I hit the ‘wall’, yesterday. Too much time spent indoors, too much time spent recovering from pleurisy and an infection in the pericardium (sac around my heart). It’s been four weeks since I’ve been able to lift heavy, run, breathe without significant pain, or just move through the everyday motions of life without feeling utterly exhausted.
As evening unfolded, I loaded my fat bike into my car and headed for the wide open spaces of the still-frozen highway that is the Tanana River in spring. The sun offered some heat today, for the first time since September. Even at 7:00 PM, it was shining brightly from behind cirrostratus clouds and soaking my aching shoulders with light and warmth.
It felt deeply good to engage my quads, hamstrings and just open up the internal throttle and ride happy. For me, cultivating the wide open spaces in the outdoors allows my own wild places to breathe easy. I can’t live indoors perpetually.
In these past few weeks, I’ve lived a crucible of unending work stress, travel, deadlines and a heavy caseload that has repeatedly challenged my best efforts to manage it. I return again and again to the wisdom of the wild places, to the space between thoughts, to giving all that I have and all that I am to the business of living out loud.
There is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only balance and imbalance, a perpetual state of realignment, of acknowledgement, of tempering and of accelerating, of leaning and bending and holding each precious moment in the palm of my hand.
Moving through transition, I let myself melt. I soften. I absorb. Pain has arrived, unbidden, and I lean into the sharp points. Make friends with it.
I paused for a few moments last night, in the ride, to capture the Present, to put time in a bottle and to send it down the river of life with a message for future-me… storms will rage, shadows will cloud the sun, sky will darken and winds will blow- and still, I rise. Some days, to find ‘level’, I have to crawl. Hit the deck. Pause in place, kneel in the snow. Break.
Other days, I lift my bike high in the air and I salute the return of Spring. The return of light. The promise of season’s change.