The Soft Answer - a Verbal Tai Chi System
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conversation, meeting or family
gathering, when suddenly
you become uncomfortable? Things may have become unexpectedly confrontational;
you may feel like
you're being singled out, blamed, accused or criticized. Without warning, you
find yourself at a loss for
words or action.
It's probably happened to all of us at one time or another.
What's the best way to address this problem? Well, "Susan Lowell,
an ATCQA-certified Tai Chi
(Level III) believes that the soft, internal self-defense principles we learn from Tai Chi can be
applied to social situations. She and her sister and sisters-in-law have
developed "The Soft Answer", a
verbal Tai Chi system that helps people to develop internalized and effective
conversational skills. The
group of four has decades of collective experience in education, communication,
Tai Chi, business, group
facilitation and kinesthetic learning, not to mention family and interpersonal
(Photo: Susan Lowell in her Tai Chi class.)
The system promotes a reflexive kindness and a natural grace in navigating interpersonal exchanges,
following a Tai Chi-influenced philosophy of "respecting and empowering
ourselves such that we have
the confidence and freedom to respect and empower others, and, in so doing,
commit to and share in a
more balanced, just and peaceful world." Instead of reacting to a verbal attack
with hardness or
defensiveness, techniques of respectful connection and redirection are applied.
"Whenever possible, we
seek to allow others a graceful way out," Lowell says.
In addition to the foundation of Tai Chi's self-defense principles and the traditional and related writings
Cheng Man Ch'ing, Chuang Tzu, Lao Tzu, and Sun Tzu, the Soft Answer system folds
in wisdom from the writings of Eric Berne, Suzette Haden Elgin, Shakti Gawain,
Stephen Karpman, Jack Kornfield, Virginia Satir, and Deborah Tannen, and others
in the areas of psychology, language and communications, Tai Chi, meditation and
mindfulness, education and more.
Through their own cultivation of a Soft Answer practice, the founders have discovered that a lot of the
pain and suffering and wasted time they experienced in difficult social
interactions could be avoided by
simply applying Tai Chi inspired communication skills. They developed this
system so that they could
share with others the effective strategies that have helped them (and others)
bring greater balance and
peace into the world.
The sisters have created their community-minded business with a mission of social change, and as such
If you are interested in knowing more about this system, please visit:
they have offered Soft Answer sessions to neighborhood groups and non-profit
organizations at low or no