Buying a bike saved my life

Healing yourself, loving the world

Buying an exercise bike saved my life, but not how you expect

Actually, this isn’t a story about exercise bikes; this is a story about decisions, intuition, struggles, and circumstances. Our lives are like tapestries, woven with colorful, varied threads of decisions, intuition, and circumstances. Sometimes we feel assured and on the right path; sometimes all we can do is find the next step.

I was pretty ill

Beginning in 2004, I began developing a set of symptoms that were irksome and tiring. I attributed it to my four pregnancies, three children, extended breastfeeding, and too many nights with not enough sleep. But the symptoms kept building, until one day I got out of bed, aching from head to toe, and said to myself, “I don’t want to live another 50 years like this. I need help.”

I don’t know if that voice inside my head was mine or one of my guides, but I listened and started researching healthcare providers and  options. Working with a professional homeopath didn’t get me any results, which was odd, because he had helped all my kids. So I found a doctor in D.C. who had an alternative health practice and made an appointment.

The relief of Lyme as a diagnosis

I remember sitting in the doctor’s office when he suggested I had Lyme. I felt relieved and actually energized. I had a diagnosis that I knew how to handle. My body wasn’t turning on itself; it wasn’t all in my head; I could get better.

But then the doctor started telling me about people who had died and that he had a new Lyme diagnosis himself, and my energy dropped. He handed me a long list of things to start doing, and my energy dropped some more.  I remember standing at the check-out counter, supposed to schedule my next appointment, and I had a very clear felt-sense of two paths unfolding in front of me. The path to the left was staying with this doctor, and getting worse, much worse.  The path to the right was going in another direction, and getting better, much better.

This isn’t the person for me

I was physically shaking and felt scared, but I left without another appointment. I drove a few miles, pulled over, and made an appointment with a practitioner I’d heard about from a woman in an athletic equipment store.  I had been chatting with her a few months prior when I was buying an exercise bike, and she had told me about a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner in Frederick who specialized in Lyme and had really helped her daughter.

I made an appointment with him.  We ended up working together for probably six months, with about 50% relief. I then went on to three other modalities over a few years and cleared most of my symptoms.

Tapestries of decisions, intuition, and circumstances

In my mind, my getting better was a beautiful combination of serendipity (talking to the lady in the bike store), intuition (I knew I didn’t want to stay with the D.C doctor), and making some decisions (I need help, this isn’t the doctor for me). But at the time, I didn’t know it. I was just looking for relief, one small step towards feeling better.

It’s an illusion to think that we are in complete control, and life will unfold as we plan. It’s also a fallacy that we are complete victims to our circumstances or that our path is predestined. And it’s a trap to think once we decide, we can stop paying attention to what feels better. Our intuition and decisions are always working for us, but it’s not a one-time event.

We just don’t know, and yet we do

Life is a series of decisions intersecting with apparently random, but not really random, events. We don’t know how the world works, but we can pay attention to what our internal compass is telling us. It’s a glorious synergy of intuition, faith, and personal power. And when we’re struggling, we try to find that one next step that brings relief.  We don’t have to know the whole path ahead of us, just one step that moves us.

Photo by Janice Gill, Unsplash

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Deborah Donndelinger

Deborah Donndelinger

I'm writing from Maryland, but my heart goes out all over the world. I'm cheering you on as you tackle the hard stuff, embrace the easy, and show up to help others.