Biking, being on a bike, free wheeling, saddle sailing… has always been a sanctuary for me throughout my life. From growing up riding my bike through the neighbourhood, to commuting around my home city, to an incredible biking adventure along the Loire Valley, to traversing the country roads of the Sunny South East, and finally to being the proud owner on an electric bike in Baja Sur, winning myself the sweet free winds of independence.
I feel confident, safe and in control on a bike. At peace on two wheels, wind in my hair. There is something so incredibly alive and invigorating about riding a bicycle; you have to be so present and aware in your surroundings, the vehicles, the people, the terrain, the weather, connected, plugged in. Truly present, and oh when you become that aware, the world around you? it fills and touches your senses, you see things, incredible natural things, sharing in its beauty and abundance as you sail through its enormously stretching landscape, holding you within its embrace, fragile yet buoyant on two wheels. The ride is always exhilarating, Its effort endlessly worth it, embraced and at peace come the end of each and every journey.
In one slow motion split second, when eyes grow wide, and realisation hits, there is nothing I can do to stop a collision. Wondering is this it, is this the end? What will happen to me? Calm deafening silence but for the sheer force of impact, the slapping thwack of my body onto tarmac. Black. Panic rises, terrified to move. Am I still here, can I feel my body? I wait. Slowly I lift my head, hyper aware, people begin to gather. They talk but I can’t listen. I feel numb, disconnected and voiceless, the event carries on around me. The harsh reality rushes back into my being and I gasp. A familiar face, tender caring eyes as hands fly up to face in shock, tears and sobs spring up from below. I surrender to being cared for by those around, my fight falls away, I need tenderness and I allow it in.
Perched on the sidewalk, memories of childhood spills, swim, muddle and mingle with my foggy emotional state, and I am once again a girl in the playground. I feel exhausted and helpless, I pick myself up to standing and begin to try and come back into my body. I am tense, my body feels rigid and I am gently vibrating from the trauma of what has just occured. I am vulnerable and open.
As the weeks follow I feel as though something has changed. I search for what it is, I scan my inner scape and attempt to pick up and hold what is dear to me, I let it go, and question, what it is that is different. What are my truths, now? I get back on my bike, I swing my leg over her saddle and settle into my seat, and I am vulnerable again, my heart races, the road brings many anxieties, my eyes go wide again and my heart is in my throat. I scream internally PLEASE SEE ME, PLEASE SEE ME. It subsides and I stretch to reach for peace.
I miss what my journeys once brought me. It makes my heart ache a little. Day after day, I get back on her, and continue my quest for peace on the road again, and it will take time, I acknowledge that some days are better than others. I practice my breath in the wind as I sail down the motorway, and I have a deep knowing it will return. I too recognise it may look different inside, but I know I will again feel freedom on two wheels.
As I try to draw from this experience and current process, I realise this is not only applicable to a traumatic event, this is the type of tenderness and kindness I can afford myself within other life experiences, be them good or bad. It is no different. I can give myself just as much care and understanding in any life situation. A soft, gentle kindness.
To place feet forward and try again, to expose ourselves to who we are inside, and realise there is an ocean of who we are to explore, to dive deep and uncover treasures we bury so deeply, to free them to the surface, and breathe life into them. To show the world with shining eyes a true spirit, and not let the fear of the journey stop us from setting course toward it.