I have had a number of relationships with a number of partners. Most of them came from various diverse countries. My father once said that I have a unique way of learning about different cultures….
Three years ago, after my second divorce, I began meeting Avishai. We are both in our 40s, both divorced with children. Our first meeting was in a coffee shop, something odd, not connected to my life, and yet the longing to have a relationship made me going on a date in a late hour, being very tired.
I was wondering how is it that at this age I find myself going back to this “dating” scene. Until then I met my partners through dancing, through my career, through my travels. I was constantly around people. I have never gone out for a date, yet life summoned me a new challenge, going for a date.
Good friends came over to babysit my son; I got delayed with choosing which shoes I will ware. I didn’t want to go out; maybe I wanted but was afraid.
At that moment, while changing again the shoes, wondering what will suit best, high heels, flat shoes, I have decided that the very act of going out to the unknown is a success, since I am challenging myself to something new, and whatever will happen later, is a bonus.
Whatever will happen is ok with me, even If I will enjoy a few moments or if we never meet again. Yes, I said to myself I went out, and Avishai was waiting for me in the car.
While getting in the car I felt that everything is ok. I took a deep breath, because I already experienced a moment of success. I came out from my comfort zone, to an unknown place, and the first moment was ok.
The date was good, and followed by many others.
When we first met, in each meeting I was saying to myself, if this meeting will be the last, it’s ok, because I am going out from my comfort zone, and as long as I am in my “doing”’ I am learning, I am growing, and this is a good experience.
The option of watching on the present moment and check what will give me a good sense, comes to me through the practice of improvisation and contact in my studio. Years of being present in the moment and constant questioning what is possible now, when I am facing a challenge, one that can paralyze me, how I am de-constructing it to small challenges. Then I simply start doing something that is doable now.
This is a significant principle in improvisation technique: Look for what’s possible now, what is right for me now, and how do I search the “yes” inside me.
Dance in general, especially in contact improvisation, is a communication tool for me. The beginning in learning improvisation is to learn how to move with myself, how to meet with myself, and then how to meet with different partners.
This is absolutely a challenge: how do I continue to listen to myself without losing my partner, or vice versa, how do I listen to my partner without losing the listening to myself. This is a challenge in life as well as in dance. Having the capability to challenge myself in each encounter with a partner and see in every encounter another beauty, another experiment.
The way to practice it is in being present in each moment in the dance, be attentive to the very small details, to the body; to the breathing; to the space; to the rhythm.
This is exactly how I looked at the dates I had. As if it is a dance, as if it is a duet. Instead of looking at a date as a new beginning, having questions such as “what will happen” and deal with the tension that follows these first meetings, I deconstructed the time to small pieces. Just go out and get in the car; be at the present; not involve past difficulties; not having high expectations. Just be focused in this date, and in each moment search for the “to what I agree”, how am I enjoying, what is really good now, am I listening or am I busy with my thoughts. I was present through the body.
In my date with Avishai, instead of thinking whether Avishai is good enough for me or not, I am busy with enjoying the walk in Rotshield Boulevard. Instead of checking how do I look, I am practicing the “listening”. What am I hearing; to what extent I am in the present conversation without making any comparison to the past, or thinking of the future. The only thing that exists is the present.
This practice gave me more freedom to be; freedom to have fun. I was not busy with “does he fit”, “do I fit”, “and how it will continue”. By using many relaxing exercises I was doing in my studio, I was less tight, more enjoyable, consequently I had more fun, I was calm, and really the first meetings were nice, and that let us meet again and get to know better.
Practicing to lessen expectations and silencing past noises that brings judgmental, is recommended not only when you go out in a date. In every first encounter, either with a new boss or with a new colleague, with a new neighbor, is a chance to learn how to be in the present.
This is a mutual challenge for us all. Continue listening to myself while meeting something different.
The price of not listening to me just to “be nice” is tiredness and emptiness. At the same time, staying closed, protected and safe will not let any encounter to exist, to really get to know each other.
In my next date, how will I focus on discovering the one “mission” that will work; that will ground me; that will make things possible? What will be a success?