Sacred Path of the Warrior

Day 3: King City to Paso Robles; starting up Quadbuster. Robin L. Chandler 2014

Day 3: King City to Paso Robles; starting up Quadbuster. Copyright Robin L. Chandler 2014

In Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior  Chogyam Trungpa wrote “the essence of human bravery, is refusing to give up on anyone or anything….and the master warrior is extremely humble….humbleness comes from working with others…to give space and time to others to develop their own understanding of goodness and of warriorship…patience is extending gentleness and faith to others all the time.” The warrior possesses faith in the basic goodness of others, a fearless expression of gentleness and genuineness on behalf of all sentient beings, and understands that tenderness comes from strength…stable, solid and true. Yesterday,  I reconnected with friends and fellow travelers riding in the AIDS LifeCycle 2014 contingent of the San Francisco Pride parade. The Ferry Building behind us, we cyclists, some two hundred strong, rolled out on to Market Street just behind the roaring engines of our beloved Dykes on Bikes. Peddling through the cheering crowd lining the route, my tears and laughter surfaced. On our helmets and bikes we all wore the number 1371 for Edna Flores-Lagunte, ALC rider, fundraiser, training ride leader and roadie, who sadly passed away this year on this her 13th LifeCycle. Edna was a warrior on the sacred path; she was loving, generous, joyous and so committed to helping others. Edna changed lives making them better. During the seven days riding from San Francisco to LA, I kept hearing the mantra “this ride will change your life.” By the time we left San Francisco on June 1, it already had.  Physically stronger and mentally more disciplined than a year earlier, I had also deepened friendships through honest conversations that happen during a long-distance training ride. But my most important life insight was yet to be revealed. Cycling 545 miles opens your eyes and your heart to yourself and to others. During the ride, I learned that tenderness grows from strength. With strength, I changed a rider’s flat tire when I worried I’d be sagged. With strength, I helped a tired rider set-up their tent when I was hungry. With strength, I let a weary rider take a hot shower before me when I was cold. And perhaps most importantly, with strength, I aspire to be as loving, generous, joyous and committed a person as Edna.