May 10th, 2003


dancing queen

I went dancing with mew last night. There's an English country dance series that she's been raving about, and this was the only one I could attend before the end of the series. I did a little English dancing at NEFFA, but not a lot, so it was good to get to spend the whole evening on it.

The people were really nice; experience levels seemed to vary from beginner to quite experienced, and the music and leader were both great.

English dancing, I can now say, doesn't fill me with the same fierce joy I get from contra dancing, but there's a very stately pleasure to it. There's a lot less energy on the outside of the dance; English is more restrained, the steps are closely tied to the music, and getting where you're going faster than the music does only means that you end up standing around for a few beats waiting for the next bit.

The figures were familiar enough that I caught on pretty quickly, and I'm something of a natural dancer (who knew!) so between those two things, I didn't feel at all lost. The leader did a really good job of talking about a few of the unfamiliar things, and I wish that EVERY caller would explain to people about "giving weight" when dancing!

There's a gender-free English dance in JP 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, except August, so I'll probably go at least once more this summer, but my focus will definitely be more on getting more contras. Greenfield, June 6!
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pattern language

There are these patterns in life, in interaction, that form in one relationship and then carry through into others. Sometimes this is good -- a pattern of joy or patience or listening -- and sometimes it's more challenging -- a pattern of fear or abandonment or anger. These are places that we might have emotional reactions out of proportion to the actual interaction because of past experiences that are similar.

In some ways, this is a kind of emotional laziness -- rather than coming up with a new response to a thing, we fall back on the old pattern. In other ways, it's a genuine way of feeling, because we can't separate ourselves from our pasts, and what has come before naturally informs how we, who we become.

But if I respond to an experience with Amy because of a past, similar, interactions with Bill, it may get in the way of having a fully formed relationship with Amy.

I think it's impossible to avoid this, and the question is more about how to be aware of these patterns. When I get grumpy with Amy, at least being able to identify some of it as grumpiness associated with past stuff with Bill is a start in being able to interact authentically with Amy. The next trick would be to get away from the pattern entirely, at least in being with Amy, but I'm not really sure how to do that, yet :)
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