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Savoring the meal long after it has been eaten…

“So she thoroughly taught him that one cannot take pleasure without imagesgiving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance, every last bit of the body has its secret, which brings happiness to the person who knows how to wake it. She taught him that after a celebration of love the lovers should not part without admiring each other…..” 
― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

During meals in France, it is common for conversation to be centered around food.  Yes, there is a detailed discussion of the present meal – from the choice of wine (which could take a long time,) to the artisanal cheese served….  But, more than anything else, it is the sweet, sensual flavor of a most memorable and delicious dish had in the past, while enjoying the present meal, that is recounted.

Each minute detail relived.

Each taste savored once more and shared with delight at the table.

I hadn’t realized that when returning home from every one of my dates, and in taking the time to recall and jot all of the positive elements from them, I was doing what the French do with food: bringing it back to life, allowing myself to keep enjoying it long after it was done.

As I found my feet, with clear structures in place, I was able to settle more and more into dating.  I recognized the importance of having created this loose but tight practice.  With landmarks I could count upon, my confidence grew.

But I was relaxed with card-asking man.  I had known him through mutual friends, so there was some ease to being together.  And I was honest about my research.  Candid about my intent to be in discovery.  Frank about my desire to undo the learning around men that had encroached itself into my beliefs.

He took it all in stride.

I don’t know how this happened, to tell you the honest truth, but on our second date I shared with him my practice of finding the good in time spent together with the men I dated.

That evening, I sent him an email telling him one highlight from our day.

A month later, after each date, I had coaxed from him a practice of sending our favorite parts to one another either via email or left on voicemail.

It was something we both found ourselves looking forward to – an anticipated gift with no idea of the contents.  Each time, surprised, expanded, moved to tears – I could not believe how he allowed himself to be vulnerable with me in a way I had always desired with a man.  And how he found importance in aspects sometimes similar, sometimes very different from my own.

The practice slowed everything down, kept us aware, focused on the details, grounded in gratitude, open to joy.  It made it supremely rich.

We had learned to enjoy the meal long after it was finished.

I can’t put to words, really, why this practice became significant except to say that as we got to know one another, I recognized some essential elements at play:  open communication, trust, respect, honesty and, most of all, vulnerability.

Each time we shared, we put ourselves on the line.  We took a risk.  Rejection was possible at any point.

Maybe that was it.

In taking this practice on, we held each other in trust.

And began to lay the foundation to grow a relationship neither of us could have ever anticipated…

In love, service and pleasure,

Joelle

 

 

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