Last weekend I went to a class on contact improvisation. How to describe it? It’s sort of a modern dance, without any set moves. A group of people – anywhere from 2 to 20 – moves through a room, and at some point, people come in contact with one another. One starts out being aware of one’s own body, and one’s contact with the floor, or oneself, or the walls, or props. Or it can also start with contact with another person. I don’t think there are rules about how it starts or how fast it moves.
Contact with another person brings up all kinds of issues for me. Am I allowed in their space? What kinds of signals are they giving back to me? What do I want in this interaction? What does the other person want? How is that reflected in the dance? How does my body want to move itself to feel safe and connected?
First contact seemed a bit like flirting, I guess, but nonsexually. A light touch in a safe area, sort of asking the question nonverbally – where do the bodies want to go from here? Getting permission, allowing a response, seeing what the response is doing and asking for.
This improvised dance is an experiment. I don’t know what the other person wants (or even what I want) until I move in that direction. I need to move to find out what’s next. I can’t know the whole thing in advance if I’m not moving and experimenting.
Okay, I’m going beyond dance into the rest of life now. I’ve been trying to play it safe for too long – to know the end from the beginning, to know the whole path before taking the first step. Stephen Covey advises that we always need to “begin with the end in mind,” but often I don’t know what the end will be when I’m taking the first step. I just know I need to take that step, to move closer to something I want right now, and see what happens when I get there.
I also took an intro class on the “Enneagram” the other night. I found out something I already knew: I’m strong on thinking, moderate on feeling, and weak on doing. Grr. Yes, I know. That shows up in my life as me pondering, thinking, daydreaming, fantasizing, planning, learning, reading and attending seminars… and then not stepping out to do something with all of it, because the brain is too scared to begin without a guarantee of perfection.
So now I dance.
And, we’ll see what happens.