Truth be told, I’m not a very good cyclist. I’m too timid and I’m not a natural athlete. I don’t cycle to enjoy the sensation of being at one with the open road. I cycle because I like to take my exercise sitting down.
My bete noire is one of these things…
On summer mornings I take my route past the River Lea, and there are several of these gates. I have to slow down and waddle round on tip toes, pelvic bone hovering above the saddle, whilst impatient cyclists wait for me to be done and out of their way. I hate that I can’t cycle round these gates. I feel like the child who cycled into every single orange bollard on her Cycling Proficiency Test. I feel pathetic.
One day this week, I approached the gates with my usual trepidation, expecting to fail for the -enth time. But as I came closer, a voice went through my head: Don’t Look At The Obstacles. I kept my gaze on the empty square of air beyond the gate – the place I wanted to be. And I got around!
Now, that particular gate is my friend. Five times out of ten, I can just about get round that one. But there’s always the second one – the one with the overgrown brambles that restrict my room for manoeuvre. That’s the one that always whips my ass. But I kept the same thought in my head. Don’t Look At The Obstacles. And I made it round that one, too!
I hope it’s not too much of a stretched analogy to compare this to sewing. It’s easy to feel restricted. A long day in the office, the bobbin that refuses to co-operate, the occasional downright failure of a make. Occasional? Who am I kidding? I think that for every success, I add a failure to my scoreboard. The yin and yang of sewing.
But the key is to keep swimming – or keep sewing. Clear your head, don’t look at the obstacles, take it one step at a time. It’s all about the journey…
Any tips on how to keep going when times are challenging?