I woke up Sunday morning, excited to go on my bike ride. I did one last check on the weather and confirmed that it wasn’t predicted to rain until the afternoon. According to my calculations, we would be able to ride at least 60 miles and be back before the downpour.
I threw my bike shorts and shoes in a pile on the floor and walked over to the drawer where I keep my bike shirts. As the drawer opened, I spied my shirt choices. There, front and center was my purple bike shirt. I reached for it, and in the span of a few seconds, I relived all the memories.
You see, my purple bike shirt has some “baggage”. It’s the shirt that I was wearing at the Cincinnati Ride event, where things didn’t go so well. I ended up flipping my bike and landing on my head. Firsthand, I experienced an exciting rescue squad ride to the University of Cincinnati Emergency room. The end result was some serious road rash and a bruised, dislocated shoulder that haunted me for a good 2-3 months afterward.
While reaching for the shirt, I honestly felt all the feelings that I had on that fateful day. In the span of a few seconds, I felt a myriad of emotions— none of them remotely positive. Quickly, I let go of the shirt. It was as if it was tainted and couldn’t be worn safely again. I sifted through my shirts, looking for a better one for the trip, one that didn’t make me feel so uneasy. And then my conscious thinking took over.
I stared at the purple shirt and thought things through, pragmatically. “Why are you afraid to wear that shirt? Do you really think you’ll fall every time you have that shirt on?” I questioned my thinking and came up short. It just didn’t make much sense. My negative thinking and fear was not rooted in reality. There was absolutely no evidence to prove that I would fall off my bike again if I wore that shirt. In a show of defiance, I grabbed the shirt, yanked it over my head and willed myself to let go of the negative thinking.
I only caught myself thinking about it once during the journey. As soon as it popped in my head, I forced myself to let it go by redirecting my thinking to something more pleasant. In the end, I had a safe ride and enjoyed myself.
Later, I gave thought to the whole morning incident. Just the sight of my shirt had brought on such intense emotions and almost stopped me in my tracks. In those few seconds, I could conjure up the sights, sounds, and emotions of the whole experience.
And there you have it. Simmering just beneath the surface are many memories of your past experiences, some good and some not so good. Some of those painful memories are so intense that you may lose sight of the fact that it’s part of your past and not your present. At times, it sure feels like it’s NOW, the pain is so real.
The point is that you can’t let these memories inhibit your ability to see the truth in your present! Question your fear, take control of the situation and don’t let anything stop you from moving forward into your future.