sharing our stories

The start of the ride for the handcyclists
The start of the ride for the handcyclists

A couple of weeks ago, I completed a bike ride called the Kelly Brush Century Ride. The choices for distance were 25, 50 or 100 miles, and I chose the 25 since I hadn’t ridden in years. A number of people asked me how it went (how I felt, during the ride) and I said, “I felt great on the flat ground, scared on the downhills, and inadequate/discouraged on the uphill portions”.

I had to walk up a number of steep hills….well, I’m not sure that I had to, but I felt like I did, and lots of people passed me. At one point (maybe around mile 18?) I had gotten off my bike and was trudging up a steep portion of the ride. My steps felt like lead, I imagined my body, not as a fit thing, but more like an elephant taking one big round heavy step at a time. I didn’t feel like it was a mistake to have done the ride, but I certainly didn’t feel inspired either.

As I slowly pushed my bike up what seemed to be an endlessly long incline, I noticed one of the hand-cyclists ahead of me. I hadn’t seen him pass me earlier, but there he was, pedaling with his hands up this incline. There were about 25 riders who completed the ride by using their arm-strength alone. …and who didn’t have the option to get off their bikes and walk.

Seeing him up there, not moving quickly, not passing anyone, but moving with such determination, helped me so much. For one thing, it shut up my mind that had started to complain that it was embarrassed about needing to walk. We met on a straight part of the ride and I thanked him for inspiring me. He answered with a smile, “I’m only being me.” My next thought was, “Well just being you, has just inspired me beyond words.” I was too choked up to say this.

I want my life to matter. I want to live every moment of my life by saying yes to it, not by sitting back and hoping that someone else will do it for me, or will finally pay attention to me, or notice my efforts.

I cannot be hindered by the world (only by my own thoughts) because I always have the choice to think something different if I find myself lost in self-pity or discouragement.  I can think about the everyday heroes who get up, every morning, with huge obstacles to overcome, but they do it….and maybe my life, maybe me walking up a hill that I clearly couldn’t pedal up, inspired someone with that thought, “If that old gal can do it, maybe I could give it a try!”

“Everyone has a story that makes me stronger.” Richard SImmons

25 thoughts on “sharing our stories”

  1. Congratulations Mary! Your “story” reminded me of a quote many years ago that hit home. “maybe one of these days I’ll be able to give myself a gold star for being ordinary, and maybe one of these days I’ll give myself a gold star for being extraordinary, and maybe one day I won’t need to have a gold star at all” …….:) happy day to all!

    1. Well, Sandy, if anyone “deserves” a gold star for being a power of example (of how to live a joy-filled, hopeful life) it is you. Thank you so much, Love, Mary

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Jeannie. I just cannot tell you how much it means to me to know this, Blessings to you, Mary

  2. Well, Mary, whether you are pushing your bike up a steep incline, sharing your thoughts every week through your writing, dancing with utter joy at your son’s wedding, or simply smiling and sending loving thoughts to all of us, you inspire me! Every day. Not a day goes by that I don’t recall something you have taught me or repeat an affirmation that you helped me create, or observe a part of nature that I might not have otherwise seen. Today I awoke with a message you taught us some time ago…SPIRAL UP! I wish that for us all today! XOXO

    1. Thank you Kathye…for your enthusiasm, love and support which is so tangible, I feel I can reach out and touch it sometimes! Happy upward bound thoughts to you this beautiful evening.

  3. Oh, Mary, I’m got I filled up just reading your blog today. Thanks so much. I think “I’m only being me” will resonate in my heart and my head for a long time. Congratulations on your bike ride — it didn’t have to be pretty! — and thank you for your prayers as you rode.

    1. Oh it was for sure not pretty Charlotte! and thank you for taking the time to let me know your feelings…I loved it when he said that too. Sending you happy thoughts this evening, Mary

    1. Thank you Sylvie! and thank you for letting me know how you feel….it keeps me going to know that what I do makes a positive difference, love to you, Mary

  4. Mary, congratulations on completing your 25 mile ride ~ that alone is inspiring for me! Hearing about those who did it via arm strength alone, well, that is just amazing and beyond inspiring! 😃
    Your daily messages are more impactfull than you realize, my friend, so happy you continue to share with all if us. 😘 Marian

    1. Thank you Marian…sometimes it is hard to believe, amazing really, that I can share my life here, and get so much back. I love you, and I love this community.

  5. And to think you were carrying all of our prayers with you on your phone as well, Mary, tucked close to your heart! Thank you for sharing the story of the man ‘just being me’. I, too will remember that phrase. You inspire us every day, and so many days, comments from the flock are added pearls to the strands of wisdom you manage to weave for us from White Feather Farm. Blessings to you and everyone here!

    1. After I wrote the post Susan, I realized that I hadn’t even mentioned the prayers! And yes I did carry them, and thought about everyone, ….mostly sending out prayer when I was cruising along feeling grateful. Thank you for your thoughts and words. …I can’t quite describe how meaningful it is to me to know that any part of my life (at all) is inspiring. Blessings are flowing back to you today.

  6. At my daughter’s open house on Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting a friend of hers who, at not yet 30, had survived a major stroke. This radiant young woman , very obviously cherished by her husband, was a joy to spend time with. She exuded light , not a shred of “poor me”. She takes delight in her two dogs, in her walks with her cane, in her new Keen shoes with Velcro, in her gardening ideas. I can’t wait to see her again. My husband commented how her attitude was something we could all learn from. Life is good, I have no reason to complain. Erica inspired me by “just being” her.

    1. Funny, I feel the same way about you Maud (and some day, with your permission, I will share our connection…maybe soon!?)

  7. Mary – This post really touched me. I, too, can say “I want my life to matter. I want to live every moment of my life by saying yes to it.” You help remind me on a regular basis to do just that. Thank you for your daily inspiration!

  8. Extra weighted with our woes
    Prayers to ponder on the incline
    Sure it slowed you down but
    Then you saw the sign:

    It matters not who wins the race
    Fast or quick can be your pace
    With a flock of hens along the ride
    You made it to the other side!!

    Kudos, love and light. YOU are such an inspiration.

    1. Oh Cheryl! I love your poem so very much! It will tuck me in tonight, ‘It matters not who wins the race!,” – I like to think of us all, Mary’s flock, somehow cheering her on to the ‘other side’ – xooxox0

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