Bottled Lightning: Skin Your Knees On Eternity

By Frosty Wooldridge

At the beginning of my presentations on “How to Live a Life of Adventure” at high schools, colleges, civic clubs and church groups, my first words exclaim, “I live a spectacular life!”

After the audience digests such brash words, I invite each person to repeat for himself or herself, “I live a spectacular life!”

They repeat the words, but with unease, consternation and even trepidation. It’s a bit difficult to make a bold statement on how you live your life. You might be living a dull life, average existence and even, a difficult life. You may face challenges that seem to consume, daunt and defeat you.

So, how do you bottle your internal lightning energy? How do you go out into life to skin your knees in the face of eternity?

First, your 80 years on this planet constitute your personal eternity. That means you choose what happens, how it happens and for how long. You choose to learn as much as you can during your schooling. You choose to care for your body-temple by your actions or inactions. You choose to eat, drink and nourish your being with healthy foods and fellowship of friends. You choose to fill your spirit with your own options of connection to the natural world.

Second, harness your youthful exuberance not only in your teen years, but choose to maintain your energies throughout your entire life. It’s been said, “Life deals you high and low cards, but you play with the hand you’re dealt. You can bluff your way through or you can play it straight. Either way, you win or lose on your chosen merits, talents, skills, education and actions.

Third, choose your words and thoughts wisely. Choose your friends with care. Hang with others that carry their own “bottled lightning.” For starters, what defines bottled lightning?

Think of the energy that explodes through your body when you work on a project that you love. It may be working on your car, creating a bookshelf in a woodcraft class, writing a poem or volunteering at a homeless shelter. It might encompass a math class, sports of all kinds, dancing or yoga. It may be a novel or a Shakespearean play.

Include its concepts into your inner passions, drive and creative living. You may choose that “bottled lightning” drive throughout your life. Once you feel it, you know it. Once you know it, you own it. From that point onward, apply it to your work, play and quiet times.

For example: this past summer, I carried my passion for long distance bicycle travel to pedal 4,100 miles from Astoria, Oregon to Bar Harbor, Maine. Each day, I pedaled up hills and coasted down hills. I traveled through sunshine and rainstorms. I pushed into headwinds and enjoyed tailwinds. I rode my bike through Montana’s wildfires that burned 300,000 acres.  I choked on the smoke for a day.  I pushed on with my friends.  I camped by beautiful streams that wafted with steam in the cool mornings. I sat with friends by campfires licking the night air.  I sang songs with one of the team who carried a guitar.   I followed 1,500 miles of the Lewis & Clark Trail.  I camped where they camped.  I swam in the Columbia where they swam.  I witnessed stunning sunrises and sunsets. I met fantastic people and several “otherwise” people. Each day, I expected great moments.

At one point in Niagara Falls, my friends and I witnessed the eclipse of the sun at 1/4, Niagara Falls with its mist and roar, and finally, a rainbow over the falls.   A natural ‘trifecta’ of Nature’s finest moments!  It pretty much blew my mind with so much beauty, sound and sublime elegance of Mother Nature’s creativity.

I muttered to myself, “Spectacular!” Indeed, at that moment, I lived a spectacular life because I took a chance. I pedaled my bicycle across America at the age of 70 years.  No sitting in the rocker with a remote for this man!  I opened myself up to the energies of the universe. Do you think it’s easy to pedal a bike across a continent? Is it a cakewalk to ride in a rainstorm? Answer: a cyclist faces every kind of challenge you can imagine, just like your own life.

Adventure creates unique “moments” for your heart, mind and body. You never forget the time when you slogged through a downpour along Oregon’s coast. You remember that tornado funnel as you pedaled across Oklahoma. That special campfire under 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado stands out with shooting stars placing an exclamation point at the end of your day. You remember that trip across Death Valley where you drank four gallons of water in one day, but never peed once. That night of slumber beneath the 2,500-year-old Redwood giants touched your spirit beyond your imagination.

That night in the Sierras where Canadian geese dropped out of the sky for a final landing pad on the glass-still lake before you. Other ducks created V-wakes trailing behind them while diving ducks created circles. With that magical scene, your campfire’s embers enchanted you.

How about that moment at Niagara Falls with the eclipse of the sun? Or, what about riding through Montana’s 300,000 acre wildfire with the landscape scorched black for 360 degrees around you? Ever stopped on an overlook cliff on the Big Sur in California to see a gray whale and her baby calf surface right beneath you? As you make your last pedal stroke before ending it on the Atlantic, you think back on 4,100 miles of unique memories. You suffered crotch rot, hot days, sweat dripping down your back and off your nose that splashed on the top tube, sweaty body, voracious appetite and other challenges. You ‘soared’ across a continent with blue skies, cycling buddies and incredible characters who enriched your life. Each day on a bike becomes a ‘moment’.

While those moments abound on a bicycle adventure, the new day beckons you onward, not to tarry with yesterday—and, for you, another possibility for a unique ‘moment’ that will live in your body, mind and heart for the rest of your life.

In the same high vibrational frequencies, you enjoy the same possibilities in your spectacular life. It might be travel or raising a child. It might be your Zumba Dance Class or playing the piano. Discover your “bottled lightning” in your pursuit of happiness.

Now, repeat after me with certitude, enthusiasm and genuine confidence, “I live a spectacular life!”

FB adventure page: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World

FB poet page: Bicycling Poets
FB bicycle touring: Bicycle Touring Unique Moments


Latest book: Living Your Spectacular Life on amazon or 1 888 280 7715