Editor’s note: Dylan Peterson started a 10,000-mile bicycle journey across the United States in April. He describes the first parts of his journey below. You can follow Dylan @MyLifeBiking on Facebook and Instagram.
It’s a fact that every day holds endless possibilities. Knowing that — and believing everything is progressing toward the best possible scenario — is a powerful way to live.
In the past, I’ve stifled myself by fearing others’ judgement. Potential criticism has held me from doing what my heart wants.
Negative forces will always exist, but the best way I deny their access to my psyche is reflecting in prayer. It’s challenging, but all the more freeing.
Approaching Day 100 of my journey, a metaphor has arisen between riding my bike and living my life.
I’ve spent a lot of time biking into relentless winds. These harsh conditions symbolize the negative forces holding us from what our hearts desire.
The wind can mute my progress exponentially and lead to treacherous situations. It’s friction between where I am and where I want to be.
During these windy days, vehicles pass on an unencumbered fast track. Ultimately, biking in serious winds is impractical. So just as I accept the presence of negativity, I acknowledge the futility and danger presented by severe winds. I dismount my bike and stick out my thumb!
People might say, “That’s cheating! That’s dangerous! You shouldn’t do that! You set out to ride your bike, so do it!” But to me, that sounds like more wind.
What matters in life is the present reality, and it only includes ourselves — no one else. In these situations, hitching a ride represents a step toward happiness.
The point I’m making is not to go hitchhike. It’s to do what will give you that good feeling in your heart. If you’re not sure what that is yet, that’s OK.
Take this metaphor into your life. Forget the wind, and focus on your happiness. Strip away everything else, “Strip down the weight,” as Julian, my riding buddy, puts it. Have faith, and take steps toward happiness.
I feel best when I’m helping others and recreating. “Helping others” can be anything from assisting with manual labor to simply listening and showing compassion to someone with a heavy heart. Recreating includes exercising, making art, and more.
That’s what makes me happy, and that’s why I continue on this trip. It happens all the time.
A few more notes on hitchhiking:
Hitchhiking, as taboo as it might be, has put me in touch with some of kindest people I’ve ever met and individuals with incredible stories.
I met a Suburban full of deaf veterans in California who insisted on going back to town to purchase straps to attach my bike to the roof. I heard testimony from a recovering addict in Nebraska, a man in Wyoming who’d been to jail and turned his life around, heart-breaking stories from Native Americans in South Dakota and the unimaginable struggles they endure, and a tale from a man in Nevada who was moments away from committing suicide until God intervened. Those are only a few experiences.
Thanks for reading! God bless.
P.S. I said goodbye to my riding buddy, Julian, at the end of May. Major props to him.