The Secret of Tai Chi and How It Helped Me Conquer The Computer

My husband decided to take Tai Chi, It was a sudden decision. He is more of a “personal trainer” type of guy. He does not like group situations or being told what to do en masse. So this was something of a surprise but I watched and was delighted that he was choosing to do something fitness related. 

I came home for lunch last week and found my husband practicing Tai Chi. He talked about why it was so attractive to him. “It really bugs me that people think Tai Chi is an ‘old guy’ exercise. So, there are a bunch of old guys in our class and that’s great. The real secret of Tai Chi is that it is a martial art,” said my spouse. “Oh, c’mon,” I scoffed. “Really, look!” said he as he lead me through a series of moves…and then it hit me: THIS IS FIGHTING IN SLOW MOTION! 

What Tai Chi does is takes you through a series of moves you would use during combat and makes you perform them very slowly while thinking about them seriously. The idea is that if you perform these movements well enough at slow speed, then they will become like second nature to you in real time! Actually, that is brilliant. We do that when learning to dance, you practice the basic step slowly then faster and faster until your feet just know what to do in the series without thinking. But you have to think hard at first in order to make it automatic.

What does this have to do with the computer? It’s from a tangent. I was trying out Tai Chi with my husband and then went off to work. I usually leap right on problems which crop up on the computer. I solve troubles and have been working on computers since they were rocks in a box. I don’t even have to think. I’m an electron warrior and it’s all reflex, right? Well, not so fast. I had a slight problem in the office as the monitor (screen) of my new computer went black. I was furious! I could not make it respond at all and it was brand new. RATS!!! Of course it was well after 5 p.m. and there was no customer (no) service to be had. I plugged along as best I could and vowed to make someone’s life a living hell for selling me a defective screen. Grrrrr. i was tired and it was late and I went home.

The next morning the screen was just as dead as it had been. However, instead of jumping on the phone and growling, I decided to try another monitor I had lying around to be sure of what piece of equipment was faulty. After much experimentation, I learned that my power strip (the place where you plug in multiple computer accessories) had a button that one of the plugs had clicked off! A simple rearranging of the power plugs solved the problem and my new monitor lit up perfectly.

So, what is the connection with Tai Chi? Slowing down. I had to slow down because I had no choice. Taking a moment allowed me to think about my next move. GET IT FIXED NOW gave way to ‘what is the problem exactly’ and the problem got solved. I applied this technique to another problem I was having with my new computer (the fact that my old software was not working with the new set up and I would have to invest THOUSANDS  of dollars in new software and {worse} hours and hours learning new ways of doing the same {bloody} things I have been doing for years. Not much of a bargain for me. I was looking at the most overwhelming and expen$ive program I would have to replace, finger poised over the trigger and heart in my boots when I though,”Call Allen…he’s a nerd and might have an answer as an alternative to this financial Armageddon your are contemplating.” I stopped and had a 2 minute chat with Allen, and sure enough….if I downloaded the free Windows XP mode, I could run my software like nothing had happened. 

So it was the uncharacteristic slowing down of my actions, and deeper reaching of my thoughts which let me come up with good solutions rather than generating “a lot of heat and no light”. Tai Chi was teaching me to slow down and make sure that there wasn’t anything I was missing, and that was a perfect reminder for me. I have lived in a world of action for a very long time, and it has stood me well BUT things change and inevitably become more complicated. Slowing down helps me to cope, and slowing down into the slow motion of mindful martial arts helps me a great deal. 

So, now in addition to my Zumba class and weight lifting, Tai Chi has become part of my regimen. I am going to do it for body and mind, I have already seen results. So, be careful of those little old men for they may well be formidable!

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