Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Them Good Vibrations

A couple of mornings ago, soon after arising, I found myself to be in a foul mood. Just to give some context, for me, this denotes; the sort of inner landscape, that can lead to even inanimate objects, being included in the snare of my intolerance and simmering ire. There was no particular "reason" for this angst - though it's fair to say, of late I've been processing a goulash of feelings & considering how they pertain to past, present and future.

There are times when the presence of a seasoned witness is invaluable - this was not one of those times. For you see at other times, the mere presence of someone else, is apt to rub me the wrong way. Nobody should be subject to this, through no fault of their own - suddenly they'd find themselves on the receiving end of Misérable!!

I wouldn't  say I'm "anti-social," (except of course, during those moments when I am) - but when the dark clouds of "restless, irritable and discontent" descend upon me - I'm definitely "anti" - anybody in my face. At these times, "well-intended" advice, suggestions, attempts to "cheer me up," fly like a lead zeppelin.

I decided to incorporate some of what I had decided, were necessary "errands," into a morning ride on my motorcycle. I had to work, beginning mid-afternoon, so this wasn't going to be a "long ride" - but it most certainly would traverse more asphalt; than was minimally required, to complete my errands.

I have experience with meditation, walking/exercising, journaling,  and it all plays an integral part of my wellness - that is of course, when I actually consistently incorporate these things, into my wakeful day. None of the above would occur this day - that part of me that perhaps, would benefit the most, was making a strong case for taking a pass (which is summed up thus: "Fuck it!!)

I got my riding gear on & went downstairs to the underground parking. There held in suspended animation, was seven hundred odd pounds of trusty steed, just waiting to be unleashed.

I put the key in the ignition - it actually went through my mind, "am I in the best frame of mind to be considering being in "care & control" of this motor vehicle? I pulled out the choke, gave the throttle a quick twist and hit the start button......

The sound of this beast waking from it's slumber (all 1500 c.c.'s of it) amplified by the acoustic properties of the underground parking was... well enough to wake the slumbering - including me. The sound and palpable vibration, instantly transformed my disposition. After a brief warming of the engine and stowing my stuff in the saddle bags - I would soon be ushered to a particular form of freedom on my Milwaukee born, rubber and steel - Magic carpet.

Yes I'm aware that I am blessed to have the option to seek such freedom. I'm also aware that my inner freedom cannot be defined by whatever I own. Nor can lasting inner peace be attained through distraction, adrenaline rushes, or seeking to alter my inner state, through outside means.

I have run the gamut... I have sought first solace and eventually oblivion, through alcohol and drugs - that represents 15 years of my life.  Over the now last, over thirty one years of my "sobriety" - I have compulsively exercised (in the form of running) obsessed on attaining the magazine physique, spent a small (maybe not so small) fortune on all sorts of "quick - but not cheap" fixes. Sex, drugs, rock & roll - spirituality (in all shapes & sizes) - all of it, cobble stones that comprise the road; I incrementally chose. None of it necessarily problematic (except when it is being used explicitly to escape myself)..

There is no motorcycle fast enough to out-run myself. But there is no crime in seeking those "zen-like" states - and whatever brings you there. I'm not advocating everyone go out and buy a motorcycle -I'm not advocating anything.

I know full well, there may come a time when I can no longer handle the bike. One day when I was out at the Harley shop there was an older gentleman (meaning "older" than me!) and he was looking at the 3 wheel Harley "trike"..... They are pretty cool, however just the same, he was struggling with his present reality. I was commenting to him - "what a beautiful bike", he was looking at! His concern was "well it's either this, or my riding days are over - my bike is too damn heavy for me now!!

I felt for him - I sensed his love of riding and imagined all the experiences he'd had on his other bike. Compassion and shared humanity, maybe not what one would expect to find on the sales floor of the Harley shop - where it could easily be lost in the leather and machismo - but there it was just the same. An irony reared it head - this iconic symbol of freedom and non-conformity (the Harley Davidson motorcycle) though able to give one, hundreds of thousands of miles of open road, soaring heart and exhilaration; it is still not able to by-pass physical realities (that would also apply to emotional/spiritual).

