Learning: Not optional curriculum here on Earth

lisa cycle

Yep, it’s me Sept 2013

When does one push?

When does one coast?

… A long time dilemma for me as a person; I was never clear on “the rules” for succeeding at life. I would bolt or cower when it was time to step up. I would detonate when silence could have prevailed. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t a total blunder, just not a natural at life’s appropriate responses.

While out cycling the other day I became aware of how much I still learn on a daily basis when opening my mind to the possibility of an analogy. So here I am feeling strong (aka improved) on my cycle when two fellows blaze past me—effortlessly. It irritated me. I’m riding alone so I have no one to talk to. (Poor me stuck with me. For the A/B journalers among you this is two ‘A Voices’ trying to have a sensible conversation—it’ll never happen.)

Voice A (antagonist): Why are they so good? How can they be so fast? I should be doing better? What’s the matter with me? Why did I think I was improving? I should’ve stayed home. They probably think I’m pathetic. They’re glad they aren’t cycling with me. See this is exactly why you don’t join the cycling club—you’d slow down the whole group. Geez Lisa, you don’t even have the right riding gear. Maybe I need a new—better—bike. That would make me faster. Oh my gosh, I can’t even see them in the distance anymore. Go, go, go, ride home little girl where you belong.

[After some silence … Thank God]

Voice B (Love, voice of Being): That was interesting. They are better because they are stronger. They have ridden more. They have pushed harder. They did not even notice you. And if, by chance, they did they thought, “Hey a gal on her bike. Good for her getting some exercise,” nothing more. You are not on their radar. So, why the thrashing?

I realized after this brief, yet intense, dialogue that I ride my bike the same way I ride life. (“How you do one thing is how you do anything.” Who coined that?) I take it easy on the flats, pay absolutely no attention on the downhill, and struggle, with unnecessary effort exerted, on the uphill.

I never learned:

  1. I could push on the flats to get stronger. Pushing when it was flat gives me the option to ease up if necessary. There is no easing up when on a hill. My feet are clipped to my bike, easing up means falling—wiping out.
  2. I could pay attention on the downhill: enjoy the speed, the maneuverability, increase speed if I geared up, slow down and take in the scenery. Basically a downhill ride could afford me any option. The option to just enjoy. How often do I bring that into my day? Enjoy this exact moment because I can. It took recovery for me to learn gratitude. (And it is a learned skill.) To push or not to push, that is the question. This pushing or not pushing thing … it is not always an option in life.
  3. The hill … what to say about the hill? The hills of life are coming and they are continuing to come whether or not I like it … (whether or not I got sober). If I continue to get stronger on the flats and efficient on the downhill, I will handle the hills with more ease, less unnecessary resistance, less falling. Even with the lack of strength, the hills of life are what make me stronger. They are invaluable— just not while I’m on them.

I guess I’ll just enjoy all of it and keep learning. It’s not like I have a choice anyway. Learning is not optional curriculum here on Earth. How I learn, who I choose to grow with, who I choose to trust, how hard I push or resist—these are my options.

Push myself, get pushed, or get dragged through life’s lessons. The choice is mine and it always will be.

26 Responses to “Learning: Not optional curriculum here on Earth

  • What an uplifting revelation. Indeed, we keep the choice in how to learn since not learning is a painful choice. I like your options for the flats and downhills. Scenery is one of the many perks of riding through life. <3

    • Beautiful Red, Thank you for stopping by and sharing the love. “Scenery” I almost forgot to look. I have many updates to share and too many to post here. I am well. Thank you for loving me where I’m at. I am fortunate to know you—to call you friend. xxo Lisa

  • chris10452
    11 years ago

    The bike analogy is good but what I’ll be pondering is: “How I do one thing is how I do anything.” It just might be true. Holy cow!

    • Just when I think no one is paying attention to those little lines I squeeze in you notice …. AND comment. Yes, and I cannot, for the life of me, remember where I first heard this. There’s a girl I coach (who is also a coach) that taught me this. I’m going to have to call her tonight. It’s bugging me not knowing. The phrase I relate to this is: You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Anyhow, keep me posted on what you find in your ponderings. (ok, this paragraph is just poor grammar, but you understand me 🙂

  • Katherine
    11 years ago

    The thought that jumped out at me was “Push myself, get pushed, or get dragged through life’s lessons. The choice is mine and it always will be.”! This is exactly how it is! When I was drinking I was getting dragged and getting pushed and letting others do that to me and I was doing it to MYSELF! There was only VOICE A. No boundaries, no confidence or self esteem and no good could come from Voice A. I was believing what others thought of me as the truth. Not true at all. Getting sober has improved all of this! It’s the driving force to staying sober! Thanks to you teaching me the A/B journalling technique, I make better choices and react better to difficult situations and ultimately speak lovingly to myself (Voice B)! I’m so glad that you kept riding your bike at your pace and enjoying it and listened to Voice B! I love your picture! So healthy and beautiful ! 🙂
    Hugs, Katherine

    • Thank you Katherine. You know I used to be scared to tell people I still had that crazy Voice A going so strong. Now I realize we all have it bantering, some of us just don’t recognize it—yet. I’m so happy to see you taking on the tool of A/B journaling. If there was one thing I would never give, up it’s this technique for clearing my head. No more getting dragged for me. At least not today. xox Lisa

  • “If I continue to get stronger on the flats and efficient on the downhill, I will handle the hills with more ease, less unnecessary resistance, less falling. Even with the lack of strength, the hills of life are what make me stronger. They are invaluable— just not while I’m on them.” –THIS—-perfect.

