I had an experience a week or so ago where I was able to use the True Nature qualities that we explore at Scholars Together (and the vibrant nature around me) to help me get up steep hills at high altitudes on my bike in Colorado.
So, I love riding my bike and love the mountains, and yet I have not had a lot of opportunity nor practice these days at riding hills and mountainous terrain. And yet I couldn’t resist a relatively short bike trip with my husband from our campsite at almost 9000 ft. elevation to check out another camp site near another part of “our” rushing river. So off we went. Our trip there was mostly downhill and it was great to feel the breeze as I glided down the hills with the enormous trees and jutting rock mountains on both sides of the winding road. I could hear the rushing river and smell the dry pine and sage all around me. Yes!
We got to our destination and enjoyed each moment of exploring this new site and the beauty and refreshment that the river running through it shared with all who were there, fly-casting fishermen, rock climbers, horse back riders, campers, bikers, etc…all drawn to the natural wonders, beauty and grace of this area.
As we headed back to our campsite I realized that our trip was practically all up hill, and for me it looked like all fairly steep inclines. I felt a sense of dread and actually fear and was already breathing hard after just a short time. My husband stopped and asked if he could help, but I told him to go on ahead, that I would work this out. I stopped and crossed the road where I could sit on a rock for some moments and hear and see the tremendous rushing power of the river as it carried the snow melt from up above. I could feel its surging power from where I sat, and my thought just went to the qualities I could see in action…power, thrust, energy, flow, harmony, etc.
I felt a bit more comfortable to get back on my bike and get going. It wasn’t long before I felt exhausted and kind of weepy, wondering why I had taken this trip. Thoughts came that said I was unprepared, out of shape, that this was just too hard, that I couldn’t do this, and that the altitude was making it hard for me, too. Then I heard that river again – powerful, flexible, beautiful, purposeful. And the mountains that were all around me seemed so much more than their jagged rocks and peaks – they were strength, foundation, steadfastness, permanence, and solid. I began to realize that I am those qualities, too…and more.
Our Scholars Together True Nature list, that tells us who we really are regardless of whether we see those qualities out loud in the moment, had all of those same qualities that I was seeing so clearly in nature around me. I began to claim those qualities for myself in that moment – I am brave, calm and competent and eager, energetic, optimistic and enthusiastic…I am full of potential, motivated, steadfast and trusting. Yes, I was biking up a hill that was out of my current practice experience, but I was also these qualities and could draw on them right now.
I felt mentally and physically buoyed up, and though I was not going at great speeds, I was going…up! And from time to time the wisdom that was also me, reminded me to get off my bike and walk for a bit. Other thoughts that came from time to time that I should hurry and catch up with my husband or try to look more like a real biker, soon subsided and I became more grateful to express yet another of our True Nature qualities – being in the here and the now. I felt grateful, unhurried, able and free from the thoughts that would try to hold me back.
I was reminded of what I have asked many of the Scholars students as we learn and practice our true nature: When it is a cloudy day and we don’t see the sun, where is it? What is it doing? And we always end up agreeing that it is where it always is, doing what it always does with all of its gusto, even though we do not see it…just like our True Nature qualities. And I was experiencing all of that right here, on this glorious bike ride in the mountains! The doubt, fear and no-way-can-I-do-this-ness (the clouds that try to hide the sun) had vanished and I, thanks to the Nature surrounding me and its amazing expression of itself, was all of a sudden back at our camp site feeling grateful, peaceful and nourished. Yay!
I see once again the many ways that we can cling to and affirm our True Nature and see it take us where we need or want to go. There are reminders all around us of this innate nature of ours and I will be looking for them. How about you?
Click here if you would like to view our current True Nature List. It is an ongoing list that we add to as we glean more of who we are.
by Tien Stone Langlois, Scholars Together Learning Community, Inc.