An Open Road
by Liz Jansen
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.