My mental/emotional/spiritual state is as "they say" an inside job. I fully intend to enjoy this motorcycle while I can.

As time is inclined to do - it slips by pretty quickly; before I know it, I could be considering how I'm going to customize my electric scooter and more importantly. how will I get it to produce that guttural engine sound, and give me more of those "good vibrations!!"

Humility's Whisper

The next line of Desiderata reads:

"If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself."

Who hasn't compared themselves to someone else at some time or another? Even embedded within the question, is a comparison with others. The duality of "right/wrong" comes into play, in as much as,  if what I am doing through my comparison, is to try and make myself feel better about myself - then you (or something about you) is found to be wrong, so that naturally that would make me right.

The opposite is also frequently employed, by putting others on a pedestal, it can continually reinforce beliefs of inadequacy, I hold toward myself.

While it's true we can all be "mirrors" for each other, there is nothing to be gained by pumping myself up or tearing myself down based on comparison with others. Though it can appear ever present, life is not a competition. If what I'm interested in doing, is to forward my own evolution, then I can use my own life as the bench mark for comparison.

It's not my business what other people are doing with their lives or how poorly or well, they are doing it. I don't need to be "the best" at something in order to enjoy it. It's a flimsy measure at the best of times. If I were to base my self worth on my perception that I'm so exceptional at, lets say, playing the guitar - the moment I realize there is someone more skilled than me (which is another perception) the basis for my self worth vanishes.

For the record I'm not an exceptional guitar player and don't consider myself "the best at anything." I suppose there's no one that could hold a candle, at being me - but then again, some days I'd wonder about that too!

R. O'Neill (June 19, 2018)

Monday, 18 June 2018

Change The Things You Can

As I continue with the exploration of Desiderata:

The next line reads:

"Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."

Vexation is defined as: "the state of be frustrated, annoyed, worried.

Certainly I don't have to look far to encounter "loud and aggressive" people - I work casually in a residential care/rehab setting - health care is a cornucopia of dysfunctional people & contrary to what you might think, often the lion's share are among the staff.

People who are far too identified with their position in an arbitrary hierarchy and who have an inflated sense of their own importance, based on illusory power within a union work environment. This doesn't begin to address what they might have "been through" in their lives which has formed their persona. 

No question extended exposure to some of these folks is the epitome of "vexation." My short term strategy is spend only as much time in their company as necessary. I get away from the floor on my breaks and get some fresh air and/or read something uplifting. The last thing I want to do is spend my break in a staff room where the collective comes together and turns the air toxic in moments.

The longer term solution is going to be get myself out of there. I was away from it, while I travelled for 6 months - coming back, made me aware of how desensitized I'd become while I was working there more regularly and how undesirable it is to be back there.

It's not immediately clear what the alternative is, but it's clear one must be sought/created. Life is too short for this malarky.

Having said that, and from the other side of the coin. Reading this reminds me, that my acting out in loud and aggressive ways, is a vexation to someone else's spirit (quite likely my own as well). The searchlight of my assessment; most certainly must shine upon and within me, as well. Truly the wisdom attained from such writing as Desiderata, is far more powerful, when one applies it to themselves.

There is nothing to be gained by my dwelling on the perceived short-comings of anyone one else. But it is up to me to learn to look after myself in the presence of these loud and aggressive sorts; optimally without meeting their aggression with the same energy.

There in lies the challenge and for me, the healing path.

R. O'Neill (June 18, 2018)

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Speak Up & Listen Deeply

The Desiderata goes on to say:

"Speak your truth quietly & clearly; and listen to others, even the dull & the ignorant; they too have their story."

Once again their is attention drawn to the need for each to speak their truth. I know in my life I have lamented "not being heard" .. but further analysis revealed that I didn't necessarily ensure my voice was heard. This is a spoke on the wheel of my reticence to take responsibility over all. After all is the end result - "I wasn't heard," based in you're not listening - or me either not speaking or taking measures to make sure I was heard. Will I fall on silent scorn and feeling wounded - if "told" to be quiet - or will I stand in my power and refuse to silenced?

