Archive for February 3rd, 2014


Stop Thinking

on February 3, 2014 in Misc 14 Comments »

little boy

First, a word about the Superbowl.  And remember I live in Denver.

I knew the game was going really stinky awful bad horrible for the Broncos because my neighborhood was silent.  I mean silent as a grave.

See, whenever the Broncos are playing and they score you can hear shouts of joy up and down the streets.  Tonight, however, I only heard one neighbor cry out as if in pain, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

By then I had stopped switching from a repeat of 60 Minutes to see how the game was going.  I didn’t want to think about it.

Which leads me to my next topic: I have discovered that Not Thinking can be very good for me.

As you know I’m an epee fencer.  Not a very good one, but I keep trying.  Well, a huge shock for me is how suddenly, after a few YEARS of fencing, I’m getting MUCH better. Sure, my lessons with Maciek, a gold medalist Olympian, have really helped.  But in the last couple weeks I’ve suddenly started to kick ass.  And all because I’ve learned to shut off my brain.

See, I’ve got a noisy brain.  If you could poke your head into mine, you’d be overwhelmed with chatter, monologues, odd observations, old songs and movie dialogue and God only knows what else.  Yet in fencing, as in a lot of sports, you need to turn off your mind and let your training, experience, and instincts take over.  The physical movements must come faster than conscious thought.

Zorro fencing

Now, at long last, it seems I’m developing the Don’t Think skill.  The result?  Last week, during my third fencing bout, I put myself into a zoned-out Zone.  And I beat someone who ALWAYS beats me with the unbelievable score of 10-3.  In fact, when he yelled the f- word after one of my touches (he was furious with himself, not at me), a few people gathered at the end of the strip and watched us.  Usually I would get self-conscious, but instead I zoned them out and went on to my big win.

And because I won, Jim, a fencing coach and so scary good I haven’t fenced him in at least a year because he consistently creams me, stepped onto my strip. He wanted to fence me.  Holy crap!  This time I had more trouble staying in the Zone, but I still did okay:  he won 10-7.  I mean, I GOT SEVEN POINTS AGAINST JIM! FANTASTIC! HE EVEN TOLD ME I HAD REALLY IMPROVED!

So tonight, as everyone in Denver tries to forget about the Superbowl, I’m dwelling on my Not Thinking breakthrough, and feeling quite happy.

How about you?  Have you found that quieting your mind helps you when you write, play sports, create music, anything?  I’d love to know.

Have a great week.