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A lesson in surrender


What is the difference
Between your experience of ExistenceDSC_4945
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.” 
― Hafiz,

Last week’s full moon woke me up.  Had me fighting to block its insistent light with pillows.  Had me tossing and readjusting myself in bed. Had me muttering under my breath.  Had my mind reeling with the kinds of irrational thoughts that only come at night when all is still.

When I reached my fill of frustration with the moon, I thought to myself “fuck it.”  I opened up my window, placed my pillow right by it, lay down my head, let the scent of fall waft in, and challenged her light fall upon me.

I was asleep in minutes.

This is what happens when one surrenders completely to the very thing that creates discord in our lives.

It is how the perfect surrender was created for card-asking man when I asked him to step out of his comfort zone and take me dancing.

Now card-asking man and I had already been on several dates: hiking, canoeing, a spectacular day at the museum – we had already kissed and I was finding myself more interested – but I wanted to know him better.  I wanted to know what he was made of.  I wanted to know how he fared under pressure.

What better way than through dance?

I don’t mean the night-club kind.  I mean the kind of dancing where there are prescribed steps to be taken, where there is a format, where a man is meant to lead and a woman to trust.  Dance is the quintessential mirror of relationship.

How one deals with uncertainty, frustration, learning new things, holding space for one another, having fun, letting go, giving up, being intimate, diving into passion… all show up through this modality.

Besides, I figured it might be a lot of fun.

I chose swing dancing, although I didn’t know what kind of dancer card-asking man was. Neither of us had experience in this genre – but I had an unfair advantage, being a seasoned Salsa/Merengue/Bachata dancer.  And, anyway, there would be a lesson ahead of time – a chance to learn together.  I was quite certain it would be fine.

We met first for Japanese, became engrossed in conversation and lost track of time.  So we arrived a half an hour late – the lesson half way done.  We’d missed the basics.

Not dissuaded, we jumped in anyway, laughed at our inability to get the steps and at how goofy we felt, when our dance teachers told us to find another partner…

Card-asking man gave me a panicked look.  I struggled wanting to break the “rules” and stay with him, but thought to myself, “you can’t rescue him – he has to figure this one out on his own.”

I gave him a sheepish grin and a shrug of my shoulders as I went to the next dance partner.  We moved through 9 people before the lesson was done.

By the time I got back to card-asking man, he was a bit disheveled.  Clearly, this was not what he had anticipated.  The back of his blue oxford covered in sweat, he looked lost, exhausted, ready to bolt.

I gave him my most beautiful smile.

He looked adorable.

I suggested a drink and assured him of his luck.  Didn’t he realize, I asked playfully, that he had the privilege of being on a date with the “best” teacher in the entire room? I guaranteed that, before the night was through, he would learn the 1-2, step back, 1-2, step back without a glitch.  Just you watch.

The band played song after song as he stumbled through counting the steps, falling off the rhythm, becoming noticeably frustrated (yet fighting to stay lighthearted,) tongue on upper lip concentrating, eyes rolling upward when he just didn’t get it, feeling like a klutz – all the while I praised his effort, laughed and thanked him for dancing with me.

I could feel his intention to work through the discomfort, the unease, the newness, the fact that he did not appear “perfect”  because he desired that I get what I want – a fun evening dancing.  I sensed this in him the entire time and continued to stay in my pleasure so that he might know that even this part of the “dance” was enjoyable for me.  His struggle to please me was endearing, sweet, touching.

And then he surrendered to the moon.

When it finally dawned on him that this swing dancing thing was not rocket science, there was a noticeable shift in his demeanor.  He became fun, playful, flirtatious.  Sometimes he had the “step” and sometimes not.  Either way it didn’t matter – he got it – and everything changed.

And I did too.  I recognized my ability, in that moment, to find a man right no matter what, to approve of him in the face of frustration, to cajole him out of tension and into the stream of joy so we may both be uplifted by the experience.  Both enjoy one another in spite of the impossibly imperfect situation – and because of it.

When he stayed with the dance and found his fun with me, I realized this was no ordinary date.

He was no ordinary man.

And my surrender was about to unfold.

In love, service and pleasure,


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