Sunday, October 19, 2008
BETTER THAN SEX
LEVEL 4 ENGAGEMENT
This is Janice whom I met in a bookstore in Sedona, Az sparking one of the great exchanges of my life. (I have permission to show her picture) I “opened” with interesting questions. She answered with easy openness, which allowed even more interesting questions. She answered with even more openness. Thus began a self-reinforcing spiral that took us down, down, down the conversational ladder: Past 1. RITUAL (Hello, how are you, etc.) Beyond 2. PASTIME (hobbies, gossip, current events) skipping over 3. WORK TALK; down to bedrock conversational level 4. INTIMACY. (what I really think, feel, want, have done.)
Wow! A beautiful stranger willing to engage at the level of intimacy. We were both delighted and soon adjourned to a coffee shop and got down to business. Business is the right word because valuables are being exchanged–as you will see.
We are ships passing–she en route to Chicago and I a vagabond philosopher, So we can risk letting all our cats out of the bag–even the wild ones. Why would anyone want to do this? Because it’s exciting and because we are all hungry to tell the truth about ourselves–to an appropriate listener. Especially the politically incorrect truths and the taboo stuff we have done or yearned to do. We want to share our agony and ecstasy; to trust someone enough to report our ridiculousness. Finally, we want to reveal ourselves to ourselves by saying it out loud.
Janice and I did all this. Each revelation evoked another till all our cards were on the table. It was hilarious fun. We laughed so hard and often we had to be shushed. It was indeed better than sex. Then we set about interpreting the cards on the table like a tarot reader, convinced they meant something. I cannot give you the details, except to say they were juicy and a pattern emerged for both of us. (The juicy details linger erotically in my mind.)
We concluded that all of us are driven by a bundle of inclinations as though we sat astride a willful horse determined to take us toward the things we like and away from what we don’t.
Every kid in this sense gets a “pony”, a pinto blend of genetic inheritance and childhood experiences; a unique bundle of affinities and aversions. And we ride this pony into adulthood–sexually and socially “wired”, acting and reacting almost on autopilot.
Once we wake up and acknowledge our wiredness–that we sit astride a willful horse, we face a crucial choice: To try to switch horses or go with the one we rode in on, learning to guide it a bit. Not an easy choice because some of us ride weird horses indeed. Nevertheless, we agreed on the latter, discussing for hours how to ride our particular horse with grace and efficiency. How to get gratified and still stay functional in society.
We discussed our “racket feelings” , those familiar, recurring feelings that somehow make us feel alive and that we have learned to generate for ourselves out of almost any situation–manipulating our environment till BINGO! We feel that old familiar feeling. Have you not seen angry personalities generate anger for themselves whatever situation they are in. Or sexual addicts generate a sexual high wherever they are. Well, our cards were on the table and our rackets easy to see. What a relief and a joy to see the truth about me. She said the same.
We moved on to “games,” comparing the psychological maneuvers we each use to generate our racket feelings. I told her about the superb analysis contained in the vintage book GAMES PEOPLE PLAY by Eric Berne. And the later work SCRIPTS PEOPLE LIVE.
Our evening ended outside in the parking lot with a goodbye kiss. Intimate conversation swells your heart. We’ve kept in touch. Her life drama is fascinating to me. Perhaps mine is of interest to her.