An Open Road

by Liz Jansen

open road

Life changed on August 27, 2014. That day began more than 18 months of stillness, reflection, and learning. I knew the Liz that was a confident, free-spirited, 60-year-old professional woman riding her motorcycle solo across the country. I didn’t recognize the Liz with limited mobility, having to ask for help and rely on others, let alone knowing how to live like that. Unless of course it was motorcycle related. Then asking for advice was not an issue.

That crash on an isolated country road in Alberta was traumatic, but it was merely a catalyst. As I stood there brushing the dust off my riding suit with the one arm that could move, surveying the mutilated remains of a beautiful and trusted motorcycle, I felt only curiosity and a deep knowing that my route had changed. And gratitude that I wasn’t more seriously injured. Shock kept me from feeling physical pain, but aside from that, there was not, and has never been, anger, remorse, or sadness.

So began a series of events that dragged me through foreign territory. Through circumstances beyond my control, I surrendered my independence, mobility, plan for an open-ended 18 months on the road, and my motorcycle. I was relegated back to the starting point with no home, no car, and very little work.

In a stroke of divine timing, I’d begun my studies in Energy Medicine the previous summer on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest, drawn to it because of its simplicity, logic, and keen ability to get to the root cause of personal challenges. In a healing practice that combines ancient wisdom with modern science, it addresses the root cause of physical, emotional, and spiritual trauma.

The practice complemented the coaching, facilitation, and teaching work—and even the writing—I was already doing and brought me full circle to the healing work I’d begun as a Registered Nurse in 1974. Not only were the teachings the exact tools I needed for personal healing, but they fit seamlessly into my motorcycle inspired work, applicable to any aspect of life.

Contrary to what many thought, the goal of my big trip wasn’t to ride through the Americas. That was a wonderful side benefit but the motorcycle is my teacher, not my raison d’étre. It appeared in my life when I was 16 and has been my greatest teacher ever since. With pure delight, I am riding again, on an aptly named Triumph Tiger—Triumph to symbolize overcoming challenges and Tiger the wild spirit in each of us.

I’d set out to understand who we are before we’re shaped by our culture; to understand my ancestors and their migrations, and how their thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs formed my values and perspective.

On that August day, the roles I identified with had been removed in a dramatic, definite, and unexpected way. Now it was up to me to discover the person under all the layers. And it was traditional ancient wisdom conveyed through my energy medicine studies that guided me through a treacherous stretch of road—a practice that I now weave into my work and share with others.

Make no mistake. The intervening time has been rife with challenges. It’s also been personally enriching and continues to unfold in a way I couldn’t have dreamt possible. Ahead lies a blank page, an open road, and uncharted territory. Now it’s up to me to heal the past, live in the present, and create my future.

Care to join me?

Let me know how you see your open road. Email Liz.

photo credit: Peak to Peak Highway via photopin (license)

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Author, writer, student and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.

10 Comments on “An Open Road

  1. Inspiring to see a woman with determination and turn a set back into a positive. I never heard of ‘Energy Medicine’ but it does sound intriguing.

    • Appreciate your comments Sandy. It really has been a time of reflection, recognizing patterns that no longer serve, and then doing something about it! It’s a life long program. 🙂

  2. Always challenging when your journey takes an abrupt change of course! As a triathlete, fellow coach and motorcyclist who has had to deal with many injuries in my life as well, I can feel what you’re going through. Life tends to bring you what you ask for……or at least what you need, whether you realize it at the time or not. Seems like you know exactly what to do now with what you’ve got 🙂 every turn in the road – an opportunity! Love that it’s a Triumph Tiger btw! So appropriate! All the best.

    • You know of what I speak Peter! When those unpleasant things happen, we say, really? But once they’re happened, the only thing to do (IMHO) is to get up, learn from it, and get going again. All the best to you too Peter. Thanks.

  3. The last of my children left the nest last autumn. They are all eagerly pursuing their own lives and dreams now. Using the very wings that their mother and I tried to give them. So rewarding! But an empty nest can feel like an empty heart. Now what? I’m still working that one out. When life-changes come, sometimes clarity comes quickly; sometimes it takes years. The empty nest is also like an open road. I am learning that the key is to stay present in the Now. Search, yes. But also have patience. You can’t rush or force the process.

    • Hi Jeff – Big life changes come to us through different ways and they’re always challenging, even when we look forward to them. “Sometimes clarity comes quickly; sometimes it takes years……You can’t rush or force the process.” One of life’s greatest lessons. Thanks for sharing. Best, Liz