On this matter (as it indicates here) the truth can be spoken "quietly and clearly." In other words there is no need to yell. Certainly I have resorted to such tactics - on occasion when I believed my voice was falling on "deaf ears." Trust me, turning up the volume does nothing to be heard. It is my experience that a clear expression of my truth can practically be said at a whisper - such is the power and presence of the truth. It will find it's mark without the need to beat someone else over the head with it. It won't necessarily change anyone else's point of view nor their behaviour (and isn't meant to). My actions and decisions are to be based on what is true for me. It is not necessary that anyone else "agrees" with what I'm doing. It is beneficial to me that it be clear where I stand. I'm not trying to convince anyone else.

Next there is the supposition that others be "heard" as well. That their truth is equally important. I suppose the reference to and framing some as being "dull & ignorant" - is to emphasize that everyone has something to say -worth hearing. And that they certainly are (no matter who they are) entitled to be listened to.

I would caution the kind of judgment that would label anyone "dull & ignorant" in the first place. To cast someone in such a negative light and then in turn use that as a justification to ignore them is not okay. I would suggest that such a practice would be more indicative of the arrogance of the one doing the judging than any accurate appraisal of the one being judged.

There is no just cause to deem anyone "dull or ignorant" and certainly not to conclude they have no life experience, current views or visions for the future that could be of great value to any discussion.

They get up in the morning, put their pants on (assuming they wear pants) one leg at a time; the sun shines equally upon them, and if the two of you stand in the rain - I don't care who you are, you will get wet.

If you are so enraptured with what you perceive to be your own gifts (and believe that some how gives you an elevated status over others) this hierarchy exists only between your ears; further if it is then supposed to be just cause, to refuse to even be curious about, the gifts of another - you might consider acknowledging these gifts you wear like a badge - with a modicum of grace and gratitude. Chances are you've done little or nothing to develop them - so what makes you think, you deserve some special recognition.

Those that cast dispersions and judgement upon others are the true embodiment of dull and ignorant. It serves no useful purpose to single them out. It does merit an ongoing self-assessment for any behaviour such as this from myself. I am fully aware of the pain such behaviour causes and that is not how I want to present in the world or the contribution I wish to make.

R.O'Neill (June 16,  2018)

Friday, 15 June 2018

The "Gold" Standard

My apologies for the delayed continued treatment of "Desiderata."

The next line reads:

"As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons."

Similar guidance comes via the bible - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

In the case of the Desiderata, there is the added provision: "without surrender." For me, what that is suggesting is that (I) or one, not abandon themselves in order to attempt to gain or maintain the good favour of someone else. ("To Thine Own Self, Be True....") Consider how powerful and impactful societal grooming has been through espousing the virtue in being self-sacrificing. Certainly that can become a problem if taken to extremes.

Personal experiences have taught me that while people I might encounter in my day to day life, may present as "disagreeable.." - it certainly doesn't serve to butt heads with these people; especially if I need to continue to work with them, or this person is on the other side of the counter, where I hope to then get "service." Defensive/offensive behaviour certainly will wreak havoc in personal relationships.

Of course in the case of someone that is an abusive presence,  I don't surrender my safety/well-being, it's up to me to remove myself from these situations, whether it's a personal relationship, an employer etc. "Being on good terms," does not mean I'm willing to "take in on the chin."

The opening phrase begins: "As far as possible..." - this I would suggest is not necessarily a fixed way of being. It might look different from one day to the next (even toward the same person). All I can offer is my best (as determined by me). I don't do so with any intention to be taken advantage of; or, to be treated poorly. I can and will, utilize a fully functional "No."(when it is deemed necessary).

The other side of the coin is, that seldom (if ever) is my being disagreeable warranted (let alone effective). Truly I only hurt myself when I behave in a hurtful manner toward someone else. 

Unquestionably when I have felt hurt and not had the where-with-all in the moment to take ownership of that, I have lashed out defensively and have been every bit as offensive as my perceived perpetrator.  Those "good terms" need to exist within and toward myself as well. Consider what would there be to "defend".. if I believed there was, nothing to defend?

