of finding our balance we know two things. We can taste the freedom and joy of being alive and we can anticipate that we are going to fall.

So we have the choice: Take the risk to live and feel the wind in your hair or make sure you never fall and do not get on the bike.

When we choose to get on the bike of our life, we will encounter up hills and downhills. The struggle to get to the top of the hill has burning lungs and painful muscles as part of the package.  But we know that every up hill has a downhill.

The downhill is trilling and exiting but unfortunately very short in comparison to the uphill struggle. A bit unfair, don’t you agree?

Recently I looked back after an exhilarating downhill, feeling let down after the energy intensive uphill. I realized that the secret and the challenge of optimally living, is to find the joy in the uphill.

This asks for a major mind shift (I suppose it is something like shifting gears on your bicycle). We will have to change our belief system that joy is in the pleasurable reward. We will have to start appreciating the burning lungs and tired legs. Seeing the beauty of having the power to paddle up the hill. Experiencing the engagement with reality in every breath of being present in the moment.

Suddenly the joy of freedom takes a deeper meaning. We do not have to wait for an exiting experience. We can create it in the middle of our current uphill life.

Still paddling


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