Last week I went to New York City for recording my next album /si-úm/. After many delays and cancellations due to the pandemic since February 2020 I was finally able to make a trip to the city. Although New York was definitely different with many restrictions, it was still great to feel its positive energy with a hope of getting some normalcy back to our lives with patience.
After 4 days of intense work in a recording studio I finally had to have a free day to relax, so I decided to walk outside, enjoy the beautiful spring weather, and absorb the city. I noticed many cyclists on the roads. Some had a serious look on their faces as if they were in a hurry to get from A to B as typical busy New Yorkers. Others seemed to just enjoy cycling for leisure.
I thought with excitement: ‘This could be fun! Maybe I should make this to be my new thing to try today’. There is a network called City Bike on which you can grab a bike and park it in any of the hundreds of spots in the city. So I decided to try it, which was an easy decision. As I walked to the bikes, I noticed new thoughts arising. 'What if I have an accident?’ (a valid concern), ‘I don’t know what I am doing with the City Bike system. How do I start? Maybe it is just easier to walk, which I normally do and know exactly how.’ (avoiding trying something unfamiliar), ‘The system is complicated and unfamiliar, I just want to give up.’ (thinking negatively)
I stood in front of the bikes, listening the battle in my head. After a while I got to a point when I could be more neutral about my arising negative thoughts. I felt that I had to fight against my negativity and rise above it. Yes, it is just a bike. It was me wanting to avoid unfamiliarity and a new territory that I never explored.
So I downloaded an app (which took a while), registered (which I wasn’t sure whether it was worth it yet), chose a payment option, and read the instructions on what to do for 5 minutes. I carefully observed and copied what others did, taking a picture of the QR code and unlocking one. I felt excitement growing, ‘You are taking action. Keep it up!’ I unlocked a bike, adjusted a the seat, and decided to go to the Chelsea market which seemed to be fun and I had never tried. I sat on the bike, took a deep breath, and hit the road.
Once I realized that it was so much safer than I anticipated as bike lanes were mostly separated from roads for cars, I felt relief. Those traffic jams in New York also made me feel that going around on a bike was 10 times faster. I was wearing fancy clothes (which were not meant for cycling), but I didn’t care. With the spring breeze on my face I felt liberation, freedom, accomplishment, and joy, which I would have missed if I didn’t make that first step from the initial resistance.
The first step
I realize that I encounter these obstacles of thought much more often in daily life. New things always seem to be complicated. My mind craves to do the things I know and avoid new ways. Yet I also learn that the joy that comes from overcoming any resistance can’t be compared to anything. I am sure I am not alone in this finding. I am curious about your experience of this resistance and how you felt after taking the first step. Please share it with me! I hope that we will get stronger by exercising the muscle of flexible mindset more in our daily lives by taking more first steps into the unknown.