Strength! Control! Flexibility! Comfort! Health!
Months ago, I put these words on the board above my desk. They are the intentions I have set for my body.
Intentions are powerful. However, there’s no need for them to consume a lot of your time. Just set them with a whole heart and life seems to grant you opportunities to let them blossom. When you least expect these intentions to be revealed, they are. For me, it was while bike riding with my husband at Kettle Moraine State Park in Wisconsin.
My husband enjoys single-track mountain biking. I don’t. I like forest preserves with a nice big smooth path. However, I have been feeling ready for new physical and mental challenges. So, off we went.
I was in charge of choosing both paths we rode. The first was the Purple path. I chose it because it is about 5.0 miles and I know I can easily ride that distance. Guess what? I didn’t read that it is also the path marked, “hard” which means hard rocky up and down hills plus sand. It was tough. I had to walk my bike a lot and as I rode, I used the “F” word more than I have my entire life. But, I did it! Afterwards, we rode the White trail which is considered “moderate.” Total, we rode about 10 miles of difficult terrain.
Amid whispering profanity at Mother Nature, my mind was exploding with thoughts.
- I frickin’ love my husband. He lets me guide our physical outings. He respects (and leaves it up to me to tell him) when I can’t do something. At the same time, he assumes I am up for anything unless I tell him otherwise. I love his confidence in me. I love that he wanted me to ride with him, love that he felt I could do it, and love that I felt challenged yet safe with him.
- Our ride was amazingly peaceful and quiet. It was impossible to not be present. My heart wanted to absorb everything about the experience. Being in nature always feels like where I belong.
- Renewed faith in human kind. We ride a lot of different bike paths and many times there are riders who ride way too fast and then yell at others for being in their way. (One made me cry once.) But here, everyone was kind. Since the paths are single-track, a rider can’t easily pass you. Rather than the usual, “left” that I hear on full bike paths, I was greeted by bikers slowing down and then gently voicing behind me, “when you’re good, can I pass you?” Once, when I stopped to catch my breath, a rider came along and slowed down to make sure I was okay. These are the types of people that make my heart happy. Kindness is so simple.
- My intentions have come true! On this ride, I realized fully the strength my body has gained over the last months of working out. It strongly held me up on many twists and turns. I was in control of my body and bike. The longer we rode, the better control I felt my body and mind had over rocks and tree roots. My body proved to me I am flexible as it moved in a variety of directions on this ride. Most importantly, I am healthy. Rheumatoid arthritis will always be a part of my body, but right now, it is taking a backseat and letting my body be all the things I want it to be.
Setting intentions is something I have been doing for a long time. During my worst days with RA, I set the intention to one day feel better. At times, it felt like it would never come to be, but I kept believing. What about you? Do you set intentions and believe they will come true?