Friday, November 20, 2009
The Joy Diet - It takes two to... connect
This is a photo of my very first dance in Buenos Aires. I don't know the man I'm dancing with, nor did I get his name. I do know this was preceded by a silent meeting of gazes at what was my first milonga in the birthplace of tango.
This week we are discussing the chapter in the Joy Diet about Connection. While I didn't practice Martha Beck's suggestions much this week, I did think a lot about what connection feels like. Tango is a useful analogy for me. For me the best tango experiences are not about sex appeal and flashy moves. They're about that feeling of being together in a shared moment, a moment that flows like our best Nothing experiences, and feeling mutually held in an attitude of caring.
When I saw this picture of myself dancing, I was struck by how it seems I am embracing an old friend. I think this is rather like Martha's suggestion to start by being in the Nothing place with strangers. Many of my most memorable tango experiences have been dancing with strangers. There is truly something magical about encountering another person without preconceptions or expectations. I believe that being in this space with people you know, or people you love is an extremely difficult but worthwhile practice to seek to master. I know my skills at this are modest at best, but reading this chapter reminded me how rewarding the experience can be.
This week I had what could be one of the most difficult situations in which to attempt this connection practice. It involved dinner with an ex-paramour. I didn't succeed at nothing-doing at all. Ok, I'll be truthful. My inner experience was a disaster. There was too much noise in my head: anxieties about my own future, dissections of our shared past, trying to not be judged, etc. etc. etc. blah blah blah. Why is it so hard to get out of our own heads?!
On the flip side, my experience of sharing my truths (including the not so pretty ones) with my close friends and my wonderful guy has led me to feel deeper connection with them. I guess I did do some work with this chapter after all.