Watching the WheelsMonday, August 01, 2011
The Self-Aware Parent
I needed movement. I felt afraid, overwhelmed, and stuck and I just needed to move.
Yoga and walking felt too slow, so I decided to jump on a spider-web covered bike from the garage and ride as far as I could on the prairie path in Elmhurst. I rode fast, but still took in the sights, sounds, and smells of a Midwestern summer.
I felt like a kid. Before all the helmets and gear, before it became a form of exercise, bikes were freedom, a way to get wherever I needed to go as fast as I could.
A few weeks ago I had a similar time-traveling experience as I roller skated with my 8-year-old daughter.
I took a turn around the rink, crossed left foot over right, and was transported to the time when roller skating meant everything to me - hours on the driveway in the spring, summer, and fall, and even in the winter on a small tiled area in the basement.
I was Kira from Xanadu or Juice Newton singing Angel of the Morning while spinning in a circle…
And here I am again at 40 on another set of wheels, feeling the same longing for freedom, wanting to move away from fear, while simultaneously realizing that fear pushed me back to this place.
The older I get the more I know that kids are the ones who have it right - they spend their time in movement, joy, and inspiration - they speak truth and they know what is real (well, they naturally do this if we allow for it, but that's another discussion….).
We adults focus on yesterday and tomorrow and we strive for goals and stuff that only leads to more striving.
We look outside for happiness while knowing deep down that happiness only comes from the inside - connection to self, trust of life, freedom of spirit, and separation from the illusion of fear.
The closer I get to getting what I always thought I wanted the more I ache to slow down, to be present; to be here now. And while this is great in theory, it's a big shift in thinking when my whole life I've been striving, educating, working toward something…
And I think this is why fear comes in. Not to make my life miserable, but to push me back to this child-like place. To get me back on my bike and skates so I can remember what is real. Because once I remember what is real, the fear begins to slip away.
Like this afternoon when I peddled down a steep hill, put my head back, and let go of the handle bars for a moment.
I could have been cruising down 2nd Street in my hometown of DeKalb; the feeling was so comforting and familiar. And as I felt the wind on my face a song from childhood played in my head.
And for the first time in my life, I understood what this songwriter, this teacher, was trying to say.