So I'm advocating for myself, some sort of middle ground. I neither wish to be a door-mat, nor do I wish to be a reactionary, retaliatory perpetrator either.

I can certainly be kept busy monitoring, "my own eye for a sliver, rather than pointing out the log in someone else's."  
Some continued focus on developing some humility, self-empathy and compassion can go a long way toward how I relate to others.

I am practicing a respect and valuing, of my own inner peace. In doing so, the importance of this inner state of being, can be preserved by not being so quick, to "surrender" it, when faced with conflict. So then, how can I be true to myself; while preserving my inner peace, at the same time not giving in "just to keep the peace - which ultimately leaves me in a state of turmoil.

Again, "all persons" - includes my (one's own) self.

R.O'Neill (June 15,  2018)

Friday, 8 June 2018

Piece-meal to Peace

I felt inspired to use the piece: "Desiderata" as daily writing prompt. Therefore I will take it one line per day and write into/around, what ever that theme contains. This then could include my past or current experience, and anything that comes through for me, at the moment I'm writing.

This study/treatment of this old poem operates under the premise, that there's no need to "reinvent the wheel.." In other words, I can relate and express myself "originally," upon something that already exists.

So to begin:

"Go placidly amid the noise & haste, & remember what peace there may be in silence."

To begin with placidly is defined as: "not easily upset or excited."

So then the suggestion is that in the presence of "noise & haste" - I maintain an air of composure. Certainly as an urban dweller, I can vouch for the incidence of both noise and haste. Particularly now with (as noted in the media) "unprecedented volumes of construction is occurring" - roads and residential/commercial. Many are in a great hurry, to go - (God knows where) so much so, they are willing to place themselves and others in jeopardy.

Just today, I popped out (on my motorcycle) to do a couple errands. I was on my way home when while in traffic, and waiting to make a turn; I could see, that though I was proceeding to turn into the closest most available lane ... the vehicle turning through the intersection from the other side was not intending to do so. I yielded (my "right of way") the women driving the car making the turn waved and appeared pleased with both her getting one car length of additional asphalt and her perception of the courtesy extended by me. The point is I didn't "give" her anything... in the interest of staying alive I didn't insist on my right-of-way as to do so would have got me creamed while she executed her illegal turn and cut me off. Of course there are times when I offer courtesy on the road - I'm not however interested in having my epitaph read: "I had the right-a-way!!"

So what I'm saying is I can contribute to the noise and haste (which admittedly I most certainly have done) and continue on occasion to do - though I do make a concerted effort to preserve my inner peace or I can choose differently.

I most definitely "remember" the peace available - in the silence. Although on some occasions, it would be have I have obliterated it with considerable inner (and at times, outer) racket. There are countless examples in my life whereby I have tasted the sweet peace in the silence - but not far from the "cushion" where it was attained I go about creating an uproar. Naturally, I've often rationalized said ruckus, with a heaping helping of righteous indignation. All I've ever managed to attain thus, is an explanation for why I'm feeling so agitated and irate - in other words the righteousness did nothing to bring about any peace - it just gave me an excuse for my foul disposition. And as I consider it now, most often (if not always) just compounded my dour mood.

As far as I can determine - the noise and the haste, are not going away anytime soon. All I can do, (drawing from the wisdom of another old standard) - "Accept the things I can't change" & have the wisdom to know, the only one I can change, is myself. In the above mentioned traffic scenario, there was no "incident," because I chose to deal with the situation proactively. I haven't been back on a motorcycle a very long again - but I definitely adapted a certain vigilance, from when I frequently rode my bicycle. In some ways the two modes of transportation, have some parallels. One need assume complete, responsibility for their well-being on the road. The truth is, you as a cyclist or motorcyclist, are largely invisible, in the consciousness of many drivers (that is until you're being picked out of the grill of their car) - so I never assume, I'm being seen. Also due to a skewed sense of entitlement, far too many drivers, believe they have more right to the road, than you do, and they will take it. Whether this is derived from plain ignorance or lack of attention,  in the intersection, is no place to have such philosophical debates.

