Letters From the Eastside – Letter Fifteen

Dear Father Correctional,

I know it has been a long time since my last letter to you. It’s hard to send these sometimes because the universe is wide and vast and I, myself, am not sure whether I believe in the afterlife or not. I suppose these letters are simply built on intention. Or more to the point, I suppose these messages are written with the intent of letting go of what was and recreating the things I wished would be.

I was remembering the time when we took the training wheels from my blue and yellow bicycle. I can see this in my head. Then again, these were different times. I was not dressed in knee pads or wearing a helmet. No, this is back when people fell, got hurt, got up to dust themselves off, and then they lived to tell about it.

I remember my frustration. No matter how I tried, I just couldn’t balance myself. Honestly, I remember thinking that I would never be able to ride a bike like the other kids.
I thought that maybe this had something to do with me. Or, maybe this had something to do with the way I was sitting.
Maybe this had something to do with my fears of falling. Maybe that was it.
Maybe I was so fixated on falling that I created a bias for myself.
Maybe I was afraid that I was letting you down. So, the harder I tried to balance, the more I’d fall to the side.
My guess is there’s a moment of recognition. My guess is there’s a moment that comes when the body corrects. Confidence finds comfortability. And that’s it.
Then there’s the time when we realize we can do more than we thought we could. 

I remember you standing beside me. Your hand on the back of the bicycle, holding me up to make sure that I wouldn’t fall – and you pushed me along.
I was going and going and pedaling and pedaling and do you know what? I had no idea that you let go. I had no idea that I was doing this myself.

There comes a moment of realization when we learn that in fact, we can take off. We can ride around. We can achieve our balance. Then there comes a time when we come to the understanding that, in fact, we are capable.

Of course, I remember when I looked back and realized that I was riding my bike by myself, my fears of falling returned. This happened quickly which, of course, is the reason why I fell – the safety was gone.
I was on my own. There was no catching me if I fell. And that was my fear.
What if I fall? What if I get hurt? What if I go down in front of the other kids and start crying?
What if I‘m judged? What if I’m not right?
Who will be there if I fall? Who will defend me from the laughs or the insults?
Who will help me find the courage to stand back up again? 

I will say this – I can remember the look on your face when I was pedaling away. I was doing this all by myself. I remember your smile. I remember your approval – and maybe this had something to do with the fall. Maybe this had something to do with the distraction of my balance and maybe this is why I fell. 

I fell because I was afraid of so many things and the surface mind was only able to see one thing – that I was on my own.
But the cognitive mind sees differently. The cognitive mind sees the countless different attachments to pain or fears and unsafe worlds. This is where the distraction of balance comes in. This is where we lose to the falls of our projections and fears.

I will say this: I have lived different lives in this single lifetime. Out of all of my experiences, one of them that I wish I could relive is the time when I turned around to see you watching me proudly as I rode away – clapping your hands, smiling and cheering me on. 

I think if the world allowed us a do-over and if I could re-do this, I would focus more on the pride of this event. I would focus more on the fact that the reason this happened is because I had the ability to make it so – that I made you proud because I was being me – not because I was able to ride my bike, not because of anything else – but because I learned the secret of balance.

The secret is to eliminate the distractions and cancel the irrational fears,. We have to erase the unneeded or the unnecessaryness of “who thinks what” or the “what ifs” and just keep going.
Just keep pedaling. Stop worrying about the outcomes and the uncontrollable.
Keep going. Don’t stop pedaling because this is what helped me get underway.
This is what happened when I found my balance and began to ride my bike and this is why I was able to do this on my own for the very first time. More than just riding a bike, I think that’s what you were trying to teach me.  

I learned that I can’t be so worried about everything else because nearly everything else is out of my control. I have to stop worrying about the loss of approval. I had to stop fixating on the loss of acceptance.
The truth is we all fall. We all scrape our knees from time to time. Or, we bang our heads. We all hurt and we all cry. We all have moments of shame and despair.
But by all means, we have to get up. We have to keep pedaling. We can circle back if we want to re-look at something (so we can learn) but, above all, we have to focus on our balance. Otherwise, we lose to a self-propelled fall which can otherwise trick us into believing a mistruth – that we just can’t do it.

That’s what you were trying to teach me – that I can do it.
I get that now. Maybe I got this a little late in the game. But hey, at least I got it.

Well, I’m fine on a bicycle now. But I will admit there are times when I feel off-balance. There are times when it would be nice to see you jogging beside me, just to help keep me up. So I can pedal some more and after you let go, I can look back and see how proud you are.
Perhaps that’s all the help I need; to be shown that I can do it; that I can do anything.
I can do anything at all.
I just have to find my balance.

Anyway, it is morning and my side of the globe is experiencing a big heat wave. It’s hot and sweaty and the green from the trees and sunrise is beautiful.
I know there is much for me to do. I know there is more for me to see and experience.
I know that I have some mountains to climb and things to overcome (so-to-speak).
But I also know what it’s like to realize that I can do this; that I can just keep going without looking back to realize that my safety net is gone. 

I was thinking about the end of a song that goes, “Someday we’ll all be gone but lullabies go on and on. They never die. That’s how you and I will be.”
I like this idea.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other and I know that this is life. I know that the universe will take this letter to wherever it goes. Maybe this is nowhere.
Maybe this is just a note to make me feel better or regain my confidence. Or, maybe this is me being honest. This is me, trying to get back up and dust myself off – so I can try again – and keep you proud.

I love you.

Love always,
Your son


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