Motorbike keys to Empowerment

If you would like the keys to finding faith, empowerment and confidence in an ever changing and sometimes frightening world. Let me show mine. They hang from a BMW embossed leather tag and they are my prized possession. I would wear them like jewellery but why do that when you can use them to turn over a bike and kick off onto the highway instead.

Follow me for a couple of thousand words and I’ll tell you why 🙂

Don’t look where you don’t want to go.

The words flashed into my head as the bloated carcass of a large grey kangaroo appeared on the road. I glanced to the bitumen beside the large lump, the bike duly followed and seconds later I wizzed around the smelly lump. Don’t look where you don’t want to go. Such a simple rule of riding that I hardly thought of it much anymore but I knew what happened if I didn’t apply it. Any motor bike rider learns this rule very quickly.

In motorbike riding, the direction you move in, is all about where you look. This is actually true with any mode of travel including your own legs but for some reason we never consider it much until we go to sit on a motorbike where the results of focus can have such swift and sometimes disastrous consequences if you make a mistake.  Believe me, where you look is exactly where you will go. If you see a pothole and think “God I don’t want to hit that” – and you keep looking at it – God can’t help you and you will hit it.

As I dodged the kangaroo yesterday, I grinned in my helmet thinking of how this rule had been reinforced to me not long after I started riding when, with legs stiff and backside very sore, I  had arrived at a service station in Cunnamulla. Glad to have reached the town after a several hours riding, I was intent on fueling the bike and was therefore scanning the bowsers to see which one contained the unleaded fuel as I rode in. Forgetting the most important rule of riding – don’t look where you don’t want to go – I damn near ended up on top of the bowser and although I didn’t drop the bike or hit anything – it was close. And would have been embarrassing, if it wasn’t so funny, both to me and the goggle eyed bloke that was fueling his car on the other side.

It is a known phenomenon in riding and it is called focus lock. The risk of it occurring is compounded with long rides and a lack of awareness due to tiredness or distraction.

Awareness and staying in the moment is another important rule of thumb which is why it is such powerful meditation (and therefore highly addictive to me).

I simply can’t assume the position and Om my way into peace at home, my chatterbox mind won’t allow it. If you think I write long rambly posts – try living in my head 🙂

Out on the road though the wind noise and the requirement for a constant return to the present moment has me naturally deep in a meditative state. Bugger candle flames – true zen is accomplished by motorbike riders every time they go for a long ride. This is why something that looks uncomfortable and boring – is actually relaxing.

There are other reasons why motorbike riding is addictive. It allows me to conquer my old nemesis – fear.

When I first got my motorbike license and was beginning to take trips by myself, overcoming fear was a huge obstacle. Every time I would excitedly plan a journey, the inevitable spectre of death or injury would rise up and I would start thinking “what if?” I have a pretty good imagination so the “what if?” horror film could become quite luridly frightening if I allowed my thoughts to get out of hand. But I love riding and I love riding solo best so I had to find a way to get over these imaginary fears in order to go riding.

The only way to get over irrational fears is to walk through them and prove to yourself that they are in fact irrational and merely figments of your imagination. This seems easy enough in theory but as a mother and wife it is often difficult to do put into practice and it is why I believe so many women either don’t ever take up riding a motor bike – or if they do – give it up as they become mothers of young children.

Which is a pity. Riding a motorbike is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. Riding solo and being free to go wherever you want, ditching all responsibilities and cares for awhile and just sitting on a humming machine, the scents of a change in season wafting through your helmet, zooming along with just yourself for company is an amazing experience. If it sounds like the perfect antidote to time poor mothers that is because it is. Riding is also a great instruction manual into how to conquer irrational fears – something which has plagued just about every human being on the planet at one time or other in their lives.

I used to be a very anxious person. I’m not now. I have ridden bikes that felt out of my comfort zone on roads that certainly were and learnt to handle them. I have chosen to get on those same bikes (I have a couple 🙂 and take long trips along a highway with the company of truck drivers on Ice, random animals prone to suicide attacks on my person and God knows who behind the wheel of every car that drifts past as I take a drink of water and a rest. As you can see – most of that is in my head but it doesn’t make it any less scary. Having all that crap transformed into calm awareness, confidence and a friendly wave at drivers and animals alike is pretty cool stuff.  Thanks BMW you have fixed a lifelong problem that could have otherwise plagued me for the rest of my life.

It is not just about solo riding though. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great companions at times. I have had the opportunity to spend time with my older brothers on the road, keeping connections alive through a shared passion that I may not have been able to do without my motorbike.  I’ve ridden with other women that enrich the experience with their own tales of overcoming hurdles to do so and I have ridden in a mixed group of genders a time or two that was just as much fun. Bikers are great people because they meet death every moment and choose to see it as life enhancing rather than life threatening so they are always nice to hang around with.

