For the last seven or eight years I have enjoyed a recreational activity that gives me exercise and satisfies my longing to be in nature. When I Mountain Bike I feel exhilarated, refreshed and proud of myself. Putting on my biking clothes, oiling my bike and riding down the street are the beginning of a ritual that has evolved over time. Within 10 minutes I am immersed in nature on the trails of Mt Tam. After all these years I know them pretty well. As I am riding I enjoy the wildlife, the majestic redwoods, the flowing streams, and am transported to a different world that allows me the opportunity to leave behind all of my worldly concerns. As part of this ritual I end my ride at the health food store and enjoy a healthy drink.
On this day I ran into my young friend Bobby. Bobby is an avid rider who rides his bike daily to the college but isn’t that familiar with some of the trails on the mountain. I offered to show him some of my favorites. But soon after we set a date for our ride I started thinking about what trails I could show him that would be challenging enough for him but not too challenging for me. I was concerned because I knew Bobby had a lot more energy than me and I would be stretched out of my comfort zone.
A few days later we started on our ride. In the beginning we rode on a familiar trail that was part of my usual loop. And then I knew it was time to leave my comfort zone and ride higher. As I looked up I knew that it was going to be more difficult than what I was used to and I wondered if I could do it. I estimated the incline to be 25-30 degrees at its steepest.
“Each morning is like being reborn. I get another chance to be the best me I can be.” — anonymous
It’s amazing how changing our thinking changes our experience of almost everything. Let me share with you my thought process that changed my thinking. I knew that the steepest part of the climb was in the beginning. As I started climbing my focus shifted from the top of the ridge and how difficult the climb might be to what was immediately in front of me. And what is amazing is that in the 2 or 3 yards in front of me I did not notice any degree of slope even though I knew there had to be some.
As I continued the climb in this manner I was able to maintain my energy and when I looked ahead I was almost at the top of the ridge .
Because I was able to climb higher than before I was able to see things for the first time. The view had always been there but I had never noticed it. As I experienced the panaramic view from each higher ridge I felt the interconnectedness of my surroundings.
An interconnectedness that was always there even if you didn’t see it. As I reached the pinnacle I was able to see for miles in every direction. Were it not for my change in thinking and sense of adventure I would have stopped miles ago and would not have experienced this view from the mountain. Perhaps the biggest regret that people have is that they didn’t risk enough. Certainly that had been true for me.
“You have to move up to another level of thinking, which is true for me and everybody else. Everybody has to learn to think differently, bigger, to be open to possibilities.” — Oprah Winfrey
And that’s the way our lives are.
As we expand our belief in self we expand our sense of what is possible. As our sense as to what is possible is expanded we are more willing to get out of our comfort zone and expand our sense of adventure. And that sense of adventure is not just in trying new things.
It’s also in allowing ourselves to open our hearts and risk feeling more. And that is when we feel most engaged and fulfilled.
I am sure that you have your own mountain to climb. What shift in thinking will embolden you to climb this mountain and what will you need to do differently? I have found that sometimes little things that seemed insignificant can have tremendous impact in my life.
If you make these little changes consistently you will see a dramatic difference in the quality of your life. Imagine what it would be like if you did something new or different everyday. It could be as simple as taking a different route to work, getting up earlier and meditating or listening to some new music.
As you make these changes on a regular basis you will notice that your sense of what is possible keeps expanding and evolving.
As the view from the mountain keeps expanding I have a greater sense that we are all interconnected. With each passing year I am blessed to share the journey with many more like minded travelers. Thank you for expanding our circle by forwarding this letter to those in your circle.
The internet has been instrumental in connecting us with other like minded people all over the world.
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