Breaking The Chain

Today’s title is the name of a book that was given to me by my coach. The book is about the impact of 100 years of choices in the sport of cycling. The stories will blow your mind.

The concept, of a continuous chain, is also a teaching in Eastern Philosophy. One aspect is that we can do good works when we DON’T pass along the pain we receive from another person. The gift of “not passing” is something that I practice at home.

FlagstaffA few years back, I made a decision to leave a group of friends rather than engage them over their cruelty of their language to each other.

I thought it would be more productive for me to change everyone’s names and write blog posts instead…

I’m laughing as I type that because it’s true. We all dig in when confronted directly.

Tips that help me be part of the solution for friends and family.

Statute of Emotional Limitations – I got this from Gordon Livingston. He recommends deciding on a statute of limitations for our childhoods. When we turn 25, 35, 45, 65 or 75… …we decide that we’ve grown up and we’re leaving it behind. it’s never too late to decide that you’ve grown beyond the slights of the past.

Young kids are fantastic teachers of this point. A baby holds nothing from her past. Even my three-year old, doesn’t retain emotion for more than a couple minutes. It’s a wonderful way to be and somewhat confusing to a father (me) that’s prone to holding a grudge.

Making time is a useful coping strategy if you’re prone to self-pity.

A favorite book is Tuesday’s With Morrie – Morrie is living with ALS and one of his coping strategies is to really experience his sadness each morning. Being completely sad for a few minutes enables him to live the rest of his day.

Recognizing Limits – there’s some stuff from my past that I might never get past. Some relationships that might never get sorted. Some episodes that will tag along for what remains of my life. I have a choice to own that reality.

Going further, in cases of abuse and trauma, the magnitude of the stress might have permanently rewired how we respond to certain situations. In my own case, just-the-right-mix can knock me off kilter.

As a result, I need to forgive myself for falling short of the idealized image in my head. Take fatherhood, at the end of a challenging shift with my kids, I might never be Christ-like, or tap my Buddha-nature, or whatever I happen to be shooting for at the time.

To deal with my shortcomings, it helps to think about the chain that led to me and understand that I’m going to leave a few loose ends when my time is done.

Lexi_PilotTaking a longer term perspective, my role is to move things along a little bit, not screw up and let my kids take the controls.

Some things take more than one generation to work through – that’s ok.

Be gentle with your short comings – simply try to do a little better.