I’m either a shy extrovert or an outgoing introvert. I thrive on the connections I make with other humans. With you! You inspire me. You touch me. You truly make me feel alive. You also temp me. You frustrate and at times enrage me. Sometimes, I want, no I must! be alone and sometimes I want to koala bear myself around you.
When I first stopped drinking alcohol I did it as a social experiment. I wanted to embrace all my emotions, feel my feelings, be ok with them, not drown them in liquid ease. What started as a month has become years, with some ‘fuck it’ moments in between, a space I give myself to not feel. Sometimes it’s still too much.
The truth is, alcohol was a way for me to connect to people, connect to you. I want to be interlaced, close, sometimes molecularly entangled. But when you wake up the next day and the memory of your connection is hazy at best, this kind of kinship feels tangential rather than relevant to my heart.
I think we’ve all felt the exhilarating rush of seeing someone you innately want to spend time with, know more about. It’s palpable at times. There has been so many occasions in my past when I was drawn to people and kept that attraction to myself. At times because the person I wanted to know about was physically attractive and my interest might be misinterpreted by others… or myself. Sometimes because I was simply to shy to express my curiosity.
So I stopped drinking alcohol to feel the discomfort, more than that, to explore it, to dive in. It has gotten easier. When I see people now that I am curious about I try to make the effort and let them know. Sometimes the interest is not reciprocated and that hurts, usually however people are grateful for the words, a touch or a smile.
Today someone I met a while back reached out to me, we had coffee and talked about life, it’s beauty, it’s challenges. We talked about love, sadness and fear. About being kind to yourself and how that practice automatically transfers to who you put your energy towards. We talked about dating and how knowing yourself is a powerful basis for a healthy union. I met Deirdre at a yoga training, everything about her was (and still is) interesting to me, from the way she looks and carries herself to the words she shared with the group. We also spoke about silence, the comfort of being silent with another being. No need for words.
The coffee place has a special barista. One of the people I mentioned above. With the kind of energy that leaves you feeling better off. I’ve noticed him every time I’ve been there, how he seems excited about every person who comes into the coffee shop, how he gives everyone his attention, looks you in the eyes, smiles. It took me about three tries to build up the courage to let him know that I consider it a gift when people like him work in the service industry. What a pleasure to be taken care of by someone who enjoys it. As an outsider you may think that it should be an easy task to tell someone you think that their smile has made your day, how could that go wrong? Intellectually I agree, emotionally I could come up with several good reasons not to share those thoughts. Scott seemed to appreciate my gratitude.
Later Deirdre and I walked to Whole Foods. At the corner a man was sitting on the ground. At his feet a bunch of coins placed in the shape of a heart. Whenever I walk by his regular spot he flirts with me, I guess we have a thing going on. I commented on his beautiful art and he called me a ‘beautiful work of art’. So many things went through my mind, how much I love his poetic compliment and how I love the fact that he didn’t seem to think that he couldn’t flirt with me, even more. On our way back from Whole Foods we stopped to add some change to his heart. We sat for a while and talked about his life, our lives. I asked him if there was anything under $50 that would really make his life easier? I asked with the intention to get it for him but he replied: ‘ Honestly, I’d rather have less.’ Minimalism at it’s best. His eyes spoke kinds words, his mouth shared interesting thoughts. Charlie has been on the streets for a while, he said he is getting a van in a few months and I have an open invitation to join him on a trip to Big Sur. The simplicity of our action (sitting down for 15 minutes to talk to another human being) and the level of excitement in his eyes, truly were a reminder of how easy it is to touch, to give someone space to be heard and seen.
And in the end, isn’t that something most of us crave? A connection in which the person truly hears you? Is not thinking about their response, not even about how your story relates to their lives? A non-physical place where for a moment all that matters is what you have to say? And what a pleasure to be able to create that space for someone else?
Connection, Union, Yoga. They are all the same to me. When we can take our meditation practice off the mat or cushion, or whatever you like to sit on, it truly inspires tiny little miracles that combined make this world an enchanted place.