Lessons from Le Tour de France

My morning was disrupted by yet another complex being triggered (see http://wp.me/phAyS-3w for more about complexes). This has become familiar recently; the opportunity to observe the power and energy of a reaction that is catalyzed by a current occurrence yet triggered by events long in the past. Since early July, I have been arising each morning to view the conclusion of each day’s stage of the Tour. It is an amazing spectacle of courage, endurance, sportsmanship and tactics that never fails to excite and enthrall. Yet this morning something unusual happened on the slopes of the Cote de Carla-Bayle. During a cat and mouse engagement between the leader Andy Scheck and his rival for the yellow jersey Alberto Contador, Scheck’s chain came off and Contador took advantage of this problem to attack and take an insurmountable advantage. Despite a courageous response there was no way that Schleck who was on his own could catch up and now Contador has assumed a lead he is unlikely to surrender. Often on the Tour there appears to be a code of conduct that to take the lead of the race you must do it by superior cycling not by taking advantage of a misfortune. Frequently the other riders will actually slow to allow the yellow jersey to catch up following such an incident. In this case Contador pushed as hard as he could to maximize his advantage. I was astonished and fascinated by my own reaction. I felt outraged, frustrated, agitated and deeply disturbed. I did not want to watch the race any longer; I went downstairs to make tea and noticed my agitation and angst reflected in clumsiness and a sense of feeling uncentered. My reaction was completely disproportionate to the incident. I have no vested interest in either rider or even the race so I knew immediately that my reaction was rooted in history not the present. So where does this deep-seated complex reside? What was the genesis of this energy that could so completely absorb me decades later? I realized that this impedes on a key trigger in my life around fairness. Part of me desperately rails against life being so unfair. I am always upset when bad things happen to good people and even more so when people benefit from their own misdeeds. In my latest James Hollis read “On this Journey We Call Our Life”, he quotes a lesson that he suggest we all carry “You are small and powerless and the world is large and powerful. You just have to deal with it for the rest of your life”. How often do we hear a child complain, “It just isn’t fair?” Our early lives are perpetually disadvantaged by more powerful beings than ourselves and depending  on how our individual childhood unfolded will impact how deep the wound may be. The control of my life by a deeply flawed, authoritarian, fundamentalist Christian father would have likely built a stronger complex than many. Never being allowed to do what other children were permitted to do: no movies, dances, popular TV, music, parties would have built a life long resentment around life’s unfairness. My reaction to Alberto Contador is more about my father than him. However, now I can sense the gift at the opportunity to comprehend my own reactions. I don’t have to hate Alberto Contador or the TV announcer that supported his action; I can honour my inner child’s angst but recognize my anger at the cyclist for what it is, a reaction to the past.

Note: I still hope his karma comes back to haunt him and he loses the advantage gained.

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