“I think the beauty of being human is that we are incredibly and intimately near each other, we know about each other, but yet we do not know, or never can know, what it is like inside another person.
It’s amazing. Here am I sitting in front of you. I am looking at your face, and you’re looking at mine, yet neither of us have ever seen our own faces.” ~ John O’Donohue speaking to Krista Tippett
After a wild chaos, the music finds its way to stillness. As the music slows and softens, the blood pumping, sweat dripping that was chaos still vibrates throughout the room.
Stillness brings me face to face with the intensity of my own aliveness. In stillness, while the body might barely move on the outside, inside planets orbit in wide arcs, the ground shakes, and oceans break against shores. In stillness after chaos, there is no doubt I am alive.
And, I am aware of just how alive I am when my skin touches his skin and electricity sparks. We are dancing near each other; yet, it is when our arms barely brush against each other in response to the music that a new channel opens between us, between his soul and mine.
As our forearms slide alongside one another, something within me communicates with something within him, and it happens through our skin. Fluidly, where arms were merely meeting, hands come together and clasp. We are not looking at each other, but we can ‘see’ each other. It’s a seeing that doesn’t rely on eyes. And I am a witness to ‘this dance that is the two of us’. And, he is a witness to the same dance.
I can sense where I end and where ‘this dance that is the two of us’ begins. My fingers begin to travel this new terrain.
A more shy part of me emerges with fur standing on end and hunger whetted. My heart hungers to touch because it is through touch that my heart can navigate this wise flesh and what lies within it.
And so, I make my way out of my own dark forest and meet him under the moonlit sky.
I am amazed to feel my heart beat against his skin. We are not that close; yet, we are incredibly and intimately near each other. My heart beat travels down my arm, through my fingers, and pulses against his skin. My heart wants to know him but I can never really know him. I can only navigate the land where we come together, where we both feel ‘this dance that is the two of us’.
As this last song of stillness meanders from beginning to end, our bodies move together – arms around waists, cheeks touching cheeks, front to back and back to front – and tears begin to form below the surface of my eyes. They never fall down my cheeks. Instead they flow from ‘this dance that is the two of us’ back up and into my heart.
I can feel ‘we’ in me.
Something in me has had the incredible chance to know something in him. In the depth of a dance. For the length of a song.
And then, the music stops and ‘this dance that is the two of us’ ends. But, I am now different, changed. I know more of myself because I opened and touched and listened. I know more of myself because I navigated the terrain of us. In a few short minutes, I’ve remembered unseen realms and listened to ancient stories.
And, while I can never know what it is like inside of him, maybe, just maybe, out of the shadows of soul I’ve seen a glimpse of my own face.