I had a life lesson yesterday, but I am embarrassed to say that I failed to use my art. After my morning class, I received a phone call purporting to be from our local electric power company. The speaker told me that in 45 minutes a technician would be arriving at my location, which he correctly identified, to shut off the power because, according to him, the company had not received any of my payments for the last four months. He told me that I had to be sure that someone would be at my location to let the technician in.
Well, feeling a bit tired after teaching and performing for 1 1/2 hours and a bit annoyed at the prospect of tax season and all the paperwork on my desk, I exploded. There followed about an hour of my giving the people on the other end of the phone a litany of what I was going to do to them if they shut off my electricity and forced me to close my school while the “company” “investigated” my account and determined why they had not received the payments that I had made.
Only later did I realize that I had forgotten the lessons of Taijiquan and Yin and Yang. I met force with force, threatening to hire a lawyer, sue for damages and almost telling the people their technician was never going to get into my property in one piece.
When the opponent is Yang, Taijiquan dictates that we become Yin. What would Yin have looked like in this situation? A Yin response would have been to stay calm and analyze the situation. Calm analysis of what the caller was saying should have led me to think, “why does the company need me to be here so that they can turn off the power?” The meter is outside. Also why would the power company operate this way with a good customer of 12 years. If instead going to my account page on the company website and reading off to them the amounts and dates of all the payments I had made, I had scrolled down the home page of the site, I would have seen the warning about exactly the scam that these people were trying to run on me.
Fortunately, I did eventually go into Yin mode. I even apologized to one of the people for yelling and swearing at him. I was about to go to purchase a gift card in the “minimum amount” they said would prevent the immediate cut off, when I thought to check the home page of the power company’s site, and saw the scam warning. I then went to visit the local police, who were already aware of the scam. When the scammers called back, I told them I was still at the police station. They hung up.
While I saved the $255 dollars they wanted to stop the cut off, I still payed a price. I was exhausted, That’s the cost of using Yang against Yang, and the older we get, the more difficult it is to sustain that cost. Next time I need to remember the power of Yin.