The Tao of Toastmasters

A new season of Toastmasters has begun and I gave my first speech on Monday. I have a new set of projects and I had done the first speech of the series of “Speaking on Video”. I had gone in early for setting up the camera and projector. Bob was our Toastmaster for the evening and he had introduced a story of the Tao. There always seems to be a theme that runs through a meeting that is neither rehearsed nor planned and that evening was no different. All three speakers are independent of one another but this evening each speaker was in a supporting role of the next. Daniel was the first speaker with his first speech ever and he held the iPad teleprompter for me after he was done. Later, I had turned the camera to face Crystal’s laptop for her speech after she had technical difficulty displaying to the projector. There were bumps in the meeting but it did flow along like a stream past boulders.

The Tao theme popped back into my consciousness later in the week. I am challenged in finding time to code. Taking care of Rea is honestly the best thing in my day so I try to squirrel away time to work at the computer. I know what I need to accomplish code-wise and coding takes a good chunk of time and concentration. I adjusted. I set up the code on-screen just to look at but not to write. I let the problem percolate. I looked. I didn’t code. I looked again. I came back later and looked again. I saw it. I saw the solution. The solution was there the whole time. There was no new coding needed. It was already coded!

The problem wasn’t solved by thinking there was a problem. The problem was solved so long ago that I could not anticipate the solution until I stopped coding. The coded architecture was built well enough that the solution was already built-in. In Western thinking, it’s the problem of the hammer seeing everything as a nail. I was looking for a solution to code. It is the hand knowing the other for the applause. I needed to know the sound of one hand clapping. I know, I know, the metaphor is Zen, not Taoist. Now the irony – what I wanted to accomplish was a way to setup testing procedures (known as “unit testing”) to look for more problems in the code. The way had presented itself so that I could move forward. This time the problem was inside the solution.


Tao rocks as the river flows.