Plus it is the strangers you meet along the way. The characters that you bump into who – without a motorbike as the draw card and interest – would never have come up and just started yacking away to me and telling me their stories – some sad, some funny and some just plain bazaar 🙂

I have had a couple of misadventures and been temporarily stuck here and there. Every single time within seconds a stranger has turned up to lend me a hand. I know this – if you are brave and take the leap, the universe really will provide you with the wings you need – suddenly instead of plunging you will be soaring.

I haven’t always thought everything through – for obvious reasons – that wasn’t working! Sometimes you just have to go and trust that you’ll be fine. I think that this is the greatest lesson that motorbike riding has given me. It is this deep steady faith that I will be okay – that whatever comes – I will be okay and will have the strength to deal with it or that someone will come along at the right time to help me. This certainty is not just provided on the highway, it is provided to me in every moment of my life now. ‘

This sort of faith is invaluable, it is extraordinary! It is also so hard for me to imagine that I would have obtained it in any other way than by riding a motorbike.

Life is an amazing journey whichever vehicle you choose to navigate it in. Riding a motorbike however turns the rather pedestrian pursuit of one point to another into an adventure. It lifts the mundane into the realms of extraordinary. It isn’t for everyone but just from the conversations I have had with other ladies I know – a lot of women yearn for it, however due to all those risks and fears, they don’t do it. Plenty of blokes don’t either and it is shame.

If this post helps one woman or man take the risk and find themselves smiling in their helmet – happy and confident out on the road and in their everyday lives then it has been well worth the effort in writing it…at 2am in the morning ha!

*Please note – after all this positive encouragement I do know people have in fact died on the roads on motorbikes or been terribly injured. I also know people die in car crashes, plane crashes and sitting at their breakfast table eating their bacon and eggs. Life is random – I am not going to be responsible for your death on a motorbike anymore than I would be because after a lifetime of eating crap you have a heart attack and die.

I will however take full credit if  – after reading this post – you pull up your big girl panties (or Y fronts) and go and get a motorbike licence and then find yourself in a couple of years time floating along some long highway somewhere and whispering”thanks Kate” with tears of gratitude flowing down your face because you feel blessed. I’ve done that but I was whispering it to myself and you should to – because I know – it’s tough, it’s scary and  male or female – you did that all by yourself, kudos to you dear – just you XX0X

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Your Mind

Ever had a thought which instantly drops your gut.   Within seconds you are hooked on a mental loop with tentacles that reach deep into your body causing a rise in heart beat, a tightness in your throat and more. I’m not describing a full blown anxiety attack though it may feel like it and those attacks spring from the same place.  I’m talking about a single thought and the pulling power it has to multiply others until they overtake your present moment causing body weather to change like clouds rolling over a blue sky.

This is how it spirals:

You may stop at anger (150)

You may stop at fear (100)

You may fall as far as grief (75)

But God help you if you go back to either guilt (30) or its lower inmate shame (20)

Depending on how you were feeling to begin with – you are now a much easier target for bad shit to happen to. Don’t believe me? Do a test and spend a few moments on each level.

Think of something that makes you feel loving (500)

Think of something makes you angry (100)

Think of something which causes grief (75)

Think of something that makes you feel guilt (30) – now shame (20) and that is SHAME not its more ordinary embarrassment which is probably just an offshoot of pride and anger so calibrates somewhere between ( 100 – 175)

Obviously this test works far better if this were to happen to you in real time and if you just actually conjured up abject shame for even a moment I’m so sorry that you now feel like crap. However,  it is a prime example  in how energy drops affect our body and mental state. It is sickening how quickly mere phantoms can reach out from the ether and twist us into knots – turning our perfectly pleasurable present into a morass of seething memory born pain or anger. No wonder societal physical and mental health as a whole is deteriorating.

I read a book a couple of years ago by Marie Kondo about decluttering. The premise being that you decluttered your home and contents ruthlessly leaving only the items which made you truly happy. When the mission was accomplished the person would be surrounded only by things which brought pleasure to their lives and nothing less. Nice one.

After experiencing the usual rollercoaster ride in my head and energy levels the other day I had the idea to attempt just that. Mental decluttering. It’s hard.

One whole section of our brain is wired for memory – like a spacious closet which has no concern for what you fill it with. Unfortunately the trip to the bin with mental possessions – your bad memories, grief, regret, grievances and grudges is akin to throwing a boomerang, turning your back and getting struck a couple of seconds later by the returning flight.