I'd maintain that a general practice of stress reduction and attention to well-being better prepare one to weather the onslaught of noise and haste. I can leave early - so that I'm not "running late" and contributing to that haste. If I'm inevitably going to be late, then I can try and call ahead and take the pressure off myself and just arrive when I get there.

Another key element for me is to deal with the feelings that are triggered when a situation arises while navigating through the world of noise and haste. I certainly feel gratitude when I am guided to successfully avoid a traffic altercation. But I also feel the surge of adrenaline, a mixture of fear and anger. It's up to me then to determine, do I need a "time out.." in the motorcycle scenario, to continue in traffic, afterwards, if I'm still agitated etc. doesn't hold me in good stead for further negotiating upon the road. The same would be true with personal interactions. I need to find a way to get back to my centre and place of calm.

"Road rage" does not make any form of positive contribution to the world. Neither though is it practical to commence meditation in the middle of downtown traffic. It is possible, to employ some relaxing breaths, at the next light or if need be, pull over somewhere & just chill.

It is indeed a gift to avail myself to the peace in the silence - it is also a very powerful awareness for me to realize that the loudest voice breaking the silence, is my own.

R.O'Neill (June 07, 2018)

Thursday, 7 June 2018

In a Crowd of One

Why all this emphasis
On Self-love?
Think it folly?
"New age" B.S.

All is 
Said and done

"Friends," family, community
One way 
Will all disappear 

Dare to question 
Their tenets
The group mind

Speak your mind
What is the truth
Your experience

To exercise
Your freedom 
To be

Choose to focus
Your energy & resources
On your own life
Follow your 
Own path

You will immediately know
The lash
of Social exile

To court 
Authenticity & integrity
Is to invite
The crucifixion
By the collective 

Make no mistake
They love your 
Not you

They wear your silence
As the warm embrace

Not only 
Will they not
Your assertion
You will receive
A leper's welcome

All association
Will abruptly 
Be severed

The gravitational pull
Of the collective
Will ensure 
That no one
Will remain 
By your side

"Maybe others - but not you...."
Your absence will scream the loudest

So you see
You're all you've got
In all the gaping maw
Of an infinite universe

Don't deceive yourself
About the illusory
Of anyone
Walking with you

No one
Will join you
In exile

Given this
You might consider
A higher quality
For yourself
And go about
Whatever God
You can.....

R. O'Neill (June 07, 2018) 

Monday, 4 June 2018

On Blowing Your Own Whistle

For those that are not familiar with my book "What Goes Around Comes Around;" it features the account of a 40 consecutive day labyrinth practice that I undertook.  Just as the walking meditation practice of a labyrinth provides a pathway that begins on the outside and penetrates to the centre,  the book also contains much deeper, richer content. The story of walking the labyrinth each day is only the most superficial attribute of the book. The book reveals candidly and transparently,various  challenges throughout my life, as well as those that I encountered, during the walking each day.

It shares questions I was asking about my life and about life in general. Various insights and revelations that I received during this process, are made available to the reader. Each chapter is entitled with a different attribute that contributes (one way or another) to personal growth. I "tell all" with respect to what I learn of the human condition (mine) the reader can relate as they see fit. At the end of each chapter are 15 - 20 guideline questions formulated around the chapter theme, that people can then use as templates, for examination of different aspects of their own life.

I share of myself so that it is clear, that though I was participating in a form of "meditation" (which some consider a part of a "Spiritual path;"  that I was then "writing" a manuscript, which at the time, I envisioned would be my first book, that now, I have successfully self-published; my life has been full of some significant challenges (some of which were life threatening) none of which, were allowed to become roadblocks to my fulfilling this dream. I want this to be inspiring to others. So that they can look at the dark roads I have traversed and yet various successes were still possible - I believe this true for anyone.

The completion of the 40 day practice, the writing (and numerous rewrites of the manuscript) were milestones of accomplishment in themselves. It didn't stop there, in fact in many ways - it only began after attaining these completions - (a metaphor contained with in the labyrinth's path & the title of the book)

Next came (and continues to be true) the ongoing promotion of the book, said another way, ongoing self-promotion. This in itself, is a journey that for me, has been replete with self-discovery. Essentially, if I forego the promotion of my book - it largely comes to a grinding halt. Though the book currently is cloaked in relative obscurity, without my focus and intention, it would drop off the radar entirely.

