Last evening I went to our Santa Fe town plaza ,probably the oldest in post Columbian America still in use after more than four centuries. Every summer, many evenings there is live music from a bandstand recently rebuilt on the Plaza and last night was opening night.
I went by myself and expected I would meet up with friends from my Embodydance and Celebration communities. After socializing with a few friends I made my way through the crowd to the space in front of the bandstand to join in the dancing. As the evening wore on, a male friend who I already have found to be quite attractive, sexy to be precise, came up to me from the back of the crowd and asked me if I wanted to dance with him. I had been silently hoping that some gentleman, especially one I already knew, would ask me to dance a slow dance and here he was fulfilling my wish. I responded to him, without giving it a second thought, “I would love to John!”
I could feel my heart flutter as he placed his left hand around my waist and take my right in his, my left hand resting on his shoulder. I wanted to pull him closer to me but I hesitated because this was the first if not second time I have yet to have a slow dance with a man, much less one to whom I was physically and emotionally attracted. I was then aware of the thigh of his right leg in close between my legs and for a moment, the world around me faded away into a haze as I found my body quivering with a momentary tingling such as I’ve never felt before.
At times my face would rest on his shoulder with my right cheek pressed against his and I felt very awkward, as you can probably imagine, as if I were a school girl in Junior High in a new pretty dress and perhaps even my first bra who just got asked to dance by an equally awkward, if not more so, boy who finally got up the courage to cross the great “no man’s land” of the gym floor between the boys line up on one side to the girls line up on the other.
As we danced, every now and then I would raise my face to catch his eyes in mine and noticed that he was watching the bandstand and musicians rather than me throughout our whole dance together. My mind drifted back to my former life in his place when I found myself so vulnerable to my feelings that I too was afraid to look at my partner because it may convey a signal of something which I had not intended.
I remembered what I had been told time and time again, that to look at another person in the eyes is a momentary glimpse into the mirror of their soul while simultaneously reflecting back into mine. It is a time of intimacy when the world stops for a brief instant when you realize that you are not really separate beings at all, but simply different points of view to the one being that some may call God.
As I continued to shuffle my feet and gently sway my hips to the rhythm of the music, I tried to follow his lead rather than lead as I was taught to do in in Junior High School whenever our gym class would have a joint co-ed class with the girls once each year with the gigantic folding wall opened, as it would be for school-wide events and for the High School Basketball games from the city High school a few blocks away that did not have either a gym floor large enough for interscholastic meets or the bleachers that could be pushed back into the walls when not in use. It was always was my favorite gym “unit” because I did not have to suffer the taunting of the other boys in the locker room because we kept on our regular street clothes for that week.
As the music played on, I could sense the awkwardness that my dance partner must have felt by his refusal to catch my eyes during that dance which I wanted to never end. After the last refrain of music faded away, we embraced momentarily and I kissed him on the cheek and gave him my gracious words of gratitude. He turned and walked away and I would never see him again that evening.
What I took away from this experience was not only seeing how far I have come to allowing myself to feel completely vulnerable to the moment but also be able to allow myself to become mindful of what is going on with my body and my thoughts in that moment and not checking out into that vast abyss of the unconscious mind. It seems that we humans tend to fall into that abyss far too often and on top of needing an 8-hour restful sleep to recharge our batteries each day, that doesn’t leave much time for us to live in the now, not in the past or future, which is where life really happens.
Deanna Joy Hallmark