I’m always searching for metaphors and symbolism. It’s my brain’s favorite game. Maybe it is just mumbo-jumbo meaning-making for the sake of meaning-making. But it makes pain and challenges easier for me to grapple with. So of course, when I rode over my own foot cycling—my brain got to churnin’ while my foot got to hurtin’.
How many times have my plans been thwarted because I ran over my own damn metaphoric foot? How often have I blamed the metaphoric bike rather than accepting responsibility for my own self-destructive, mindless behaviors? And in those moments—how many times did I just give up riding altogether rather than taking time to check in with myself, practice some mindful self-care, and adjust the way I’m riding the bike of life?
The answer is-- more times than I can count. Yet going through this experience allowed me to see that I’ve grown. In the past, I would have cursed myself and forced myself to hobble into work, likely causing more damage and prolonging my pain. Instead, I immediately told myself how sorry I was for causing myself pain. I then called for help and allowed myself to rest and heal. These are wins in my book.
What came up was how difficult it is for me to be the care-receiver rather than the caregiver. And how difficult it is for me to allow myself a full day of rest. But I did it anyway and am better for it. I believe the universe creates situations like these to remind us if we don’t intentionally create moments for care-receiving and rest, she will create those moments for us. And I got the message LOUD AND CLEAR.
We live in a society that teaches us that if we're not suffering we're not working hard enough. And despite actively resisting that mindset and the lifestyle that comes with it, these moments reveal to me that I've tied my self-worth to how independent and achievement-oriented I can be. I choose to use these moments to untangle myself from those poisonous threads. We're all social creatures designed to both give and receive care and rest is a necessity, not a luxury.
My hope by sharing these insights is that it'll encourage you all, my fellow cyclers of life, to remember to treat yourself gently too. We all have times when we get in our own way and cause our own suffering. But we can meet ourselves with compassion, lean on our loved ones, rest, heal, and then get back on the saddle with a little more presence and a lot more love.
P.S. For those interested I used ice, elevation, a heating pad, arnica, turmeric, comfrey and Kelli Frances’s incredible tissue-healing herbal salve and went from barely able to walk on Monday to being painlessly back on my bike by Thursday!