How do you stop the elastic nature of mental clutter? Why do certain people and things just keep looping back to you whether you care for their presence or not? I read somewhere (please don’t ask me to reference every single thing I have read – I simply can’t but if it is a particularly good book/article  rest assured I will give you the heads up).  I read somewhere that it is because we build bridges to that person/event in our mind. I particularly liked this explanation because it meant if I had built the damn bridge I could burn it down again. Did I tell you it’s hard?

It serves no purpose thinking or willing a thought away. You may as well try to take a nap on a Sunday in a room full of flies. Thoughts will crawl all over your brain until you really wish you hadn’t started the process in the first place. Meditation helps but you have to take time out and sit and hum and have incense – okay you don’t need any of that but you do have to stop whatever it is you are doing and go mediate which is just not realistic. You have stuff to do and it would be a lot easier without these thought flies.

So the way to kill a thought before it drops you is to kill it – splat – like a fly – as soon as it lands. Don’t indulge it – don’t pay it any attention. Let it go. If you can do it fast enough then the full force of the emotion which usually accompanies the thought will not arise making it much easier to let go. Yes it takes practice, everything takes practice to perfect.

It also helps to think of thoughts as energy clusters and to read them as they come at you. Once you realise what reaction a particular thought (and we all recognise them because the repetitive ones just keep coming back to us day after groundhog bloody day!) about a person or thing does to you, you will catch yourself having it. With practice you will see it faster and be able to prevent the descent. I’m not pretending to be a guru you understand – I am just sharing what I try to do and if that helps you too – awesome.

This is how it goes (sort of) for me:

“Oh crap I’m thinking about such and such again and they always bring me down – I’m not thinking about them right now because he/she messes with my head”smack, dead fly.

Or

“Oh crap I’m having the thought about <Enter latest Crisis/Drama> again and there is nothing I can do about it.” Anxiety about the future is the same as rumination on the past – it solves absolutely no purpose. Planning serves a purpose. Anxiety does not. Look at a problem squarely, plan a way around it and work positively. Do not just worry about it. Agitation serves no purpose but to make yourself sick. I should know, I used to spend large chunks of my time either worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. I don’t do that anymore because I know that the best way I can operate in the present moment and with hope for the future is by lifting my energy as high as possible. But then there are these thoughts.

Or

“Today is Mum’s birthday – I miss her, I wish…” Stop – its okay to miss but not to wish. It is okay to think about loved ones that are gone but it is not okay to descend into grief and rumination. There is a raw period of grief that no one can negotiate happily but after awhile and when they are not in our thoughts every single second, then it is more helpful to – instead of descending into grief when they do pop up – instead send them blessings and great love.

Love calibrates at 500 Grief calibrates at 75. One lifts us (and in turn everyone around us) the other sinks (and sucks the sunshine out of the sky). You get to choose and when you do you automatically choose for your remaining loved ones as well (unconsciously or not). They deserve to be around someone who is vibrating at the very best energy level they can achieve. Once you grasp this fact then you start to feel less selfish about being happy, realising that actually the best you can do for everyone around you is to be as happy as you possibly can be.

Why would I mention feeling selfish or wrong or even rather slightly sheepish about being happy? Ever been around someone when you are high energy who tries to make it seem like a crime? I have. It used to effectively bring me down. Which is where sayings like “cut you down to size” “bring you down to level” may stem from. Perhaps they are not always applied to people behaving arrogantly but rather those that are simply radiating happiness – which seems intolerable to someone who is radiating anger or grief.

Energy stealers and toxic people do this. They want what you have but for some reason won’t ask you nicely as in “I need a hug” instead they roll their eyes and start to bleed you viciously with the miseries of their lives or other peoples lives or just misery in general.

Don’t attack them back – they want your energy (your focus) and they don’t care how they get it. At the very least they want to cut you down to size. Be nice, send them some love -if it doesn’t work to alleviate the situation – walk away. I’m not a bloody saint either and I don’t always get this right because being drained of energy happens in a myriad of sneaky ways and is nasty to cope with. It has helped me enormously to make a few realisations about energy though and why people behave the way they do.

Summary of how to declutter your mind in three simple steps:

  • Everything is energy.Once you are aware of your own energy – what lifts it and what drops it – you are in control of how you manage it. Treat thoughts (and people) like energy clusters and avoid or handle the ones that drain you with a little more awareness.
  • Clean out old thoughts. Reframe old memories. Some will continue to pester you and repeatedly come back. The way to get rid of them is to write them out of your system. Write everything about why and what you are feeling about that particular person/event/memory. Eventually they will be empty of energy, then if you want throw the paper in the bin.
  • Sever (and keep severing) any links that you are making to toxic people in your head. You may not be able to prevent yourself from bumping into them in real life but you don’t have to make them comfortable in your head. Besides which if you stop thinking about them you are less likely to actually bump into them in the real world.

