I had a heavy duty lesson in the ways of the non fighting mind. At the core is the idea of relaxing. Instead of tensing up or going berserk- my usual reaction when faced with resitance, continue to relax until I can move again. This technique allows me to stay calm and clearly see my way out a mental bind. The concept is utterly foreign to my regular “once you screw up, that’s it” mentality. It’s one thing to learn this in aikido but it was a mind blower when I discovered it worked in real life too.
And boy was my mind blown.
I went to Portland to see the Cirque du Soliel show “Corteo”with two friends. With tickets in my hot little hands Chris and I headed up I-5 in her truck. She was feeling sleepy so I took over driving. I like hiway driving, it’s not as crowded with decisions as city driving but the heavy downpour that day obscured my visibility making it more stressful than usual.
Arriving safely at the venue, we got in line and I handed over the tickets to the nice lady with the high tech ticket scanner in her hand. She informs there is a with the tickets.
“Did you order these on line?”she asks puzzled by the information she’s getting.
Ok folks at this point I normally lose it. “What do you mean there’s a problem asshole, I can’t believe you people screwed this up!” I knew the universe would jerk me around, oh no Alisa can’t have fun without giving her a hard time first. I kid you not, this is the kind of thing that goes on in my paranoid imagination.
Very calmly I tell her, no I ordered them on the phone. Oh wait I remembered, I worried I wouldn’t get them in the mail in time so I called back a week later and had them placed on will call. Relieved of the confusion she tells me to check the box office. Again, I calmly go and sure enough they are there. I return and she scans them again.
“I hope this works out because you don’t want to see me go ballistic.” I say half jokingly. She laughs and informs me everything is fine and thanks me for figuring this out. Again all is calm.
“What was wrong with the tickets?” Chris asks with some hesistation-she’s seen my temper before.
“They were sent in the mail and these were in the box office.” I state with perfect bureaucratic understanding. We are admitted to the grand chapeau and have a great time watching incredibly talented, good looking people do amazing things.
When I got home that night I checked my VCR to see if it recorded an opera on TV while I was gone. I pull out the tape and discover it hadn’t. What the hell I frowned, the VCR didn’t work? Now what do you think my reaction normally would be at this point? Throwing the tape at the wall and cursing technology maybe. Instead I calmly go thorough the potential causes and figure out that it thinks it’s the day before because of the leap day we had this year. I reset the VCR. Well too late, I mean the show is over. Impulsively, I check the TV guide and it’s repeated in the wee hours that night. As I stand there resetting the VCR I’m astonished at how clearly I can think by staying calm.
And I am truly astonished and recognize the feeling from that last aikido class. When you’re mind gets stuck, relax and you can get your one point again and move forward.
Holy shit this stuff really does work.