This is a story I wrote in 2014. This year (2021) I had a near catastrophic event in my car due to excessive rust intrusion on the sub frame…. because I braked so hard to avoid an accident.

Have you ever neglected your brakes? We need brakes to help us stop, to help us slow down, to yield and to park. If you don’t get your brakes checked regularly you run the risk of not being able to do the above mentioned things adequately. What also happens is that as the pads disappear, the disc or the drum gets damaged by the mechanism itself resulting in major irreparable damage causing an expensive lengthy garage visit to change everything (preferable) or a traumatic accident causing greater damage to the vehicle and perhaps to one or more sentient beings.

There are always reasons to neglect routine maintenance, aren’t there? I mean, who has the time? We also view going for maintenance as throwing money into a hole never to be seen again and it’s never good news. There is always something. 

I started out talking about cars, but really it is a metaphor for our own lives as well. Saying “no” is our ability to brake adequately. At work, without “no”, fatigue and frustration may set in. At home, one runs the risk of bearing the unbearable, tolerating the intolerable, accepting the unacceptable. Each of these things on their own are avoidable if we look after ourselves first and have the prescience to get our brakes checked regularly. 

Brakes can’t save you from everything. Some things are unavoidable (Montreal potholes) but cautious driving and good steering may help you traverse these eventualities. Am I talking about cars again? This is supposed to be about healthy responses to what life throws our way. 

Having boundaries in your relationships is like having brakes in your car. If you drive a car without brakes you are in a demolition derby and if you don’t have boundaries with spouses (spice?) children, pets, friends, colleagues, family members (note to family members…I did not put you last on purpose) your life may be a demolition derby.

In order for brakes to work, one force has to interact and impede an object that has inertia.  Brake pads on a bathtub don’t work unless somehow the bathtub is moving (there is always at least one smartass doubter).

 In order for boundaries to work, one cannot deny reality. Try setting a boundary (or using brakes for that matter) with an express train or a volcano. Good luck with that! 

There has to be a setter and a respecter for boundaries to work. If you are fortunate to interact with people whose pathologies are not toxic, and who set boundaries themselves, the result should be a healthy and safe balance of energy and stasis and balance and flow ensue. 

Unfortunately, some people you may have to “interact” with won’t or don’t or even can’t see or recognize boundaries. (Random thought….bumper cars don’t have brakes). These people are rude, entitled, arrogant and impossible. This is what an accelerator is for (no, not to run them over….) to go as fast as you can in the opposite direction. 

From May, 2014.

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