Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lessons You Learn On Your Bicycle: Balance

Okay, so it’s been a while since the last post. That’s because I’ve been learning, all over again it seems, how to keep my balance. One of the many lessons about life that you can think about while you’re riding a bike.

Remember your first attempts at riding a bike, how you’d fall over to one side or the other...but then with equal parts of determination and equilibrium, you were riding. You could go far, you could go could just plain go. And once you figured that out, the lesson has stuck with you ever since.  “It’s just like riding a bike,” right?

In life, I think balance is one of the most difficult things to achieve, and to maintain. It’s also one of the most necessary things. For me that’s true, anyway. The challenge seems to be in adapting to the shifting load. Each new chapter in our lives brings along something new, or takes away something familiar, and we keep learning how to stabilize the load so that we can stay balanced. Even just recently I’ve seen quite a bit of change: our kids keep growing up on us, and Mrs. C and I are continuously trying to figure out what we can do to support them. Work has definitely shifted as the organization has gotten leaner. I’m helping out with planning and leading a new service at my church, which in turn has given me some unexplainable creativity composing new songs. I’ve put lots of energy into those things while I’ve been away from the blog. Life, as I know it anyway, is constantly shifting the load.

I met a kid last year who rides with the Flowrider team at the Boys and Girls Club here in Salem.  He was born with some physical challenges on one side of his body; his arm and leg are noticeably weaker and smaller on one side than on the other side. Throughout his life he’d been told about all of the things he would not be able to do because of it. He finally decided to stop listening, I guess. At the Boys and Girls Club, he wanted so badly to join the cycling team there that he literally willed himself get onto a bike and just figure it out, despite all of the odds against it ever happening. Weeks, months of trying, crashing and trying again, this kid would not stop.  Guess who’s cycling and inspiring everybody with his story now.

I’m glad I got to meet this young man and learn a valuable lesson. As I think about how life hands us new and challenging things, and we have to constantly adapt to find our equilibrium, he comes to mind often. His story gives me confidence that with the big and small things that shift the load, I can figure it out and keep moving forward.


bikelovejones said...

Kelly! Glad to hear you're still among the blogging, albeit sporadically. Things here are in motion as well. I'm doing a TON of music and would love to swap notes with you. Email or phone sometime (maybe after we're done with passover and Easter?)
Happy spring, or something like it --Beth

Kelly Carlisle said...

Thanks, Beth! I'll look forward to a collaboration. Still smiling every time I think of our tendency to mirror each other's jazz improvisation. Be well! KC

Jessica said...

It's nice to hear from you again in the blogging world. Glad you're balancing things out!