if everything is working well on my bike, I hear very little from it as I ride along.
a noisy chain means I need to clean, degrease and lube it, and other noises generally mean I need to take it to the shop. (aren't I an amazingly gifted diagnostician?)
occasionally, however, I will be riding along and suddenly hear the sound of my tires, and it always catches me by surprise.
this happens when I am riding past a concrete barrier, a guardrail, or some kind of fencing, and this "wall" will bounce the sound of my tires back up to my ears while I pass. and depending upon the type of material the wall is made of, the sound changes.
a concrete barrier or wall will throw back a steady, thick-ish sound, while a guardrail with spaced metal posts will give me a rhythmic whoosh-pause-whoosh-pause-whoosh sound. a metal guardrail will echo back a thinner sound, and on those rare times I pass close to a wooden fence, I get a more dampened whirring rubber sound.
and each of these times, I am on the same bike pedaling in the same manner. yet the sound reflected back to me is remarkably different.
ooh, just imagine where I am going to go with this!
I am a pretty consistent me, just like my riding is a pretty consistent pedaling process. yet what the world reflects back to me is not always the same. sometimes I am given feedback that I'm great, I'm wonderful, things are good: I see smiles and hear kind words and have people respond to me in positive or loving ways. other times what I get is quite different: I am ignored or talked down to, yelled at or told I'm not doing things well at all. and all along I am still this fairly consistent me.
which tells me that people and circumstances I encounter in life are going to take in what I give or put out, color it with their own selves, and bounce back at me a combination of my action and their internal process. sometimes I come back quite clearly to myself, and at other times what I get back is only vaguely similar to what I've given out.
the life lesson here is just to be able to differentiate between clear reflections and muddy ones. a clear one can make you feel pretty good, while a muddy one can cause you to question yourself and your actions. it takes a strong, grounded person to accept all the feedback the world offers, separate the wheat from the chaff, and stay true to their path. I think this is something most of us work on for a good portion of our lives.
I am a strong, consistent, valuable me, regardless of what feedback the world bounces my way. I am the same, whether I pass concrete walls, wooden fences, or guardrails made of wood and metal. I am me, regardless of how the world responds to, reacts to and interprets me.
and then again, I am what you perceive me to be, aren't I?