Some of you may remember when I was writing the newsletters for the yoga studio I use to own.  There was one particular issue where I detailed a mountain bike ride I had with my husband.  If you don’t remember it, it was basically a story of my fear, lack of skill, and really FEAR about mountain biking.  And, in that account my husband had me come along, and I made it through and learned a process of letting go to enjoy the ride.

Well, that has been many moons ago, and I went on my second ever trail ride with my husband yesterday.  EVERYTHING in that passage still rang true.  I was still terrified of every root, every bump and every steep decline.  It was still hard for me to “let go” in that way.  For my husband and many others out there it is not.  As he shouted back at me during mile 2 [after I had fallen down in the dirt once and been stopped on every rough hill and kept yelling, “I can’t!  OUCH!”] he threw my blog post from yesterday back at me.  He shouted “Find the beauty”.  Touche’ Mr. King.  I promptly responded back with just as much smart-a** sarcasm, “You find the beauty.  This is not my beauty.”

But, hey, in the end it was fun.  We had fun together, and I tried to enjoy something that he really loves.  And, we got an awesome workout in the process.  AND, what I learned during yesterday’s ride is that there was beauty in that ride for me.  While it is still a lesson in letting go, now in my life the lesson was more embracing my handicaps.  Helen Keller said, “I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, and my God.”  The beauty in that ride for me was understanding what my handicaps are and being just fine with them.  I am not a risk taker on the trail.  It’s okay if I would rather hop off my bike and push it up the hill that is covered in tree roots and sharp curve that immediately throws you down a steep hill.  My mind tells me “STOP!  You are going to die!”.  While that is probably a little dramatic, it is a true feeling for me.  And that is okay.  Struggling is okay, because it means you are pushing yourself beyond comfortable limits and that is where growth starts.  By continuing to pedal even through fear and discomfort, I embraced my handicaps.  What I do know is that I am an endurance athlete.  Give me a 2 hour vinyasa or a long slow 13.1 miles, and I am a happy camper.  My husband kept asking me if I needed a break.  I said “no, keep going, the long stretches are the only part I enjoy”!

So, there is my beauty.  Just as I mentioned yesterday, Rolf Gates says “dharma is a gift from God inscribed upon the heart”.  Our practice is the inhale that helps us prepare.  The result, the exhale, is the manifestation of all that preparation.  And that doesn’t come without the bumps and the uphill.  So the beauty is the struggling up the hill, the resistance to the practice, the fear of the unknown.  The beauty is in our handicaps, because they make us who we are and they show us the possibility for growth and the light at the end of the trail.  I know I will always struggle with those trail rides, but they will always shine light on my true talents and initiate growth either physically or mentally.

So, today I thank God for my handicaps, because without them I would never know where my talents lie and how to reach my full potential.  I know my husband is reading this.  And, I know he thinks he “got me” with that “find your beauty, Jessica. ha, ha, ha”.  But, Mr. King, I have once again turned lemons in to lemonade, and I know that makes you crazy.  But, I also know you are smiling right now 🙂  Thank you for showing me my handicaps, because it is with you I find myself, I find my work, and I find my God.