Home > a new spirituality > When something that once was a joy is now a joy-sucker; a tale of when when my “I get to do this!” turned into, “Do I HAVE to do this??!”….

When something that once was a joy is now a joy-sucker; a tale of when when my “I get to do this!” turned into, “Do I HAVE to do this??!”….

Ever started out on a new adventure, full of excitement and anticipation, thinking, “I GET to do this!”?   I had a moment like that last week….. yes, a moment, that’s about it.

I teach hip hop camp downtown in Calgary EVERY single Stampede.  If you haven’t been to the Stampede here, there’s really no words to describe other than; NUTS – especially if you’re paying for parking or commuting on our city train.  So instead of joining the insanity this year, I decided to ride my bike to work.  Seemed like a good plan…..

I started off my first day full thrilled at my new found life of bike commuting.  As I road our convenient bike path by one of our busy highways, I could see the traffic backed up.   I compassionately thought; “Suckers!”.   I was a new member of an elite group of bike commuters.   As I took a deep breath of the fresh morning air and looked at the lush green surroundings with flowing water beside me.  I thought, “I GET to do this!!”.   I rode at a good pace, taking on each hill with ease.  I arrived at work Monday morning feeling fresh, rejuvenated and alive!   After a day of dance, the ride home was at a slower pace, but still enjoyed at every moment.

Tuesday morning, not quite the same excitement…. maybe after a morning coffee..   My muscles ached, but I set off again, this time having to muster up some enthusiasm.  “Yes, I get to do this”, I said to myself.    After another full day of dance, I left the studio completely exhausted to begin the ride home.   Little did I know what the ride home would entail.  A strong headwind would not let up from the moment I started to petal until I reached my door step.  Every moment was another decision to again push the petals into another rotation.  The resistance burned every muscle fibre in my legs.   I felt I was going at a snail pace, making it seem like I would never escape the struggle I was in just to keep pushing.  After the hour-long commute home was about to close, I tried convincing myself by saying; “I WANT to do this……”

That’s not what I thought the next morning when I awoke.  A train ride stuffed with no room to breathe, or an extreme parking fee was starting to look good.  I put on my bike helmet, repeated to myself again; “I WANT to do this…” , maybe one more time…”I W-A-N-T to do this….”, and off I went, this time to ride for an hour in the rain.   There were no moments of looking around at the beauty, soaking in the smells of the flowers and the river.  No, it was raining, I was wet.  Today was all about just getting to work.  It was down to business.  There was no “joy” in the journey.  What once looked eager was now replaced with a “going through the motions just to get the job done” attitude.

Today there was no more “I get to do this” or even “I want to do this”.  It had turned into, “Do I HAVE to do this???”.

The ride home ended each day with a big mother hill to climb.  The gears were getting lower and lower each day on that hill.   Each day, the same  biker would pass me going up the hill, always at increasing speed.  My attitude towards this gentleman would grow gradually worse.  I believe today I uttered something like; “Show off…”, as I had to get off my bike to walk the rest of the hill.  The song, “The Climb” started to go through my mind; “It ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s on the other side, it’s the climb”, Miley sang….. “OH give me a flippin’ break!!  It sure IS about how fast I get there!  Get me off this hill now!!  ‘Climb’ my sore tushy!”.  My thoughts were on a downward spiral.

I didn’t think I’d get on that bike the next day.  But I did, and I was in for a surprise.  Instead of rain or headwind, instead of the hills whippin’ my backside, I found myself in a place of contentment.  I strode with an easier pace that allowed me to again be able to breath in the beauty around me.  I wasn’t trying to win a gold metal for speed.  I found a rhythm that set me off and running almost without effort.   In this peaceful moment, I heard this small voice inside say; “You only get to this place through making it through times of resistance.   You only learn how to make it up the big hills when you choose to continuously tackle them”.

Who knew something as ordinary as a bike ride could reveal so much to me?  I could easily see how it translated into my day to day life.

  • how often have I started strong, filled with optimism,  bursting out, “I GET to do this”, only to find curve balls and opposition sucking the joy of what’s been put in my heart to do.
  • how often have I found myself in a pattern of trying to convince myself back into the joy I started with; “I WANT to do this…. no really I do!!….. right??”  What started with passion becomes programmed day by day mundane tasks, causing me to wonder why I’m doing this in the first place?
  • how often have I taken on big challenges, or “hills” per-say with so much gusto, instead of with pace, that I wipe myself completely out of being able to even take on the small challenges?
  • how often have I resented resistance in my life?  No resistance, no muscle development, no strength.  I guess Miley was right….

Which state are you in right now?   “I GET TO??”   A slightly less enthusiastic; “I WANT TO”?, or a regretful, “DO I HAVE TO??”

Categories: a new spirituality
  1. July 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Hey Connie,

    Fantastic Post. I can’t count the times that I’ve dropped the ball on “Do I have to?” That moment is such a crucial moment in the outcome of success or failure. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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