In my first post, I commented on the threat of burnout from chasing every ripple in the media pond.
At times like this it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, powerless and even angry. Is life for the foreseeable future going to be fully occupied with marches, calls to Congress, and other activities? Can’t I just have my weekends back for lounging around?
Resistance fatigue comes about when you’re tired of fighting all the time. It’s what your opponent is trying to instill. He’s banking on the fact that you’ll eventually get tired and just fade away, leaving him to do his will unimpeded.
In t’ai chi, there’s an exercise called push hands. Two people face each other, connect by touching the backs of their hands, and slowly begin rotating their arms in a circle. The basic idea is to tune into your opponent’s energy by feeling the amount of pressure in his hands, and then redirect that energy to put him off balance.
If you determine that his pressure is soft, you become hard and push him backward. If he’s pushing hard, you become soft and yield so his own momentum causes him to fall forward.
Push hands is based on listening and responding. It’s about understanding when to repel your opponent with your strength, and when to allow his own overreach to take him down.
To avoid resistance fatigue, adopt the push hands approach. It still requires you to stay engaged with your opponent, but it’s a more productive kind of engagement than just reading all the news, signing all the petitions, and freaking out.
Resistance comes in many forms. Strength is one. Softness is another.