by Liz Jansen
Often I find I have to look no further than my own writing for the answers I’m looking for. Given the reflection and healing I’m focusing on now, my reading took me to my own book and the perfect message that I needed for the day.
Here’s an excerpt from Life Lessons from Motorcycles; 75 Tips for Maintaining Body, Mind and Soul.
A motorcycle is a piece of metal and other materials on two wheels. Yet, so many people shrink away from performing even the simplest maintenance, thinking it’s beyond them. Motorcycle maintenance is objective and rational, with no human emotions to complicate things.
When sparked to life, power is created. Basic components assembled into a logical sequence make it run—not unlike the human body. But those components need care and attention for the human or mechanical machine to operate effectively and not wear out prematurely.
- Air filter. Air is drawn through the filter and mixes with gasoline to provide the right fuel mix. If the filter is dirty and enough air can’t get through, mileage and performance drop. While you also need good clean air, it’s important to filter out negative thoughts and emotions as well so they don’t usurp your energy.
- Oil and filter. Motor oil is the lifeblood of your engine. There are many parts moving rapidly (check your tachometer to see just how quickly), and, without that lubrication, your engine will seize. Over time, dirt, debris, and particles, which accumulate in the oil, are kept from damaging the engine as the oil passes through the filter. Regular oil and filter changes are the simplest, least expensive way to produce longevity. Byproducts of metabolism can build up in your body, too, and it’s important to give it adequate rest and nutrition. While you can’t change your oil and filter, you can take steps to let only healthy ingredients into your body.
- Cables and wiring. These are a bike’s internal communication system. They transmit signals and power through an intricate assembly. It’s much like your nervous system, which collects information to help you react, think, and function, then sends out the appropriate instructions to the applicable body parts. Frayed wires or worn cables need to be replaced or the signal won’t get through.
- Gauges. Speedometers, tachometers, and the like give an objective reading of how the engine is performing, guide your behavior, and aid decision-making. It’s not such a straightforward read when it comes to assessing how your body is performing, although it will “read” differently when you are unwell, angry, or upset.
- Tires. Two small contact patches keep you grounded and upright. Make conscious choices to spend time in activities that ground you. Losing that connection risks body, mind, and soul.
- Spark plugs. These marvels generate the spark that meets with fuel to create combustion, which causes your engine to run. No spark plug, no combustion, no running engine. You have something that ignites your passion, too. Pay attention to what that is and follow it. Keep the spark alive.
- Drive chain. It’s great to have all that power in your engine, but sitting there, idling, won’t get you down the road. Your motorcycle will have a mechanism to transmit power from the engine to the wheels. Drive chains (and the sprockets they mesh with) wear over time. Keeping chains clean, lubricated, and at the recommended tension extends their life and prevents engine wear. Words and behaviors put your power into action. Experiences trigger emotions ranging from anger, fear, and worry to love, compassion, and joy. Your response is up to you and will determine how your power is transmitted.
- Brakes. They stop or slow you down to avoid danger. They also wear over time and need to be replaced, so check them periodically. Know your own safety mechanisms and how to recognize when they’re not working for you.
- Battery. The battery is a holding unit for the power that allows your engine to start and powers peripherals. If it can’t hold power or isn’t kept charged, it dies. Pay attention to your own energy level and make sure you’re replenishing it. It’s a balance, and it’s often easier to give than to receive.
- Operator. Someone’s got to be in charge of managing all these parts. Don’t leave it up to anyone else. Take control.
Performing basic maintenance on your motorcycle is not difficult and gives you a whole new appreciation for its capability. And it’s a great teacher. Learn from it. You can apply the same lessons to your life.
Purchase the entire ebook Life Lessons from Motorcycles—75 Tips for Maintaining Body, Mind and Soul available for any e-reader. $2.99.