I did it! I snuck away with my husband. Grandparents watched the kids and we headed to Sedona. Not as simple as it sounds but, hey, not so hard either.
I knew my fitness guru of a husband wouldn’t want to drink hot toddies by the fire each night so I schedule a mountain bike ride at sunset.
At dusk, we meet our guide George who tells us he is 73 years old and Apache. He's got a ponytail and isn’t fazed by my husband's 6'7" frame.
George screws the flashlights on our bikes and says, "We don't do many night rides." Duncan and I share a silence that communicates, “Why aren’t we sitting by the fire drinking a hot toddy?”
We take off down a single track trail. George follows.
I’m covered in layers to protect myself from the cold and the creatures lurking in the desert bush, so naturally I start to sweat.
And then she appears.
You’re never going to be able to keep up. You’re going to hurt yourself. You’re an idiot. What is wrong with you?
Ahh, her again.
George must sense my inner dialogue because he yells, “Katherine, let’s take a minute.”
And then he shares:
Find your Buddha. Stay in the center. Enough resistance for your wheel to feel the ground and enough spin to have fun. You’ll know it when you feel it.
Point the arrow. Look ahead enough to know where you’re going without getting bogged down in what’s right in front of you.
Find your line. Pick the smoothest course but trust yourself and keep pedaling when you hit some big bumps. Which you will.
And the most important, Don’t let the freak out of the box! Everyone doubts themselves. You can do this.
And then he adds, Remember, I’m a professional!
Instantly, my anxiety subsides. A calmness surfaces. I repeat every instruction. I have the ride of my life.
Ahh, that voice. The invalidating, shameful, mean one that shows up when we're anxious. I know that voice was designed to keep us all safe from danger. Yet I think more harm can come from listening to the tape recording in our head. Maybe we’ve confused playing it safe with the importance of feeling safe?
George helped me feel safe. No doubt about it. He helped me feel my fears were valid. I trusted him. Which allowed me to trust myself. I'll be grateful to George forever for the gift of his guidance.
When you feel safe, you can quiet that voice. When you feel in good hands, your real voice of strength, lightheartedness, clarity — whatever it looks and feels like for you — can emerge.
On the trail. On the stage. In front of the ones you love. In front of the whole world.
I would love to be your trusted expert who helps you find your Buddha – I mean, helps you find your voice — and squash the one who shows up to protect you from so-called harm. You can communicate with confidence. You can do anything you put your mind to.