 

 

*Energy calibration figures taken from “Power vs Force” by Dvid R. Hawkins M.D., Ph.D.

 

The beauty of mistakes

Lessons learnt.

Thats all they are.

Lessons learnt.

Why is so much pressure wrought on people who make mistakes?

From the awkward social faux pas to the grave transgression – a scale of judgement is summarily applied – the temperature of which lists lightly from sotto voiced behind hand whispers to the outraged heaving of an all out twitter lynch mob. I’m not famous enough for the latter but I’ve certainly suffered through the former. It isn’t pleasant especially since at the time I was probably already hard enough on myself.

Shaming is indiscriminate of age. Once a child becomes a teenager (or thereabouts) they are deemed to be “up for it” blamed, shamed and gossiped about. The fact that they are still learning so much about themselves and the world around them combined with the pressure cooker of social media smacks of blatant unfairness. But it doesn’t matter – mistakes seem to eternally have the same outcome.

Shame for the perpetrator. Blame from the crowd and hello listen to an awful mindless soundtrack stuck on repeat.

This is a great pity for obviously it makes people less inclined to be courageous and risk putting a foot wrong. Mistakes are messy things however they are also the seeding ground of learning and bravery. Mistakes are great proponents of growth. Nothing like getting your fingers burnt on a hot surface to know (with great certainty) not to touch it again.

Sometimes in life you have to bumble about making a few mistakes and seeing what works and what doesn’t. In fact it is absolutely necessary to do exactly that if you want to attain any level of wisdom and strength. The worst that can happen is usually a bit of cringe burn. If I had died from third degree cringe burn at certain times (alright quite a lot of times) in my life then I wouldn’t be here today but luckily nobody actually dies from embarrassment – it just feels that way briefly – then life scrolls on.

People get very upset about mistakes. High dudgeon is churned up in the wake of even the slightest of gaffs and don’t even begin down the road of a temporary waiver of the old inner moral compass. The thing is none of it has much to do with the actual mistake – everything (as everything always is) is about energy.

Energy is what makes the world go round. It is also what draws and repels people. Put simply (because I don’t want to get off track) everything that exists has energy and that energy can be measured. High energy lifts the vibration of everything around it. Low energy serves absolutely no purpose and becomes a burden to be around.

Anyway back to mistakes. It is a pity that people do not consider the energy that is directed back at them – back at the world as a whole with the most currently utilised model of dealing with mistake makers:

Mistake > Recrimination = Shame.

In energy terms Shame vibrates at the very lowest calibration (20).  Cultures and practices geared towards shame, guilt and misery understandably and predictably fail as they are stuck in a vortex which provides no way to learn from their mistakes.

To look for evidence of this is not difficult as entire socio economic structures clearly depict this model of failure not too far from our own doorsteps. Children growing up in poverty and relentless cycles of violence and shame. With no way out, no useful guidance – – they create their own mistakes and are harshly shoved back down to be consumed and rehashed for the fodder of further generational mistakes to be made. Drive past any housing commission estate and check in with how you’re feeling. Yeah it’s not a good vibe and a very simple display of how low calibration energy affects your body.

If energy is the thing which we all crave then the best we can receive by attacking a person and shaming them is very low. In fact shame pulls everything and everyone around it downwards. This is probably why people prefer to do it from a comfortable distance or behind the perpetrators back as the case usually is. After all self righteousness probably calibrates somewhat higher (pride and anger demonstrably calibrate at 150 and 175 respectively). 

A useful alternative perhaps would then be this:

Mistake > Reflection = Reason

Reason has a calibration of 400 just below love (500). If you want to look around you and see reason and understanding – feel that energy – reverberating throughout society then the second option suddenly becomes far more desirable.

Successful education and rehabilitation programs show that they are based on reflection and change in response to learning a better way of doing things. As people are offered pathways out of the lower non productive states of shame and guilt they start to thrive and become better equipped to make increasingly positive choices.

Imagine how much faster this process would be if guilt and shame were not applied in the first place. Imagine a world that operated from a base of reason rather than shame. Imagine a world of courageous people not afraid to try because they are not fearful of failing.

Imagine it and then start applying it in your own life because this is the only way that energy begins to rise towards higher calibrations. It starts with individuals choosing a different more positive way of doing things.  The impact that a single person operating from a base of reason can have is immeasurable simply because they lift others along with them.

Here is a great video with a Ted Talk by Brene Brown which offers further insights into the subjects of shame, vulnerability and how important it is to overcome paralysing self doubt in order to achieve our goals and plans. I found it inspiring – hope you do too.

*Note – Energy calibrations stated above are taken from Sir David R. Hawkins M.D. PhD book Power vs Force.