Mind, Body, and Machine |

3 min read
Sam Louie

Source: Sam Louie

We often hear about being more in touch with our spirit and soul. There’s more conscious integration of mind and body in therapy. We ask clients to be more in tune with their bodily sensations and experiences to navigate them toward healing, recovery, and insight.

Some of my clients ride motorcycles and we take this a step further. Beyond the traditional therapy, I also offer them a chance to be more mindful and present with their inner states as I set up trips anywhere from half-day to a weekend overnight.

It doesn’t seem like much but with my guidance, they learn to separate even more from the cacophony of social media, text messages, and the barrage of electronic and relational stimuli that surrounds them as I take them to more remote areas that are often devoid of cell service.

In addition, I give them exercises out in the field that allow more time to become centered. Breath work, journaling, and mindful prayer and meditation are infused into the outings. Since I’m based in the Pacific Northwest, we have the natural tranquility and grandeur of mountains, rivers, and plateaus and valleys at our disposal.

We have a connection to the wilderness within us. It may lie dormant waiting for an opportunity to embrace it. My clients also recognize that this connection with the outdoors parallels their connection to their machines, that is their motorcycles. The intoxication of being on a motorcycle combined with the serenity of nature brings two unlikely spheres together. Clients report that nothing is more satisfying than letting our daily troubles and concerns go by the wayside as they concentrate on touring the countryside aboard a motorcycle. In groups, this is made even more powerful as disparate riders come together and recognize there are more similarities in their need for mental health via a motorbike than seeing me privately one at a time. Riders, especially men, realize they are not alone in seeking mental health services. In this group experience, they break messages of shame that they grew up with regarding seeking help for relational, emotional, and mental health struggles such as addiction, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Part of what eases the process is the love of riding. When riders share this passion, it can easily triumph over underlying fears of rejection or judgment, which takes longer in more traditional therapeutic modalities.

While motorcycling as a means towards better mental health isn’t for everyone, it’s at least an experience I recommend people try at least once in their lifetime, if nothing else but for the purity of feeling the breeze on your face and the joy of being one with your environment while hurtling down a highway or byway.

Sam Louie

Source: Sam Louie

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