by Liz Jansen
All of us want to change the world for the better. The most effective way to do this is to change the perception of how we perceive problems. By looking at challenges differently, we can turn them into opportunities—for healing and sustainable, positive change. Motorcycles teach us how to do this. One of the reasons they’re such good teachers is that they’re free from emotion and judgement. They simply are.
These practices help us transform our selves and our world.
A motorcycle isn’t handcuffed by the role it’s given by its manufacturer. Its power isn’t affected by the color of paint, customized graphics or cosmetic accessories. Those things influence whether it’s attractive to your eye but it’s the engine where the power resides. And the engine isn’t influenced by body paint.
- Forget about first impressions. People come in all different sizes, shapes and colors. You can dress yourselves up with the latest fashions and accessorize to your heart’s content. It’s your spirit that is your source of power and no window dressing changes that.
- Drop your roles. My current motorcycle is classed as a Dual-Sport adventure bike. Many people, that means heavy off-road riding. I bought it for long-distance touring, reliability and its ability to carry a load with ease and convenience. Had I chosen my purchase based on the marketed purpose, I would have chosen differently, yet this is the best bike for me at this time. Focusing only on the characters in your life story, whether it’s your own or that of a parent, spouse, child, sibling, boss or co-worker, is focusing only on the role they play in your life; not who they really are. You can go through life living a role, or you can be who you are.
- Avoid comparisons. Whether the comparison leads you to think you’re better or worse than someone else, in either case, it’s not healthy. If you must compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to an earlier version of your self.
- Respect scars. And don’t dwell on them. Shed the stories you’ve built around them that tie you to a disempowering role. As heartbreaking as it is when physical or emotional injuries happen, the scars are merely visual reminders of a lesson. Every bike has a few dings and scratches that tell a story of lessons learned. While it’s not a good idea to collect them, everyone who has pushed their limits with the object of growth has a few scars to show for their efforts.
- Show off your assets. You’re unique and have a combination of gifts to offer that no one else has. Play to your strengths. While outward appearance can indicate your purpose, your true power comes from within. Don’t try and change so people will like you. Your own character will disappear. Be yourself and you’ll attract the right people into your life. They’ll love you for who you are, and you’ll love yourself more too.
- Respect age. With youth or age, comes wisdom. Learn to recognize it. Vintage motorcycles are revered for their simplicity and have a way of developing closer relationships with their riders. They offer a very different experience and perspective than modern motorcycles. The rich patina of stories and appearance develops only through time and experience.
- Value diversity. Imagine a world where the only motorcycle available was blue with a 500 cc engine. How boring! Diversity not only creates interest, each motorcycle serves a specific purpose. Like motorcycles, people come in many different shapes, colors and sizes. Leveraging their strengths spreads positive change.
Start practicing the ways of non judgement and change your perception of yourself and your power. Be yourself, not a character in your own life. That’s who you were meant to be.
In The Four Insights, Dr. Alberto Villoldo draws from indigenous cultures to identify the practices that allow us to change our perception of the events that happen to us, remove the association with cause and effect and learn to live in harmony with our world.
Reprinted from November 2013