So you see it is my continued valuing of my previous effort, the book itself, belief in myself and the book's value as a tool to help others to identify goals/dreams of their own, determine what both their personal assets and those qualities (or limiting beliefs) are; which will help them on the road to realizing their dreams, or make it's attainment more difficult, respectively.

I do this knowing full well, that mine is not the variety of book that is for everyone. Oh anyone could utilize it, but many will not. Naturally to begin with, not everyone will resonate with my writing style or what I have to say. I also realize that a book that offers the story of and templates for, self exploration, won't necessarily be abundantly popular. It is a "road less traveled" for a reason - many don't care to go there. I don't always want to go there - even now, there are "blind spots," that I will come to discover about myself, and I know from experience, I'd rather have them be discovered in someone else. Still I know that as uncomfortable as some of this self-discovery can be - it most certainly leads to a great many rewards. But not, without doing the work of discovery first.

Why do I spend my time and effort on a book that might be the written equivalent of pushing a boulder uphill? (in terms of marketability)  Because I believe whole-heartedly in human potential - mine and yours. It doesn't matter where you've been and what you've done (or haven't done) - your life can be considerably different, no matter where you are starting from. I have experienced that in my life, as I have worked at digging myself out of my own personal hell, and drained the swamp - I began to dream of being of service to others that wish to do the same. This book is my first overture to that end, which combines my life experience, and my passion for writing.

Maybe I could make more money in a different genre, it doesn't matter, that's not where my heart is. This whole matter is my personal demonstration of living "my dream.." not someone else's. In living my dream I wouldn't dream, of not, "walking my talk." That's why I have no qualms about sharing my foibles - just because I am walking toward and in various ways living my dream, doesn't mean I don't step squarely into a big pile of, you know what, along the way, sometimes I'm the guy that built the pile. But I still am reaching for my dream and trusting in what I believe in.

The quest has been full of frustration, failure, unforeseen challenges, thrills, surprises, unforeseen support and opportunities; I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

There's never been any guarantees - there still isn't. I have a stack of boxes full of my books in my bedroom (in that sense you could say I'm "full of myself") - but as they say, "No guts, no glory" - I also have about as many books (gracefully stored for me) in Northern Ireland -left behind from the launch of the book over there & awaiting my resuming it's distribution. These mountains of books are both monument to a modicum of success and taunt me as talisman of potential, "close but no cigar!"

Just to further illustrate some form the challenge has taken, I was at a "Health/Wellness/Intuitive Arts expo one weekend - there I sat with my books for two full days. I believe I sold 4 and gave 2 away. Talked to a great many people, got "exposure" I wouldn't have had otherwise - who knows where that might lead. Meanwhile right beside me are two young guys selling rocks, raw crystals and jewelry made of the same - most of the weekend, there were people lined up three deep and they were taking in money hand over fist.

I have to admit at times I felt bewildered, befuddled and a little envious; It reminded me of the old Charlie Brown Halloween special (every house he went to he lamented: "I got a rock!" - yours truly's version would have been, "I got the table beside the guys, with the rocks!!"

Still, that is their passion (I presume) and I have my own - I will continue to follow my inspiration and work with and represent, what is true for me.

Friday, 1 June 2018

A Ride With Transformation


I did mention that I believed this return to riding might well provide fodder for ongoing anecdotes, today (Friday) ... for the "Spiritualist's" in the crowd: TGIF - reinforced my notion. Of course I'm inclined to weave a story around & about, most anything. I see the metaphor's and parable-esque potential - I hope that some (if not all of this) comes through & if nothing else; at least provides an amusement respite.

