Mariel Maloney’s new book Shifting into 9th Gear: Heal Your Life, Seek Your Passions, Find Your Soul Purpose is a fun, sometimes tad scary, but always heartfelt journey into how the determination to create a better life can lead to amazing results.
Mariel’s story begins like that of many young people. She found herself floundering after her parents divorced. As a teenager, she experienced much of the angst and depression many experience, to the point where she became clinically depressed and needed psychiatric help. However, she refused to dope herself up with medication. Instead, she bought a bicycle, and that decision ultimately changed her life.
With her bicycle, Mariel found freedom and purpose. In her effort to try to find herself, she began riding her bicycle every day to Chicago’s lakeshore. It was a journey of many miles both ways, and through some dangerous neighborhoods and high traffic areas. At one point, she was threatened in a bad neighborhood. At another point, she had a serious accident precipitated by a sixteen-wheeler. But Mariel also had her angels looking out for her-she believes that literally.
What Mariel found by biking others might find through running, skiing, writing, painting, or meditation. It freed her from her thoughts and took her to the lake, where she could commune with nature and God and begin to make sense of her life. It also made her realize how remarkable she was-so remarkable that when she was invited to participate in a multiple-day bike race, RAGBRAI, she found herself able to keep up with the Olympic team that was also participating.
Shifting into 9th Gear is far more than a book about biking. It’s the story of how one young person got her life back together, and it’s a tale of inspiration for anyone going through life’s darkest moments. It’s an example of how making a simple change like riding a bike can lead to bigger and more positive changes.
Ultimately, Mariel shook depression from her. She went on to get married and raise seven children, and from her accounts of being deeply involved in her children’s lives, she was a remarkable mother. Since then, she has been involved in the fitness industry, become a life coach, and serves as a keynote speaker and facilitator of healing retreats.
Mariel divides her story into four sections. The first, “The Rabbit Hole,” describes the darkness she experienced. The second “Healing” describes the nine steps she took to heal her life. The third describes her joyful and uplifting experiences at RAGBRAI, and the fourth “Evolving Mindfulness” offers advice on and examples of how developing a personal spirituality can change your life, including everything from community involvement and meditation to creating your own healing bucket list and finding your soul passion.
Mariel’s story is both engaging and uplifting. Shifting into 9th Gear will be a wonderful gift for anyone struggling in life, especially younger people who may not yet realize that life has its ups and downs, just like when you’re riding a bicycle up and down hills. You might be in the valley now, but if you put effort into it, you can climb the next hill, and once you get to the top, you can start to coast. This book will inspire many people to gain a new perspective on life and learn how to change their world in extraordinary ways.