Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Calm That Comes

If you knew that you could handle whatever came your way, would you give your fears a rest?
Are you longing to find out what you're capable of?
That's what's on the other end of finding out.
When you actually show up to what's right in front of you, fear is a split-second reaction.
A gasp from a car rushing by, a squeal from a fly in your mouth.
Not a worry, not a what-if, not a maybe.
A real and rare sensation.
A thrill, followed by sigh or cry or laugh.

I've been pushed to find out what I'm made of.
And I've discovered that I am fearless.
No possibility is beyond my ability to cope.
Being in the moment.
Being with what's right in front of me.
Getting out of my own way.
Showing up.
Feeling my soul step into my skin.
Feeling my power.
Feeling my presence.
There is nothing I cannot be with.
Even discomfort.
Even inconvenience.
Even heartbreak.
Even death.

Here I am--wanting power, wanting adventure, wanting aliveness, wanting to truly know myself and my limitlessness.
What I'm really asking for, when I declare these wantings, is the other side of the pendulum--
The dark side of fulfillment.
The doubt, the coldest days of winter, the very things I care most about stripped right out of reach.
The answer to this question:

When do I stop wanting real life?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Wish I Could Sleep in Every Capitol on our Trip!

This past weekend I was in Chicago for a convention. My place of birth was only 3 hours away--the glorious Madison, Wisconsin--home of the most recent occupied capitol. I was there for 10 hours from 8:30pm to 6:30am on Monday/Tuesday. It was truly an inspiring sight.

Please read more about my time there here:

Rachael and I are going to be in Madison for two weeks this summer. There I stood in the capitol thinking, "it would be awesome to stay here in May too." Then I thought, "wouldn't it be awesome if people took these types of actions around the country to stop the attack on the working class?" Then we would experience revolt around the country! Wisconsinites have shown the way. Now let the revolt in other states begin! Maybe we will be able to be part of this on our trip and have a free place to sleep in a capitol near you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Turning the Social Structure Upside Down

These past couple of weeks I was glued to Al Jazeera as we all watched the Egyptian Revolution unfold and the inspiring actions that accompanied it. I went to at least 6 solidarity protest over the course of 3 weeks to stand with the Egyptian people and their demand for democracy. I have been an activist since my college days and it has always been a part of my day to day and it is going to be a extremely hard not to have it in my day to day for 8 months.

Since I see the world through the lens of social changes and social conflicts I'm trying to take a look at this bike trip through that lens. You could argue that our bike trip is a revolution on a personal level much like the Egyptian revolution. We are challenging the status quo of what a normal married couple is suppose to do and turning the social structure of a relationship upside down (in a personal way of course). Obviously this won't really do much to affect the larger social structure, but it is none the less a step I need to take personally. You can see this among the Egyptian people and how they are starting to take control of their own society.

It is no doubt that this trip is only the tip of the iceberg of what is possible. Throughout the trip we are going to meet people who are struggling and fighting back and I look forward to speaking to those people and writing about their experiences and how we are all connected.

As they always say it's one struggle, one fight. To all my activist friends, while I'm on the road for 8 months keep up the fight and so will I.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Excitement vs. Fear

So we leave in less than two months. Holy crap! I have been feeling so many things recently. Today Rach and I outlined our route on the map we have in our bedroom and I felt a huge pit in my stomach. Now I will be looking at this map every day until we leave!

What am I leaving behind? What am I looking forward to?

These are two questions I feel that I am grappling with everyday. Sometimes I feel like I am trading in a good pair of shoes for an unknown pair with the possibility of no pair at all.

