This cactus came from a family holiday in Lanzarote as a tiny sprout. It has been cared for since then, watered, fed, changed to a bigger pot, and has sunshine shining down on it, when it is actually sunny in Northern Ireland… Some people may still just see it as this spiky useless thing. They may not see the tiny, intricate, beautiful flowers it has produced.
I know a lot of people who on the outside may look quite scary and sharp; sometimes us who happen to ride motorcycles may be looked upon as loud, scary and rough. As with the beautiful flowers on my cactus, it is for the beholder to see what they wish.
So what are the spines (spikes) for? They are not thorns, rather they are modified leaves, and keep some predators away from the water inside, but also help on a misty or foggy night to trap some water, which then falls down the smooth cactus to the ground and is able to be absorbed by the roots.
So if you think of people who may be protecting themselves in this, sometimes, dry and arid world, devoid of empathy, they may use defenses to keep people away. If you look closely at a cactus it usually has a beautiful smooth surface behind the spines. If we cared enough to really see a person we may see the beautiful smooth stem, the spines all designed so intricately to protect, and the fruit that it produces, for this cactus it is the stunning flowers.
A person behind the spikes could be a father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, friend or any number of very kind things to many people. Going with the bikers again, I know most bikers have very big kind hearts and do many things to help people, maybe a charity bike run to raise money for little children who need some sunshine to shine down on them, and raise money to help them.
As both a biker and a counsellor I am privileged to know a lot of people who may on the outside have a lot of spines to protect themselves, after being hurt in this world. I know that behind these spines is a beautiful soul that is very kind and helpful to others, despite what has happened to them. I know the fruit they are producing and how they help others to flourish.
As you can read I look at a cactus very differently, and it means a lot to me. I find comfort in the spiky spines. It is a reminder to me that spiky people may be a lot different behind that defense. It reminds me if someone is spiky to me that if I negotiate them spiky spines carefully, the smoother, calmer person is there. The beautiful flowers this cactus produces twice a year, reminds me how a person can flourish, if they recieve the correct care and attention we all require in this world. Thanks for reading, Stephen.
I am feeling very honest and reflective tonight so I want to write this as a form of confession. This blog is written from a very deep and honest Soul. My Bride will read this at some stage I suspect, so I will confess my sins to her also. I have been happily married for over 15 years, but I am truly, madly, deeply, in love and lust with another woman. I suspect my Bride may have suspicions as she has seen me with a faraway look in my eyes before I have disappeared for hours at a time, sometimes until very late at night. She has probably noticed the ‘other woman’ is never around during these times also…
The other lady is a gorgeous fiery red from Italy. The ‘Big Lady’ is an Aprilia Falco V-Twin 1000cc Motorcycle. 😀 I am in love with motorbikes in general but the bike I fondly nickname ‘Big Lady’ has stolen my heart. I love the insane amount of power, the low down torque of an Italian V-Twin, and the booming noise. I love the curves and that it wants to wheelie everywhere. I love that it keeps wanting me to go quicker, harder, further and still offers so much more.
I will fill you in a little on a bikers life. A bike needs to click with its owner if you are going to ride it fast and hard. My last bike wanted to throw me off frequently, and I over rode it, backing it into corners and thrashing it as fast as it would go. I did not respect it. This may seem crazy talking about a bike as if it is alive; but have you ever sat on a bike while pushing to find its limits? You need to know the bike has your back and trust it. The ‘Big Lady’ does that every time as I have had some close calls, and this big red Italian lady has brought me home each time!
my treasured Nicky Hayden Replica Arai Helmet
life is easier with humour 😀
My bride likes bikes but also knows the dangers. She still told me sometimes to strap my helmet on and just go for a ride, as I was stressed and irritable. Husbands will read this as ‘just go away and give my head peace for a while’. I always came back in a completely different mindset. I was completely de-stressed and at peace with myself again. This is due to a mixture of therapies. Motorcycle therapy is the best therapy invented. Strap a helmet on and just ride that steel horse wherever the sun is shining with no set agenda, or time limit, just remember to fill up the tank regularly and ride. I have ridden so far at times I have to slide off and lay down beside it on the road, and just stretch my back and butt back out. You bikers have all been there, getting the funny looks form non-bikers, just laid out on the road beside your steel horse, then walking like John Wayne for a bit until the feeling comes back. Now that is a worthwhile bike ride 😀
The other therapy is mindfulness. I would park my bike up (as in the picture of my beautiful Italian lady above) and just sit my ass down and look at the sea, or a river, or lake and just use mindfulness to clear my mind and let the troubles drift away. After being on the road for a few hours it was brilliant to just sit and let my mind clear itself of the crap. Mindfulness allows me to clear the rubbish, and afterwards have room in my complex mind to decipher what I need to work out in this life.
In the picture below is a view from the road from behind the bubble of my Aprilia on a rare beautiful sunny day in Northern Ireland. A funny story on my last bike I blew the exhaust up here in this stretch of road, and had a deafening ride back home with my tail between my legs. This Aprilia however never gave me any trouble, it is much loved and respected and the feeling is reciprocated.
So that is it and I hope it gave you a smile. Life does not need to be all serious. I have my own trouble. You have your own trouble. Sometimes it can become too much. What do you do to unwind and detangle your brain to give yourself room to work out whatever needs worked out? Comment below and tell me. As I am a counsellor I may be able to pass this onto clients in counselling if it was appropriate. You could be starting a ripple of kindness for someone you will never know! That is a chance you cannot pass up. Comment with your response to a crazy world in which we live.
A request for my brothers and sisters who are bikers, leave me a link to your blogs below I would love to read and follow them. Leave me a comment with a funny story of your biking adventure. My story is when a ‘cool dude’ in a Souped-up Subaru with a pretty lady in beside him tried to race me. I played with him for a while, then just left him with a red face in my dust when he realised what I was doing, and his girl was smiling at me out his window as she had already figured it out. A car will never outrun a powerful bike. Anyone who is not a biker would be very surprised how many professional people like Doctors etc. are actually Bikers.
Last story is when I was riding to work in winter and didn’t know it was icy in places until my visor froze white. I was nearly at work so rode on slowly. A wee man in a car with a death grip on the steering wheel nearly crashed into a wall when he noticed me riding past him with both feet down on the ice. It was only funny when I made it into work in one piece somehow and I could laugh at his face when he saw a biker going the opposite way into the icy section. My bride did not see the funny side when I went home that evening and told her…Stephen.