Today was to be the day I picked my motorcycle up from the shop. I had taken it out on Monday afternoon; so they would have it first thing Tuesday morning, to work out some customizing transformations, I had envisioned. I was to have the bike back by "Wednesday" eve. Dropped the bike off without a hitch and was then looking forward, to the return to ride, with the modifications. I received a call on Tuesday that wasn't what you'd call a inspiring progress report - some of the parts that had been ordered over a week prior (for rush delivery) had not arrived, not only that, the centre that sourced the parts had "lost" the order - all of which meant ... reordering - now the shipment they wouldn't even see until Thursday (a day after the promised delivery date). Upon hearing this, I applied the spiritual dictum: "Shit happens" & rolled with the punches. I received a call on Wednesday; that part way into one of the installations, the first nut that fastened the fender to its bracket apparently "stripped" - this meant the need for some sort of ingenuity, on the part of the technician - which both meant, it would still be successfully and properly completed ... but it was going to take longer. Now Friday at closing time, was the new projected finish and completion projection.

Why the modifications you might ask? I'd be happy to offer an explanation. After riding it fairly frequently over the last month since I purchased it - I began to realize what would make it more comfortable (ergonomically - which equals safety as well), the handle bars it came with; known as "drag bars" - (were a drag) they pitch your torso forward and my arms were pretty much locked out, I found after longer rides this positioning was tiring on my low back and neck and shoulders - hence new handle bar configuration. I was no "drag racer anyway!" The new ones affectionately known as "mini-apes" (versus full "ape-hanger" bars) are infinitely more comfortable for me and they have the added distinction of looking pretty decent too. Full "apes" are really high - I wasn't sure I wanted that extreme (nor the extra expense if I tried it and didn't like it).

The addition of the saddle bags allows for a little storage that doesn't have to be slung on my back - again - a feature that prevents additional fatigue. The "sissy bar" actually will allow for an additional bag - for road trips and could provide back support for a passenger (should I ever decide to take on the added responsibility of carrying someone).

There was no one available to give me a lift out to the shop today (logistics around afternoon rush hour traffic and the closing times, made it a little too tight for my liking). I had decided I could take a public transit bus out (the 45 min. ride to the town where the shop is located and that would put me in easy and reasonable cab distance for the remainder). I had begun the journey and while waiting for the second bus, I checked my phone and a message from the shop indicated everything was still on target for pickup just before closing.

I got off the bus at the town centre - both not knowing it's continued route beyond there, and where that would leave me, and I reasoned it would be an "easy" place to get a cab. I went into the nearby Starbucks for a snack and to kill a little time.

I started looking up cabs online - most of them listed were based back in Victoria. Each that I called informed me that they had no cabs out where I was, and that it would be at least an hour to get one out to me. No good, that would put me past closing time - a flaw in the plan!!

This would be the "where there's a will there's a way.... segment. I "Google" mapped a walking route - it indicated it would take fifty-odd minutes and might get me there after closing. I was both determined to get my bike today and sure I could cut time off that ETA (despite wearing heavy jeans, my heavy leather riding jacket and Blundstone boots - of course I was dressed to ride not "power-walk") -still, how else was I going to get there?!!

I began the walk; at least it was an overcast day and a little cooler than the temperatures we have been experiencing lately... certainly more conducive to this hike. I called the shop to tell them my situation ... both to let them know I'm coming - might be there at the 11th hr. now that I'm walking and to see if perhaps they'd offer to pick me up. No such offer was forthcoming so ... left.... left ... left ... right ... left...

I was nearing what would be the next turn which I was hoping would give me some idea of where I was, relative to the shop and whether I needed to pick up the pace, or continue at my current cadence. I was waiting at the cross-walk for the light to change, when I noticed a fellow sitting on his Suzuki - "crotch-rocket" motorcycle, I crossed in front of him and suddenly was struck by inspiration...

I got to the other side of the cross-walk and turned to look at him.... I walked toward him. Fortunately his light was still red. I asked him if he'd be willing to give me a lift to the Harley shop - "I'd give him $20.00.  He looked at me a little surprised... but he pulled over to the curb to let the rest of the cars go through the light, which had just changed and heard me out. He wasn't yay-ing or nay-ing - at which point I became a little conscious of - I can't wait too long here, if he says no, I still need to walk and I can't spare too much time.

