This week it was the ChaChaCha and yet again we argued. 1,2,cha,cha,cha. I wanted to hold his hand, he wanted to hold mine. I wanted him to take bigger steps, he wanted me to take smaller. Grrrr. We are both trying so hard to get it right that it's going wrong.
Then last night we watched the 1992 film Stictly Ballroom and a penny dropped. The message of the film is so clear;
- Enjoy the dance
- Find your own way to dance, don't follow the set pattern
- Help each other so that you can co-create a dance which suits you both.
I realised that I have been so focused on doing my steps right that I haven't been focusing on what we are co-creating.
After my last blog I had emails from other dancing women friends who declared a similar struggle to surrender and be led. Then I read an article in a Sunday supplement about the reason why some women are into BDSM; that being tied up is the only way they are able to let go.
Women nowadays are often in control of so much. At work we are rising to positions of power, at home we are often i/c household management, kids diaries, holiday booking, clothes buying, food...and so the list goes on.
No wonder being led seems so alien.
Also I notice a fear in me, that surrendering on the dance floor, might lead to being out of control in other areas of our relationships. That somehow, being led during a dance would be a metaphor for the relationship.
And that was my 'aha' moment during the (quite tacky, but lovely) film last night.
I realise that the dance is a metaphor, but not one we are currently using. The metaphor isn't that if I am led in the dance, I am giving up power in my life, but that choosing to follow , with awareness that I am making a choice, allows something new to emerge.
We are both very independent and strong minded and both of us like to be in control in some areas of our life. Neither of us is easily led and both of us struggle to surrender.
The film made me see that to be good dancers, it isn't about me surrendering to his leading, but both of us playing our role to co-create something larger than the 2 of us and more beautiful that either of us can create alone.
Which feels like a huge realization for our relationship. Yes we are 2 separate people and we each have our own style, strengths, interests and weaknesses, but when we work best we are more than the sum of the 2 of us.
If I shift my mindset to see us as 2 people co-creating a life dance then this is what I see:
2 of us enjoying the dance - enjoying the interplay of how we are together. Understanding that making mistakes is the only way to get things moving more and more fluidly. We need to learn to laugh more as we bump toes.
2 of us finding our own way to dance - there is no right or wrong way to have a relationship, we have to learn what works for us.
To do this we need teachers who are good at the dance of relationship. I get some of this from watching friends and family and some from reading, coaching and courses (for example this intimacy course I'm looking at). I have friends who know how to dance in their relationships; they had great role models in their childhood. I didn't. Not all of us had a model for how to have happy relationships and that's OK to acknowledge and get support with.
As well as teachers we need to tune in to what our own bodies and feelings are telling us; do we want to move fast or slow? Is it a Cha Cha Cha or a Waltz kind of moment? Finally we need to free-style more, see what works for us; trial and error, taking risks as the lead character in the film does.
2 of us helping each other so that we can co-create a dance which suits us both.- I'm good at hearing the music, he's got more experience than me. I'm good at forward planning and big picture thinking, he's good at detail and pragmatism. Rather than trying to pull each other to make the other more like us, we need to increasingly create a dance which allows all of who we are to come together to make something bigger and more beautiful than we can make on our own.
- How could you enjoy the dance or your relationship more? What can you laugh at and let go?
- Who are your relationship dance teachers? Who's relationships do you admire? Are there books and courses you can go on to help you?
- What are you good at? What is he good at? How can you create a dance to play to your strengths more and more?