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Life & Work with Bavié Grafals

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bavié Grafals.

Hi Bavié, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
From a young age, I struggled with depression and anxiety throughout most of my life. I allowed self-limiting beliefs and fear to stop me from experiencing and achieving some incredible moments and accomplishments. I coped with self-destructive behaviors, which only exacerbated the depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem- leading to many somatic symptoms as well.

The day I discovered mountain biking was the day my life completely changed. I was at my lowest of lows… not leaving my room for what felt like weeks and barely eating. In that moment, I didn’t believe I would be here today, speaking about that experience… nonetheless in the drastically different mental and physical state that I find myself in from just a few years back!

My boyfriend at the time thought that it would be a good idea to do something physical and get my blood flowing while surrounded by nature. I was at the end of my rope and left whatever trust I had in him. He took me to Virginia Key Outdoor Center in Miami and rented two mountain bikes to hit the trails. I had never even heard of the sport!

Not to mention, I barely knew how to ride a bike on the widest sidewalk you could think of without panicking, wobbling, or falling! Hahaha Needless to say, we went into the trails. I fell, cried, had multiple panic attacks, and came out scraped, bruised (both physically and mentally), and bloodied. Although he truly believed that I hated the experience and was absolutely done with it, I was hooked! It didn’t take long (about two times in the trails) before I decided I was all in and went to No Boundaries for my first bike.

The mental/physical agility and strength, connection with the outdoors, lifestyle changes, and community that are found through this beautiful sport took me from a depressed, anxious, shy, insecure, introverted girl to my true self. Mountain biking saved my life.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Absolutely not! There have been many minor to major challenges, setbacks, injuries, sacrifices, losses, and struggles along the way. Every single one of them testing my determination and resilience. Through many of those difficult moments, I felt as if I was taking countless steps back. In those moments, I persevered as I reflected on my past to present and reminded myself of how powerful and capable we all truly are.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Music was my first love. From the moment I could speak, I was singing and picking up any instrument I could get my hands on. As a child, I dreamed of one day sharing my love for music and freedom of expression with the world. I always believed that music was a universal language.

It was a moment where, regardless of where you came from or who you were, we could all set our differences aside and become one. I never thought I would find this gift in anything else until I discovered the sport and community of mountain biking.

My openness and willingness to share who I am, where I’ve come from, and what I’ve struggled or continue to struggle with have been considered a weakness from some and strength from others. My level of empathy, at times, felt like a curse. But, in this chapter of my life, I believe that it is a beautiful gift. A blessing. The depth of the connection and emotions that I feel with every being who surrounds me has helped me connect with the world in ways I could have never imagined.

I am proud of myself for being able to acknowledge my faults and still love myself in the process. To feel every emotion under the sun and embrace the “bad” just as much, if not more, than the “good.” To know that we are all here to learn from each other and grow as each day passes. To bring, if even for a fraction of a second, happiness, inspiration, motivation, and hope into some else’s life.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
Every day that we open our eyes, we are unknowingly taking a risk. The older I get, the more risks I find myself taking. When you realize how fleeting moments are and how quickly you are here and then gone, the what if’s become harder to ignore. I have learned that the more terrifying something you truly want is, the more rewarding the risk (regardless of the outcome). In the end, knowing that you pushed past your self-limiting beliefs and fears is the greatest reward of all.

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