“We don’t need to think, we know. We don’t need to do, we are.
We keep moving in the wisdom that this is our only prayer.
Faith happens when my mind is in my feet and I am not thinking at all.”
— Gabrielle Roth, founder of 5Rhythms.
We are continuously offering expressions of ourselves in the form of energy, sound and movement. An energetic “offer”, as I like to call them, is our current emotional state that we are emanating such as joy, frustration or confusion. An offer of sound can be verbalizing a perspective, laughing or even sneezing. And movement can be gestures, facial expressions or a simple wave of the hand. Each offer is a signal that informs and has emotional impact.
We are always offering energy, sound and movement to our environment. We broadcast ourselves continuously on all three levels. In fact, there is not a moment when we do not offer all three levels at once. Every moment we send energetic signals declaring our emotional state, usually without even knowing what we are signaling. And there is not a second that goes by when we do not create sound and movement. Even when we sleep our stomach moves and we make noise with our inhale and exhale (or bruxing teeth!).
When considering the realm of communication there are two general types of offers that contain energy, sound and movement: initiating and following. People usually have a penchant for one or the other.
Initiators tend to say more and have a proclivity for taking control. They instigate conversational subject matter, unafraid to assert their opinion, redirect the flow of dialogue and even cut off others, especially the followers. Initiators will often have more extroverted offers of sound and movement.
Followers are more willing to adjust to what is being initiated because they have less invested in directing the nature of the conversation. They are more willing to listen, accommodate the initiator’s direction, and go with the flow. Followers offer their sound and movement from a more introverted place, although their energy can broadcast loudly without their knowing.
If you consider a teeter-totter with Initiator at one end and Follower at the other, it would be interesting to check in with ourselves and find out where we stand most often. What feels most familiar? Like many of our strengths, they can be weaknesses if we become entrenched in our ways. Being good at co-creative conversations requires a willingness to be flexible through our capacity to dance on the other side of the teeter-totter.
In traditional dance such as salsa or ballroom, the man leads or initiates and the woman follows. Initiating through taking control is more associated with masculine energy, while following through receptivity is associated with feminine energy. Throughout history, in all contexts of life, man has initiated more often and women have followed. The Spirit of Yes And, however, invites a new kind of dance, one that encourages each participant to partake in a more balanced sharing of initiating and following to explore and express their masculine and feminine energy. This is called The Dance of Yes And.
In this dance one person may initiate the direction of a conversation by vocalizing an opinion. The other follows, or dances along, by listening, acknowledging, accommodating, going with the direction of the conversation (Yes). And at some point the person following switches roles and now initiates by sharing a feeling or idea (And) which the initiator then follows (Yes).
Throughout the dance, both the initiator and follower create offers through energy, sound and movement. The dance is most powerful when each party is conscious of the quantity and quality of their offers. Quantity refers to how much time one spends in a role, while quality refers to the characteristics of the emotional field.
- Quantity: Being conscious of offering enough time for the initiator to share his story/perspective before offering (initiating) a new direction. Giving a chance for the initiator to contribute.
- Quality: Filling the space with qualities such as non-resistance, non-judgment, patience, openness and curiosity. Releasing control and allowing the initiator to have the lead.
- Quantity: Being conscious of how much time is spent maintaining control of the agenda and directing the flow of the conversation.
- Quality: Being conscious of, and taking responsibility for, the emotional impact of the offer on both the other person and the energetic space between.
Overtime as the The Dance of Yes And is practiced and we evolve in our spiritual growth and connection with the other, our dance deepens into a more natural, fluid and spontaneous place. Here we become less conscious of the interplay of roles, the quantity of time spent there and quality of impact. Instead, the line between initiator and follower begins to blur, and we just dance without thinking.
We have all had conversations where time no longer exists and we are lost in the moment. We are not conscious of who is initiating or following. There is simply the intuitive and rhythmic flow of energy, sound and movement. There is only offering. There is only the dance. We move with the natural flow and unfolding of the conversation, riding a river that penetrates, carries and bridges our souls.
The deeper the dance goes, the more room we create on the dance floor for the offers of others. We are open to initiate and follow ever-expanding ranges of energy, sound and movement. “Mistakes”, fears, messiness and celebration all have their place on the dance floor, and each is danced and held with love.
“Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
As we practice our dance with others, we soon find that Life as a whole is our dance partner. The dance of co-creating conversation becomes a dance of co-creating our life with Life. We initiate intention, affirmations and action, and follow synchronistic clues and inner guidance. And over time as we evolve in our spiritual growth and connection with Life, just like in our personal interactions, we deepen our dance and the roles of initiator and follower fall away. There is no longer separation between the initiator and follower. There is no longer a Yes to me And to Life. There is only Oneness. There is only Love.