Riding a bicycle for me is more than a chance to get a little exercise, it becomes a chance to quiet all the noise in my brain and pay attention to what is happening right now. So while I peddle my way up Chickering Rd next to Percy Warner Park, I begin to wonder, "Who am I?"
This seemingly simple quandary merely opens the gate for more questions to follow. What defines me? What defines who I am? Does something I do, define who I am? Can I be defined by simple actions or gestures? Am I simply a "counselor" who works at The Estuary? Was I simply a "student" when I was in school? Is it as easy as looking down at the bike I am riding and saying, "Clearly I'm a 'cyclist'." I feel as though I am constantly looking for external validation of "me." Always concerned with the doing and less concerned with the being (experiencing).
I was scrolling through the channels on TV one night and came across a hospital drama where they were going to have to amputate a women's leg to save her life. Her husband was horrified and kept yelling, "you can't take her leg she's a runner!!!"
What I witnessed from that TV show was how tied to actions our sense of self must be. This woman is a runner and if you take her leg, you take her identity because she can no longer participate in what defines her. This TV show demonstrated to me that there is a belief that our identity is something that can be taken away.
What if the experience of "me" is not external and cannot be taken away? What if "I am" is all that is needed for an identity. My ego has become so wrapped up in needing external validation that I often lose touch with the true experience of "me." I am a counselor, I am a cyclist, I am a student...these are all external actions that I certainly do or have done, but they are not who I am.
The conclusion I have come to is that "I am" is simply, the experience of me within my life. "I am" can be inserted into my work as a counselor; it can be allowed to show up in my work as a student; and "I am" can be present when I ride bikes. So as my ride comes to a close I begin to realize that it is not the riding of a bicycle that defines who I am, it is merely a place where "I am" is allowed to show up.