So further to my last post, Peering Through Our Lens of Life, I wanted to share some more insights into the principles behind how we create the experience of our lives via my latest hobby – cycling.
So the other week I said ‘yes’ when asked whether I would like to participate in a 200km ride with some Ironmen who were training for their next big event. I had never ridden that far before. I asked whether they would be stopping for food or to have a break during the ride (as it will be almost 7 hours) and was told, quite simply, “No.” They wanted to simulate race conditions as much as possible, so apart from stopping to fill water bottles there would be no breaks.
My thoughts of a lovely day exploring some of Australia’s gorgeous Sunshine Coast faded fast.
When the day came I was concerned I hadn't prepared enough nutritionally in the days before, but decided to go for it anyway.
For the first 60km, there were 6 of us and it was all good. A few people peeled off and then there were 3. Two Ironmen and me.
I was feeling ok, slight pain in the knee for last 20km, but tolerable. And then it all changed. I remember glancing down at my computer and it registered 92km. My thinking kicked in, my knee was getting worse, the road surface was unsealed, lots of vibrations, the other two were on Tri bikes which is great for this long windy flat section. I wasn't. They looked strong, I was in danger of losing them and any draft. When I tried to put in extra effort my knee twinged even more. I had lost track of what I consumed and drank, I was running out of energy. I remembered I hadn't put any sunscreen on and it was getting hot. We weren't even half way…..
I started hoping one of them might get a flat tyre so I could have two minutes rest... Thinking, thinking thinking. Then I spotted it as just my thinking. But I was also thinking yes but, really my knee does hurt, and if I haven't consumed enough nutrition then I will stop, and it is really windy – my thinking is telling me real stuff. It continued for hours. I was tired. Then I remembered something I tell my clients - true resourcefulness is beyond personal thinking. I knew it in theory but it didn’t seem to be helping me in that moment. Then it all changed. I don't really remember the next 60km, I was almost in a trance. It felt different, cushioned from the externals. There were some sensations but no thinking. At one point my friend said as we approached a junction ‘is it left here?’. I didn’t even know which town we were in.
About 160km one of them did have a flat tyre. We stopped and I came out of my state, but I felt different to earlier. Yes, I could feel the knee, but I knew it wouldn't 'beat me.' I could do the next 40km, yes I could. Was it windy? Yes but I would find a way though somehow. The last 40km came and went. Finished.
On reflection, what had got me through it relatively effortlessly? My understanding. In the old days I would have reached the 95km point and tried to reframe or empower my thinking manually – ‘come on you can do it, push it, do it for yourself, do it for your kids etc’. I didn't do that. I went beyond what my personal thinking could come up with. Through my understanding of where my resourcefulness really comes from I knew that I had to let go of any attempt to do it manually. That old way might have worked, but it would have been a much harder second 100km. In the end, it was all rather effortless - not physically, but mentally, once I got out of the way of myself, and let the intelligence behind the human system do its thing