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Life’s A Bicycle – How to Balance Your Life Like You Balance a Bike

istock sunset bike rider facing left

Tips & Tools to Balance Your Creative, Sensitive or Gifted Life

How’s your ride through life been lately? Smooth? Bumpy? Got a flat? Has the path disappeared? There was a time several years ago when my path disappeared.  During that difficult time, I learned that you can balance your life just like you can balance a bike.

And so can you. Even if you’re a CASIGY – a Creative, Acutely Aware, Super-Sensitive Intense, and/or Gifted You!

Sounds too simple─ balance your life just like you balance a bike─ doesn’t it?

Let’s take a closer look. How old were you when you learned to ride a bike? 3, 4 or 5? 6 or 8 years old? Ten or Twelve years old? Even older? Any age can be good to learn to ride a bike. Any age can be tough to learn to ride a bike. Girls and boys all over the world learn how to ride bikes. Remember the frustration, the bumps and bruises, and finally the sense of victory and freedom when you finally mastered keeping your balance while moving that two wheeled contraption through space and time- with your own energy?

What was it that eventually enabled you to stay upright while you pedaled up and down the hills and around the corners in your neighborhood?  It’s that same illusive ‘something’ that you likely still have in your cellular memory which can now help you get and keep your life in balance.

Think about it. Riding a bike is a mind-body skill that requires dynamic, not static balance.  Moving through life is a mind- body skill that requires dynamic, not static balance. Dynamic balance enables you to

  • stay balanced even though the road or path varies
  • respond to changes in weather and traffic
  • accommodate shifts in body, mind and emotions
  • adjust to continual movement
  • GET and STAY balanced

What I have found was that I can reach back to my childhood, and bring those mind-body bike riding skills I learned so long ago right into the present. I can use them to help me balance my life, just like I can balance a bike. And so can you.

All it takes to balance a bike is to

  • tune in and
  • tune up in order to
  • take off and get where you’re going.

And likewise, all it would take for you to balance your LIFE is to tune in and tune up and then you will be able to take off and balance your life, too.

Tuning in means to pay attention. What happens when you’re riding a bike and you don’t pay attention? You can hit a rock or slide on gravel. You can lose your balance. You may catch yourself if you start to pay attention soon enough, or you may fall if you don’t.

In life, it’s the same. When you don’t pay attention, you may miss signals of loss of balance until it’s too late to prevent trouble; sometimes BIG trouble.

There are some people who are more vulnerable than others to the negative effects of stress than are most others. How would you know if this includes you or your loved ones?  Is your (or their) central nervous system both more perceptive and more reactive than most others’?  Elaine Aron calls this being a Highly Sensitive Person, and has found that this applies to about 20% of us. Kazimierz Dabrowski calls this having over-excitabilities, and identifies five different kinds of over-excitabilities: emotional, imaginational, intellectual, psychomotor, sensual. I like to call this being a CASIGY™ (Creative, Super-sensitive, Intense, and/or Gifted You) because heightened sensitivity may often be accompanied by creativity, intensity, introversion, intelligence and/or giftedness. And when you have one or more of these characteristics, it’s even more important than it is for others to get and keep your life in balance.

How do you know when a bike is getting out of balance? It gets wobbly, it gets harder to pedal than it needs to be, you may grind to a halt, or it won’t steer where you want it to go.

How do you know when your life is getting out of balance? Your muscles get tight, you get irritable, you can’t sleep, or want to sleep lots of the time, you are hungry all the time or lose your appetite, you find yourself making frequent mistakes, you feel anxious, angry  or sad much of the time; things like that.

Do you know what the biggest mistake most people make when their lives are out of balance?  They ignore it. They tell themselves that things will get better soon, that if they just “keep on keeping on” their problems will go away and their lives will get better and they will have their lives in balance once again.

Does that work when riding a bike? No. Nor does it work in life. What works on a bike AND in life is to Tune IN and Tune UP, so you can TAKE OFF!  First, you pay attention so you can discover when something is out of balance, what it is, and then DO something about it to get it back in balance. You balance the checkbook, wash the dishes, do the grocery shopping, get some exercise, carve out some solitude, clean the bathrooms, connect with family or friends, take a nap, meditate – you get the picture.

Other times it’s not that simple. Sometimes a bike needs more than air in the tires or oil on the gears. Sometimes it needs a new tire. Sometimes it needs to be taken to the shop. Sometimes we need to get some outside help, too. We may need to take ourselves to see the dentist, doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist or counselor.

But sometimes all a bike needs is a hosing off after a hard ride. Sometimes all we need is a break. In fact, there are three things that you can DO anytime anywhere that can help to restore your balance.

  1. First is to breathe. Yes, you’re already breathing, but how deeply are you breathing right now? Take a DEEP breath, all the way down to your belly. You could put your hands on your belly, and make them move with your breath. Breathe out until ALL the air is gone from your lungs, and your belly collapses. Then breathe in until your lungs are bursting with air and your belly expands as your diaphragm moves. Do this several times and see what a difference it makes in your inner state of being.
  2. Second is to give thanks. Gratitude is balancing to humans like getting its feet under it is balancing to a turtle. The more difficult it is to find something to be grateful for, the more powerful it is when we do. Ready for an experiment? Write down seven (new) gratitudes every day for a month and see what a positive difference it makes in your balance.
  3. Third is to stretch. Physically stretch. Put your hands above your head and stretch. Bend from your waist and then side to side. That will release the blood flow in your body, which can restore balance to your body in a simple, yet powerful way.

After you Tune Up, it’s time to TAKE OFF! After all, riding a bicycle is about going somewhere.  Life is about the journey AND the destination. And now you’re equipped to move ahead in life and stay balanced while you do it. How do you do that?  First, you decide where you’re going. Then you get started.  You move one pedal at a time. You pace yourself according to the distance and the path in front of you. Persist, persist, persist until you finish the journey. And then you celebrate your victory!

So, every time you ride a bike, see a bike or go by a bike store, I hope that you will remember to balance your LIFE just like you balance a BIKE.  Remember, all you have to do to balance your life is to

  • Tune in and
  • Tune up so you can
  • Take off!

If you liked this article, you might want to check out  our  Audio Seminar on this same topic.

Featured Quote

The psychological truth in “The Red Shoes” is that a woman’s meaningful life can be pried, threatened, robbed or seduced away from her unless she holds on to or retrieves her basic joy and wild worth. The tale calls our attention to traps and poisons we too easily take onto ourselves when we are caught in a famine of wild soul.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves