I remember sunny days and wide open spaces, cycling with my Mom in Pennsylvania when I was younger. The sun, the breeze, the movement, were all feelings I'll never forget. For the last five years or so I've really gotten into cycling as part of my weekly workout routine. It's a fantastic workout (if you dial in) but also is a time that I can clear my mind, listening to the music and instructor and just be in the flow.
There are two classes in particular each week that I just will not miss. One of them is my Monday night class, which always leaves me feeling better than when I came in. Last week, the instructor was taking us through a hard ride and cautioned us not to think of the "recovery" time as a time to tune out and back off, but rather as a crucial time of activity that allows you to move into the work to come. I nearly fell off the bike.
You see, the last month or so I've been deliberately spending time working on myself in ways I haven't in a long time (maybe ever). I'm being quiet and listening to myself for long enough to hear something, which is admittedly uncomfortable at first. I have been in my own kind of recovery, but as I've been going through it I'm thinking: "This is HARD!" This recovery is just as difficult as the effort - isn't recovery supposed to be easy?!
Turns out no.
Exactly as the instructor said, the recovery is active in its own, very important, way - it's just a different kind of effort. But this effort is absolutely critical. Without this period of time where you are actively recovering, listening to your body, your soul, and then eventually deciding to move into the hill again, you would never be able to actually get on the climb that's coming. In order to make an effort, you have to work through the recovery.
So many times I have not let myself recover in life. I'm all go! go! go! and don't give myself a moment to stop and listen before I refocus and get busy again. Doing that now, at first, felt uncomfortable. My default was to keep looking around, to create outside of myself and to go do and be and fix.
For now, until I feel ready to get on the climb again, I'm going to be spending time in active recovery. I'm going to give myself the gift of time enough to really listen to what I think and feel. Remembering that all my best ideas always came from this place anyway.
I wonder, how can you support an active recovery in your life? And what will you discover on the road?