Consecutive Days Riding: 3 Consecutive Days Blogging: 4
Today’s Mileage: 10 Total Trip Mileage: 22
On the stationary bike again with legs that are feeling a bit stronger. I find myself wondering why I haven’t been doing this (exercise) all along. Why did I have to create a Blog and a virtual Pilgrimage to motivate myself? I often tell my students that if I had to summarize Psychology into a single word that word would be motivation. Quite often a person knows what they need to be doing (exercising, giving up bad habits, adding new friends), and yet these insights are not enough to get them to change anything.
The therapist Albert Ellis wrote about the importance of levels of insights in explaining therapeutic change. He noted that Level 1 insight was recognizing that we have a problem, that level 2 insight was recognizing that we have some degree of control over the problem or our reaction to it, and level 3 insight was a realization and acceptance that it was not going to be easy to change and that we will have to do the work ourselves (not our partner, a therapist, or a hero can do it for us). It does not matter whether that change is a physical habit (like exercise), a cognitive habit (like being overly judgmental, or using irrational thinking) or a emotional habit (like anger). In fact some psychotherapy research has shown that emotional habits like anger can be some of the hardest to change.
Many people come into the therapist’s office hoping there will be an effortless and fast method to relieve them of their distress. There is no “magic bullet” it takes commitment, persistence, and hard work. I believe it’s the same way with spiritual problems. You must first realize that you are experiencing a spiritual disconnect, that you are “wandering in the wilderness.” Secondly you must realize that it is within your power to address this distress (by seeking help and guidance, or returning to old “tried and true” methods, or seeking a new path). In essence, you must give yourself over to the spiritual journey and its process. Lastly, you must realize that no one else is going to review your life, reestablish that lost (or new) connection only you can do that in the depth and the way it needs to be done for you! Many a church sign and/or self help group (Blogs and talk shows too) will shout out their offers to help and their perscriptions. My suggestion is to explore their offers, embrace them if they fit, walk away from them if they don’t.
In a discussion with a friend, I noted that a subheading for this Blog could be: “Read this Blog, ponder this Blog, but don’t follow this Blog.” I hope that my Blog might help you gain some insights, that it might help you move on making changes. However, I don’t care how you manifest your journey, whether on a bike, in a church or a gym, praying or volunteering in your neighborhood. I just care that you manifest it some way and I hope that you will share it with others and that it will in some way help them on their journey.
As the wheel spins and my legs show sign of tiring I smile at my last train of thought. By telling you to not follow my path, but to find your own, am I not being prescriptive, the exact thing I am trying to avoid. I’m reminded of the Yin and Yang symbol, that the more we try to do one thing (not be prescriptive) the more it takes on a prescriptive feel. Of course I hope you find the path that’s right for you. If you want to climb on your bike or tread mill and let your mileage race forward to catch up with me (I don’t have much of a lead and I’m not going particularly fast) feel free to ride with me. Feel free to race ahead or fall behind, or turn off at some junction in the road and head for another destination. I will smile, wave farewell and bid you a safe journey as you crest a ridge and disappear or fade into the distance.
Ten miles… not a bad ride for today. With a deep sign I step away from my virtual pilgrimage and into my real daily journey. I wish everyone a joyful day and a peaceful night, till your next visit…
Ask yourself… am I struggling?
Ask yourself… how do I have control over the struggle or its outcomes?
Ask yourself… am I ready to start the journey and set off on my own?
A special thanks to the photographers associated with Panramio for the beautiful scenes from along the roadside.