The Caring Heart

with Dr. Joyce

The Dance of Life

April 2013

“My prayer for them all is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are…the glorious unity of being one…” (John 17:21-22)

One-ness.  The ongoing flow of harmony between two or more live beings - each sensitive to the state of the other, and responding back and forth to whatever the physical, verbal, and emotional messages are.  Picture the ballet-like movements of a talented dressage horse and his rider, as the horse responds immediately and accurately to the rider’s most subtle cues.  The rider’s musculature is correspondingly constantly adjusting to whatever the horse’s body is doing underneath, instantly following.  Or, imagine a champion ballroom dancing couple whose perfect rhythm and flowing movements together seem almost magical – as if they are floating through currents of air, as one being.   
 
Such interaction in synchrony can be called “The Dance of Life,” or the dance of the Kingdom of Heaven, in that each participant is totally open and available and responding to the other, and only wants the good of the other.  That’s the way true love and kindness operate, the stuff that’s ongoing in God’s Kingdom.  We all need the Dance of Life ongoing in our lives for our health, well-being, and happiness.  We were created to need real, sustained connection, to God and to others, human and other animals (plants and the very earth, too, I think).  We are creatures of relationship, which is not an option but a real, fundamental NEED.  We do NOT do well without quality relationship. 
 
The Dance of Life is absolutely critical between mom and baby, as it lays the foundation for the social exchanges the baby will make throughout life.  Also, many thousands of attuned interactions between mom and baby foster healthy development of the baby’s brain and endocrine systems, without which lifetime impairments will be the inevitable result, if nothing corrects the deficiencies.  Babies need to grow into strong adults who can empathize, feel warmth, solve complex problems, communicate with others, balance their responsibilities, and perform higher cognitive functions.  They need to be whole. 
 
When we grow up, our need for The Dance of Life doesn’t stop.  We still very much need one-ness, harmony, and attunement with others to shield us from a multitude of physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, and social ills and dysfunctions.  Somehow or another, lack of such leaves us wide open at risk for drug addiction, eating disorders, emotional problems, animal abuse and criminality.  LACK OF SUSTAINED, SECURE CONNECTION SEEMS TO LEAVE US WITH AN EMPTINESS INSIDE THAT WE TRY TO FILL IN ALL SORTS OF MALADAPTIVE, PAIN-CAUSING WAYS. 
 
Most of us believe it is very important to us not to be miserable and unhappy.  On the other hand, BEING ONE IN HARMONY REALLY IS JOYFUL AND MARVELOUS, WHEN WE DO IT RIGHT, WITH COMPATIBLE OTHERS!!  Don’t we want to feel really good?

We can do so much to improve the situation!  We need to practice, practice, and practice sensitive responding with others (attunement), for our good, for their good, and for the animals’ good.  We need to foster empathy “big time.”  The choices we make with our time and energy, the way we orient our bodies when relating, our eye contact, our vocal inflections, and the expressions on our faces all send powerful messages which can foster lovely connectedness, and, in turn, increases in human warmth, kindness, and empathy.  “Secure relationships a any age take time as well as opportunities to be together, to attune to each other, to learn each other’s meanings, to engage in reciprocity and shared emotional states but also to endure breaks in connection and to mediate the resulting anger and disappointment, and finally to repair…” [Karr-Morse, Robin and Wiley, Meredith S., Scared Sick, Basic Books, New York, 2012, p. 193 ]

The Dance of Life needs to be on the “front burner” of our lives, not so far back that we re not even aware of WHAT WE SHOULD BE, and WHY.  Isn’t the ability to feel true, active empathy with other humans and with our incredibly precious animals the essential element as to what makes us “human?”  Without “heart,” aren’t we kind of monsters, or robots? 
 
The Dance of Life truly does bring Life.  Without such healthy, interconnected harmony going on, cruelty, sickness, and unnecessary death and real suffering will continue to abound.  The animals are the most innocent suffers of all, along with newborn humans. 
 
We CAN and MUST practice reaching out to the folks around us (and to the animals) and be the best we can be for them.  Our relationship skills can increase dramatically as time goes by, especially if we don’t forget to keep focusing.  We were created for one-ness, with God and with one another.  We will never really “make it” as individuals or as a species as long as we ignore how we were created.  (I hope this all makes powerful sense!) 
 
INDIFFERENCE IS THE MOST POWERFUL ENEMY OF LOVE
(Author unknown)