Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I am not the first person to lift a quote from The Godfather. You know 'em. They're juicy. They stick with ya like Fat Clemenza's spaghetti. Once a year I pay homage to Mario, Francis, Don Vito, Luca Brassi, Don Altobello, Kay, Sonny, Michael and Fredo by by spending three consecutive nights with them. Last night was the finale, when all the family business was settled, Part III. Let the critics say what they want, this is a terrific movie and a fitting wrap to an incredible cinematic achievement. But what, you ask, does Godfather III have to do with indoor cycle training? 

Lots. My favorite example being the famous scene at the Vatican where Michael visits with Cardinal Lamberto. Michael is exhausted and fighting off a diabetic seizure. The good Cardinal, knowing his history and watching his suffering, asks him if he would like to confess, adding,

"The mind suffers…..and the body cries out." 

Michael ends up confessing his (many) sins, including ordering the murder of his mother's son. It is as powerful a scene as you could imagine, stunningly profound in its dramatic irony and existential power. A scene that is, as they say, nailed by Mr. Pacino. 

Let's consider Cardinal Lamberto's comment. What the mind is experiencing is manifest by the body. If you hurt upstairs, chances are good downstairs is a mess. If your mind thinks pain, the body will try to find the culprit. It your ego is soft, so too your effort. This is cumulative, guilt, remorse, anger, fear, rejection, loss all adding up to a major league pain in your rear (if you're lucky) or in the neck (if you're not). 

The mind-body connection needs continual reaffirmation, a relentless real-time assessment of stasis. We can practice this. Holding a value. Maintaining focus. Finding the flow. Knowing that this suffering is temporary and will soon be replaced by a higher power. The mind doesn't have to suffer when the body does. It can decide that the level of suffering once intolerable is now manageable. Executable. Sustainable. Enjoyable even. 

One pedal rotation at a time. Mile by mile. Heartbeat by heartbeat. At a point in the not too distance future we should be able to experiment with the flip side concept:

"The mind signs and the body dances."

A cardinal idea. 

Grazie Lamberto. Grazie tante Don Puzo e Don Coppola. 

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