Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Staying In Touch

"Do you mind if I touch you," she asked.

"No, not at all," I replied, without any concern that my wife might object.

It was the respectful question the Tai Chi instructor always asked before physically showing us how to reposition a errant limb.

Or limbs, as it was in my case. She turned my hands palms up, pulled both arms closer into to my body, placed my left arm over top of my right.

"There," she said. "Do you feel the difference?"

"So I was only doing everything wrong" I guessed.

She smiled, "Well, just about."

I was having an odd experience. The harder I tried to perform the required Tai Chi moves this week, the more I was messing up. And I was messing up a lot.

Which only made me try harder.

And mess up more.

The tiny, but limber, instructor moved back to the head of the class. Paused. Looked back at me. Shook her head, and came back over.

"You know what I think you're doing wrong this week? You're trying to think your way through this. Your body knows what to do, but you've lost trust in it. Stop thinking and just let your body do what it knows how to do."

And I thought, oh great, now how do I do that?

She held my gaze for a minute before walking back to the front of the room. "Lets start over from the beginning."

We all lined up.

And I stopped trying. Just went along for the ride.

And found my body did know what to do. Not perfectly, but much better than I did.

We repeated the first fourteen moves twice more before she called us to a halt.

"No no sweety," the instructor called out, but this time to one of the women in the class. "Do you mind if I touch you?"

"Oh please," said the woman. "It's been a long time since I was last touched!"

We all laughed.

And I discovered I had a right brain that knew what it was doing.