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Life Lessons Learned on the Trail

Dear Rudy,

You asked for stories about travels in which one's blinders come off, causing you to see the world differently. My blinders came off relatively close to home.

Several years ago, I was a newbie mountain bike rider and was, well, less than mediocre. I couldn't seem to stay on the trail. Trees jumped in my path. I couldn't seem to dodge a rock. The harder I concentrated, the harder I hit an obstacle! One day, as I was struggling to stay on a mountain trail just a few miles from my Salt Lake City home, I kept thinking, "Why is this so hard? I rode bikes as a kid!"

Finally, my riding companion stopped, turned around, and looked at me with exasperation. "Janice," he said, "don't look where you don't want to go." The front wheel, he explained, would follow my eyes. "Don't look at the rock -- look at the space between the rocks. Don't look at the tree * look at the ground beside the tree. And BY ALL MEANS, don't look OVER the cliff."

As he said that, I had one of those cosmic "ah-ha!" moments. That bicycling axiom has become my metaphor for living my life, for choosing happiness. I had spent much of my life focusing on what I did NOT want. I was inexorably drawn to it, like a bike to a tree. But then I told myself, no. I will look where I WANT to go.

Rudy, thank you for your inspiring lessons from the road. I hope you enjoyed my lesson on the trail.

Janice Salt Lake City, Utah



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