"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Taking the hills

There's a bit of our ride from home to the uni that I love or hate - not sure which. 

We're coming past the playground on the gravel path.  Ali points, explains in Ali-language - I think he's rating the slide as one of his favourites.  "I know, bubba, the best slide ever!  Not this time though, love - we have to get to work.  We'll come back another day".

The path heads downhill and I avoid the gully in the middle of the path made by rain.  I touch the brakes but we are still picking up speed.  Ali flings his arms wide and inhales all that fast-moving air - there are no words, even Ali words, for this.  I scan to check if someone is coming down the path towards us (as far as I can see before the path twists off into the bush), and if it is clear, I push harder, getting the most out of the downhill before we swing up the parabola of the hill, dropping gears quickly (but not so quickly that we lose traction) while turning sharply to the right. 

If it works, we hit the hill at a decent pace, and chances are I won't have to get off and push halfway up.  I'm quickly down to first gear and pushing slower and harder as we inch up the hill. 

Ali makes an insistent point, then turns to look at me to see why I haven't responded yet. 
"We're going up a hill, bubba" I pant.  "It's hard work!" 

A part of me just wants it to end, just wants to say "stuff it" and take the car next time.  Part of me doesn't want Ali to see me struggling like this, and sometimes 'failing' and having to get off and push.  But we are here now, and there is no way to get to work this morning except up this hill.  I pull the handlebars towards me with each push of the pedals.  Already this hill is easier than it was last week, but no matter how fit I get, it will always be a slog.  I've learned now that from halfway up, I can take the path around the estate - it adds maybe half a kilometre to the ride, but at least it dilutes that hill.  There's another dip, earlier in the ride, that I skip altogether, zig-zagging through little streets to follow the ridge line.  But really, can I blame anyone for the hills, when I've chosen to ride a bike?  And while my thoughts are going in circles like this, my legs are doing the hard work, and suddenly we're there and cruising on the flat, and I can hardly remember what it felt like to be pushing uphill. 

Now that we're in our own space at last, I've been thinking a lot about the things that may have gone wrong with El Prima and I.  One of those things, I suspect, was the habit (ok, my habit) of blaming, of looking for some excuse or outward reason when things were hard.  I'm re-reading Pema Chodron, When things fall apart,  and her take on the principle, "drive all blames into one".  That doesn't mean just swapping blaming others for blaming ourselves instead - rather, Chodron suggests that the whole blaming process is an attempt to reject whatever unpleasant feelings have arisen, rather than just feeling them and letting them soften us and open us to compassion for ourselves and others.  Rather than just taking the hill and feeling what it is like to sweat and pant and work hard, and sometimes to stall and have to get off and push. 

There's no one to blame for a hill, it just is, and it is up to me to work my way up it, or to navigate another way.  And I don't really need to hate it or love it, just to take it as a hill.  This is what my new life feels like - freedom and hard work in equal measures. 


  1. This is so true... Eckhart Tolle talks about a similar good and bad dynamic, and to just accept the hill as a hill, and not a good or bad thing. Thanks for reminding me, I needed this today.