During most summer weekends, I try to sneak out on my road bike for a long Sunday morning rolling meditation. Combing the church crowd with those that prefer some extra ZZZs creates an ideal time to crank up the Cannondale and blaze through rejuvenating miles. Empty roads and cooler temperatures are the perfect crucible for my practice. Last Sunday around mile 16, my back wheel had a hissy fit resulting in the dreaded squishy feeling of a flat tire. Denial entered my mind as I pulled off the road to begin the repair process.
Self pity entered the arena when I cut my finger on the back sprocket. The mechanical gene skipped my family, so I began the repair process with a bloody finger covered with black chain grease. I punctured another finger with the same king-sized thorn that pierced my tube. It was hiding along the inner surface of the tire. A few cuss words took me to the acceptance stage of the current situation. A few moments later, a big grin crossed my face as I realized that I am one lucky guy. My last flat was around four years ago and I ride more than my fair share.
Everyone complains at some point, at least a little. Be very wary of the person that represses themselves into a constant state of perma-grinned nirvana, but be equally hesitant to merge with those that use complaining as a lifestyle. There are many types of complainers on this planet. Some claim that spewing rage is similar to releasing a bit of steam from pressure cooker. Instead of purging, the constant venting seems to act like a life support system for an unfortunate situation. Some seek empathy from friends by playing the victim and explaining why everything sucks. The rapper Nelly nails this one in Nobody Knows: “How bad you think you got it? Somebody else got it worse than you.”
Life delivers blisters on and off the trail. The best walking shoes are no match for excessive friction. No person ever said on a death bed, “Wow, that was easy.” The best method to dilute life’s unwanted challenges is to meet them head on, feel the pain, and realize that nothing can be done to change what has already happened. Acceptance dilutes the need to express dissatisfaction for things not fitting into a regimented plan.
Routines are deadly and repetition provides comfort. Like water flowing down a river, the path of least resistance is the preferred route. In a classic episode of Seinfeld, Geroge Costanza realizes that his innate charm is not attracting a bevy of beauties, so he embarks on a new plan to get out of the rut. His comical strategy was to say exactly the opposite of his natural conversation. It worked.
Next time you feel the urge to complain, feel the pain and silently cut off the life support system. Get air back in the tire and enjoy the ride…..