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Successful Partners: Consciousness in Being

While searching through my other blog  I found this article that I had written some time ago for a riding publication.   As I was reading it, I was stirred by how relevant feel and timing are for all partnerships whether with a moment in time, an object, nature, or others.  See what you think.

One Form of Partnership

Successful Partners:  Consciousness in Being

After 17 years of ballroom dancing and 40 years of riding, key ingredients to a successful partnership have crystallized.  Feel and Timing. In dancing or riding, these two very simple concepts are married together like the Yin and the Yang if the partners are working to create a three-dimensional relationship:  physical, mental, and sensing.  The concept of a three-dimensional partnership is a more complete pairing than simply two physical bodies moving together. I view the relationship in three layers:  1) the bones/skeletons as a moving X-ray creating stick figures in action, 2) two minds so the stick figures have communication and the possibility for developing synchronized movement, and  3) sensing which is the unspoken part of the partnership– the impression of magic in watching a dynamic, expressive partnership. As a rider and dancer, it fuels my enthusiasm for mastering shared harmony in motion.

Feel and timing are the key ingredients for synchronized movement, but they are also familiar aspects of our daily lives whether we are unloading a dishwasher, parking a car, or navigating a forkful of food into our mouth. Everyone moves through life with unending opportunities to feel. What one feels and how one expresses the feel are personal. I distinguish “feel” as both a receiving or inward sensation and an “expression of feel” as a giving or outward action. A very clear example of these two ideas is in a handshake. In the moment of contact, their is a ‘feel” of the hands, communication begins with each brain analyzing the experience. The handshake can stay at that level as a personal inward experience or it can go farther.   Perhaps, the greeter moves the hand toward the other person, not really pushing but expressing positive intent and the receiver acknowledges the action by meeting the contact with a matching action– both creating an “expression of feel” radiating through the hands.

Some people believe that it is not possible to teach feel. I don’t believe developing feel is a case of teaching, (since feel is already a part of us from before birth), but a case of waking up and refining what is already available. Touching a hot stove (experiencing pain) is a very severe example of waking up a particular area. Dancing and riding have obvious requirements for feel.  There is an initial contact moment when the feel becomes conscious, but how the dialogue continues is the challenge.  Interpretation of the feel, clarification of the message, and consciousness presence each moment is the challenge as the sequence of movements unfolds.  Being fully alive in life requires this same consciousness to what is present in each moment–there really isn’t anything else other than the moment we are in.

After the initial contact to an object, an impression, a scene, or a partner, there is an adjustment to the new awareness–timing.  Almost instantly following the initial assessment there are a series of adjustments created to work with these differences. The adjustments are a combination of conscious and/or unconscious actions–the language in the conversation of timing.  Using mounting a horse as an example, consider the moment a person settles onto a horse’s back. The horse can be confident of this intruder’s action and remain steady and unmoving. Or, the horse can become unsure and draw upon unconscious moments of survival and activate the flight mechanism . Likewise, the rider can sit astride the horse immediately creating a centered, appropriately-toned position, allowing the horse to be minimally disturbed.  Or the rider can brace, stiffen, and clutch, provoking the horse to feel attacked. As riding readers, you instantly begin to feel these different scenarios, leading to an internal reaction, and the brain starts to develop the options for timing and feel to work with the situations at hand.   Non riding readers can also get an emotional and physical glimpse into how easily the same starting point can end up in such different action:  there may not be as much kinesthetic basis for the reaction, but it is visceral.

Feel and timing are a part of every moment of our day.  How conscious we become of these two qualities is personal, but the first step is being present in the moment that is at hand.  The only moment. Partnering will take on a new depth to the experience whether with a moment in time, an object, nature, or others.

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