The Lighthouse

By Martie Robinson. Martie offers Jin Shin Do acupressure as part of The Haven’s bodywork and massage team.

Oh my God! I made it to the lighthouse!

Two or three years ago I thought: I want to take better care of my body. I used to love bike riding. Maybe I could again. My bike expert son, Randy, found me a bike and he fixed it up for me. He tried the bike out and I bought a shiny new helmet. I looked at my bike several times each year, but that’s about as far as I went… NOT what looked like fitness nor even progress.

This year my girlfriend, Gisela, suddenly started riding her bike to get fit. She rode all over the island. I saw how healthy and happy she seemed to be getting. If she can do it, what’s wrong with me? So I took my bike out into the yard, put on my shiny blue helmet, and mounted the beast. I felt scared and wobbly and after going about 200 feet my legs felt like huge quivery blobs of jelly. I thought I was going to fall off and break something important. After I managed to go up a small incline not far from my house, my heart pounded loudly and I thought I might actually die. How horridly out of shape it turns out I am, I thought. Was this ever going to be a challenge for me! ( I don’t think I have even been ON a bike in about 10 years.) Various friends told me stories of several older Gabriola women who ride here and ride there, seemingly all the time! Gads.

So, I decided to keep my bike locked up at Haven, where the terrain was less demanding. I was not going to allow myself to dwell in discouragement even if I did not make this a daily event, like Gisela was able to do with her amazing German self-discipline! I recorded, on my calendar, each day that I went for a bike ride and where I rode to: 5… 6… that’s 7 days… My legs were getting stronger and my balance improved significantly. It definitely was getting a little easier AND it was still SO hard! I was not feeling that freedom that I recall when riding my bike when I was a kid… not noticing much of the incredible Gabriola scenery, except when I stopped to turn around to ride back to Haven. ‘Well, Martie you need to face it, you’re 63 years old!’ I told myself.

My son Randy came to visit me. Randy is passionate about bike riding. He’s out on one of his many bikes whenever he can be, tearing through the forest and down logging roads, etc. I told Randy that at last I am using the bike he set up for me, but I wondered if he could adjust the seat for me because it is not comfortable. “It pushes me in places that I don’t like to be pushed.” So off to Haven we drove to fix the seat on my bike.

Randy adjusted the seat and then he wanted to take it for a little test ride. He spun around through Crystal Lane and back to the Haven parking lot where he said: “Geez Mum why do you have it in such a hard gear? No wonder it’s so difficult!” I told him that I only knew how to shift into 2 or 3 gears, and I guess they were hard ones. Randy showed me how to do things differently. He left my bike in a better gear AND I still was not convinced that my bike riding would be any easier.
Today I thought: ‘OK. It is over a week since you have been on that bike! Get back at it Martie! It’s a beautiful day. No more excuses.’ I drove over to Haven, dallied about chatting with friends, having half a cup of coffee, aka “avoiding”. I said to Tina “If I ever manage to ride all the way to lighthouse that will be THE day I feel successful.”

Finally, I was out of excuses and I donned my helmet and set out through the parking lot and along the road. I was totally amazed how much easier it was to ride that bike! The pedals just slipped around like I thought they should! I experimented with 3 or 4 new gears and got a feeling for them. Before I knew it I was just whizzling along (sic) with the air feeling fresh on my face! I noticed the beautiful fir branches waving in the sun, the grazing sheep, the houses and yards – all sorts of things that I was unable to notice when I was riding my bike the hard way! When I suddenly realized that I had easily met the more challenging parts and was definitely going to make it to the lighthouse I was so excited!

I have been thinking isn’t that how I do my life sometimes? I try to figure it out on my own, find solutions. I will work really hard at it… wondering: WHY is it so hard for me? Why isn’t it getting any easier? What’s the matter with me that I can’t seem to do it better? I struggle, depress sometimes, want to give up, and then, when I actually choose connection with others, I can sometimes discover some new gears, some new ways of doing things.

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