Communicating Through Space

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

At last night's rehearsal I was pleasantly surprised with a hugely important lesson in relationships, which was experienced (intially) without a word from anyone's lips.

The ensemble was standing silently on one end of the rooftop at Sunway College, in the semi-darkness of a cloudy evening. Isaac was alone, however, on the other end, standing in a peculiar position with his head resting on the top of the wall to his left, staring up into the sky. Jo then told the ensemble to get him to wake from his reverie and get him to return to the studio with us, but we were not to speak or touch him.

So we walked to him.

Some looked him in the eye. Some waved. Some brushed past him. Some began thumping the metal piece on which his head was resting. Some stamped. Many closed in on him to try to get him to move.

He didn't budge.

At last, Jo quietly said to him that he could leave his position and he did.

Once we were all back in the studio, we talked and talked until we discovered for ourselves why Isaac wouldn't move: we were too close to him. Gestures and actions that were too direct in intention went unnoticed--Isaac said he couldn't feel us because we didn't allow him some space. We weren't empathising with him either, because we were all too concerned with the task we were given. We just wanted to get a job done, and the longer it dragged on, the more he became an impediment.

The ensemble was selfish, in a sense.

Jo went on to reinforce what she's teaching us about centering ourselves and allowing that to create presence in us. That presence in itself has a powerful ability to influence. The general idea I got was that so long as we don't think about things too much, and just allow our bodies to do the talking, our movements would have been more sympathetic towards Isaac. We would have responded to him differently, instead of imposing ourselves onto him for the sake of that given task.

I found that so insightful because this is entirely applicable with how we handle our daily relationships with the people around us, especially the ones whom we love dearly. How many times have we experienced being 'stifled' by our parents, who are in fact loving us without guile? How about teenagers who choose not to heed mounds of well-intentioned advice?

The common denominator for this seems to be a crowding-out of communication lines, as Jo put it. The more an individual's space is encroached, the less likely he or she is to respond to the encroaching elements. On the flip side, allowing him or her space to move and breathe encourages the person to evaluate (with less distraction) the surroundings and other people--then make a conscious decision on how to respond to them, instead of either shutting them out or spontaneously opposing the stimuli.

In a nutshell: if you love someone, set him free.

8 Comments

#1Gravatar imageSee Ming says:

Thanks for this post.. it’s really good insight Michelle

#2Gravatar imagekOtAk says:

mmm… good stuff…

#3Gravatar imageLigeirinho says:

Deja vu? Hmmm… I think it’s time I updated my blog…

#4Gravatar imageTopogigio says:

That’s awesome. Say, what class is this?

#5Gravatar imageJanet says:

yes, awesomely put mate….i couldnt have written it so clearly, i link it from my site?

#6Gravatar imageMichelle says:

It’s so true that you learn anything, anytime, anywhere. 🙂

Topogigio: It was a typical rehearsal session for [M! The Opera](http://www.mtheopera.com). No need to pay for this class. 😉

Janet: sure you can. 🙂

#7Gravatar imageFerret'R'Us says:

excellent insight..

maybe this explains why I refuse to learn how to speak Chinese..

#8Gravatar imageMiaow! says:

i miss M with an unquenching passion…. sigh

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