What am I leaving behind?
-An awesome house and community
-Doing activism on a regular basis
-Playing in a band with my best friends
-Going to a coffee shop and knowing a lot of people there
-Biking through a city I know
-A bike community where I know the people in it
-And so much more

What am I looking forward to?
-Working on Pine Ridge American Indian Reservation
-Taking a bike mechanic class in Portland
-Adventure every day
-Meeting new people
-Seeing family
-Unfamiliar territory

The big thing that I am leaving is a comfortable happy life for a big hole with no knowledge of what is at the end of it all. This can both be frightening and exciting. Ever since we decided to do this I have been on the side of excitement but I think the fear is starting to sink in. To me the actual riding seems so easy compared to the emotional strain that I will be feeling as my whole life will be shifted for 8 months! And I'm already starting to feel that emotional strain.

This next month and half I need to sit in this zone and become familiar and comfortable in the unknown, it's so easy to say rather than do. Basically I just need to be present now and spend as much time doing the things that bring me joy and the people that make me happy until I leave. I guess I should stop writing about it and just do it :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to Train Your Big Fuckin' Fears to Honor Your Big Fuckin' Dreams

Fear hangs around because it thinks you need it in order to be safe.

It's sweet, really. And sometimes it's right. Sometimes fear is the intuitive trigger upon which you decide not to do something that could be hugely dangerous. But sometimes even hugely dangerous things are critical for your life, and you cannot proceed in integrity without doing what scares the shit out of you. When you're called to jump the 5 foot gap, because embodying your best self depends on it, train your fear to sit, lay down and roll over. 

Become the boss, the alpha dog, the Master. A kind and loving Master that gives treats for obedience, sure... But a Master, nonetheless. Hold the leash to your fear. Why?

Be in charge of your fear or your fear will be in charge of you.

I was getting pretty good at carrying around a hefty load of fear regarding our bike trip. Maybe if I lug it around, it'll make me nice & strong, and I can toss out the need for training, or planning, or doing anything helpful at all! I can just *will* my fear away! ... Not exactly.  

Lugging around Big Fuckin' Fears is exhausting. Like screaming at or ignoring an untrained dog. Your passion depletes. Your m.o. becomes duck or dive. You forget what it means to LOVE. You forget that you ever wanted the damn thing in the first place. You stop trying and you just make do. Uht-oh. 

Let's get back to loving, shall we? Cause we all know doing something hugely transformative is no fun when you're just making do the whole way through.

What's the biggest dream on your horizon? You know the one. Declare it. Then list your top 10 fears about it.  

I'll go first. My big dream is to go on a safe, adventurous and life-changing 8-month bicycle adventure with the love of my life. And my fears?

I'll get badly injured, one of us will get hit by a truck and killed, I'll get really lonely and miss all my friends, I'll let Brian down by having competing needs, Brian & I will never have sex or fun because we'll be so tired and uncomfortable all the time, I'll want to quit for 100 different reasons, I'll never be able to poop, I'll become totally jaded and unhappy, I'll get really sick, I will feel like I am too weak or not enough in 100 different ways.

Fun, ey? Heavy, right? Impossible to train? Nope.

Thank god for Kate Courageous (my a-mazing life coach) who came up with a simple, rock-star strategy for managing my fears. First, she let me sit with them for about 3 weeks. Then, she told me to write a 3-step action plan of what you'll do in the event that each of these fears come true.

Por ejemplo...

If I get badly injured... Brian will call 911 for an ambulance, we'll go to the hospital and get treatment, then we'll openly reassess what to do next (go on or not go on) based on doc recommendations and intuitive prowess.


If I feel like I am too weak or not enough in 100 different ways... I will spend 2 minutes in rapid self-appreciation, cry or call a friend if I need to, then get up and keep going because I am not too weak. I am powerful & good enough & courageous & imperfect & full of inspirational strength.

Zip, zap, zop! Buh-bye all-controlling fear. We've introduced Strategy the Fear Fizzler. Is the fear still there? Sure. But it's following it's Master who knows which lawns to piss on and which to avoid, what to do about the barking pug, and how to open the front door.

Your dreams are too big to be bullied by fear. Hold the leash. Be the Master. You know what to do. The tail will wag, and you'll return home safe and stronger.

Then, we'll toast to courage together. Hell yes.