  • Hello, Sporty Spice! Are you even old enough to get that reference?!? Super cute pic!

    This post has both figurative and literal meaning for me, which makes it doubly inspirational! I can’t tell you how many times I have entered a period of emotional turbulence, only to bemoan that I did not appreciate the good times when I could. Appreciating the downhill and pushing on the flats are pieces of advice of which I could be reminded daily, that’s how quick I can revert to old behavior.

    And the literal… well, I am diligently working on getting my walking time down in preparation for a 5K, and, I’m telling you, I’m using that advice next time I go out!

    This post really, really lifted my spirits today, and I was already having a pretty excellent day, thanks, as always, for your amazing wisdom!

    • I’m 49 does that qualify for Sporty Spice? You just keep on training little cutie. Exercise is the bodies way to meditate. I still have to keep the end result in mind when I head out the door (and I like exercise too). I remember once at year three of sobriety I was crying putting on my running shoes. I had made a commitment (to myself) that I would run on this particular day. It was 9 pm when my husband got home from work. He said, “don’t go then.” I tearfully sat on the kitchen floor lacing up my shoes saying, “but you don’t understand, I HAVE to … I made a promise and I can’t break my word to myself.” I think that’s the moment I decided I’d be a life coach. I finally got that I couldn’t BS myself. No matter how hard I tried—GAME OVER! (and thank God). Love ya dearly.

  • Yes nice picture! Great post xxx

  • I love reading your AB Journaling cause it resembles a LOT to mine. I am loving the process, finally :).
    Sending you LIGHT and LOVE, dear.

  • I’m so glad to know that someone else has an A/B voice in their head. How you do one thing is how you do anything…wow. Ain’t that the truth. When I’m struggling with something it’s usually a reflection on a struggle elsewhere in my life. But when I’m coasting, well that usually means that everything is in order.

    In the more literal sense of the phrase…well let’s just say that fits as well.

    I will jump around an aerobics (although it’s called “cardio” now) room for hours but ask me to get on a bike???? NFW!

    Great post Lisa…thanks.


    • How crazy is that. At your blog hitting send at the exact moment this popped on my phone. Love it.

    • ps… The great thing about growing up is that I realize we all like different activities and there isn’t a one size fits all. It makes life interesting. I would do aerobics, but only if it was the last option on Earth for exercise.

  • xnavygal9916
    11 years ago

    Addict named Jen here…Of course my disease talks to me (voice A. as you referenced), all the time. However thanks to my 12Step fellowship, a loving higher power, other addicts, the 12 steps and the principles behind them, our literature, my sponsor and sponsees and of course meetings and service work…I now have a B voice. It’s great having the tools to use my B voice (my recovery) voice when my A voice (disease of addiction) wants to coherce me into believing it. As far as having a choice today…I’m just sooo very grateful that I can say today that I no longer have a D.O.C. (drug of choice), just a “C”.!! Blessings to all.._/l_ jen.

    • Love this … I have a “choice.” It is so empowering to see that I actually have this today. I have it in every area of my life. I wouldn’t trade that for a drink …. EVER!

  • You are always insightful! Also I just love anything that relates to a good workout:-) It reminds me of my favorite quote of all time. ” If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.” Tom Hanks in A League of their own.

    • My first outlet was athletics, so it doesn’t surprise me (at all) that I’ve turned to this as my main coping mechanism. I realized, in sobriety, that I needed to get connected to Source first thing in the morning. I couldn’t wait until I hit a meeting, talked to my sponsor, my coach, exercised. I’ve learned I need to do it right when I awaken. This one small act has changed my life. It was so hard at first to commit to the meditation, now I crave it, I crave the silence and the sweet moments with Creator. Love having your optimistic energy over here. You seem like a “I see the glass half full type of gal” … lots of love for another sober day

  • Really uplifting story Lisa. Sometimes we need to slow life down and enjoy it!

    • James, I’m slow to learn this, but it’s sinking in—I think. I seem to get caught between pushing too hard and not enough. (typical alcoholic behavior) I’ll figure it out, one of these days, for now though, I’m feeling content in discovering/observing Lisa and sharing my recovery with all of you guys, as you do with me. Today’s a good day.

      Also, I seen that you have shared the posts on your site. Thank you, what an honor to be reblogged.

      Blessings my friend, Lisa

  • Wow, this is certainly one way of getting things across, especially when people like us have had problems in the past with alcohol and are making efforts to be sober, get in control and be strong.

    I can relate to the A/B thing you mentioned in the blog. I catch myself out often by thinking too much about the negatives, instead of looking at a situation, thinking about it and taking a completely different approach towards it.

    To be honest, I’m still struggling with alcohol. I mean I can go 3 or 4 days sober then be back on it again. It might only be for one evening or for some evening consecutively, but I still struggle.

    Reading this post has made me put a different slant on things, not just in terms of being sober, but in life as well.

    Thank you,


    • I am glad to hear the response you’ve typed. You made my day. Everything I share is from a place of personal experience. What I know (for sure) … if it is your intention to abstain from alcohol in this life, it will happen. Do not give up hope. Do not give up learning and growing and facing whomever is inside you. It is normal to be able to go a few days and on the 3rd or 4th break down and drink. This is the physical component of alcoholism. Your body is telling you it needs the alcohol for survival. While we know intellectually this is not true, we give into the craving. The sweet and seductive craving. Keep finding new resources you can trust. Keep looking for ways to make life (sobriety) awesome. It’s available. I have found many resources and share many to those in need. My best as you journey. You appear to be on a sincere path. Do not worry if you stumble. Just get up, dust off, and keep moving in the direction you CHOOSE for your LIFE. Lisa

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