He indicated he just wasn't sure what to do with the backpack he was wearing.... it would be in the way. I had thought that was the end of the line... then he said, "I just live around the corner, let me go and drop it off and I'll come back for you." Wow!! Cool!!

I stood at the corner waiting .... then began wondering, how long do I wait - to either allow him to get back or to preserve the time I need to continue walking if he doesn't come back... I didn't have time to consider it, has there he was at the intersection just waiting for the light to change.

He rode across to me and indicated that the riding/driving route, would be to turn right around and go the way he'd just come from... so "should you get on now, while I make that turn, or you cross the street and I'll pick you up on the other side?" "This will be very different he says..."

I opted to meet him on the other side of the rode. I have some experience being the passenger on a motorcycle - so I know to lean with the turns etc. I still have no idea exactly what way the walking route would have had me go (I'm not that familiar with all the streets out there)... but he got me there with time to spare - now I was actually early!!

I got off at the corner in front of the dealership - so he didn't have to deal with more turning around (with me on the bike) - I realized that he wasn't that accustomed to carrying a passenger. The first clue being that continued mantra of his..... "this is really different!!!" 

I thanked him (and my angels - for getting me there safely) and for saving the day! I jammed my hand in my pocket to get him the  money I promised him .... He said forget it, I'm good! Are you sure, I said, a deal is a deal!!? "No, it's fine," he says - I'm glad to help out a fellow biker!!" Wow, what a fortunate turn of events to find this "random" guy, of all those that I might have encountered! 

When jamming my hand in my pocket I caught under my finger nail on a watch-chain - that was a tad uncomfortable & I tried to hide both my grimacing and the free flowing blood as I bid my Suzuki driven guardian angel - Adieu!! A small price to pay to complete my day's mission & fortunately I had a box of bandages in my pack; that I had just bought on the way out - as I soon realized I needed to cover a raw spot on my heel; where hiking in these same boots, (and short socks) had created a hot spot.

I arrived inside to be informed the technician was just out with my bike, test driving it as part of their final inspection. So I enjoyed some iced tea they had on tap and wondered around in the sea of chrome and exotic paint jobs.

One more surprise before I got under way with my bike. There is a deficiency with one of the brake callipers - not an immediate hazard, however "something they should have found during the pre-sales inspection - so they have ordered the parts, will call me when they are in, to book the install & it's on their dime!!

A side from a light spattering of rain... it was like day and night riding my newly configured bike. I'm not an aggressive rider anyway - just the same I took it easy, this is the first rain for a while which means the roads could be greasy in spots and I wanted to ease myself into, the handling of the new bars etc.

My personal take-aways - I could have "made due" with the original bars. I actually voiced some concern about them when I was first looking at the bike - I decided to let the riding experience be the final judge. In hind-sight my "intuition" was telling me, this bike was not the perfect fit. I let my friend and the sales guy (both whom have considerably more riding experience than me..) give rise to self-doubt. The thing is, they have zero experience living in my body - so their experience is not invaluable - but I ought not allow it to override my guidance. It was suggested I could ride them for this "season" and change them out over the winter if need be. Yes, I could - but that would mean an entire riding season of not being comfortable ... mounting discomfort/fatigue, can become a distraction and a definite hazard - no dice, they will be changed now! My growing conclusion - DON'T SETTLE... you, me ... all of us, are worth far more, than second best!!

While I was chatting with the service manager outside while getting ready to leave; the parts manager I had been dealing with, came out to ask me how I like the "bars.." I said they look fantastic! It was then I noticed my original mirrors were back on the bike. Generally, what was taken apart being replaced is a good thing, except when you had ordered and paid for new mirrors!

I spoke up immediately and she said yes you were meant to get new mirrors; I saw them when I unpacked your parts order - just a moment, I'll go in and get them and put them on before you leave..

Ah... now that's what I'm talking about!! I strive to "encourage" people to live their integrity into being. I understand oversights are made and things often (maybe never go "exactly as planned") - I am grateful to be growing in my capacity to have more compassion both for myself and others.

Life is an apt teacher - and I, one that is brimming with potential, for ongoing growth and expansion.