Today, I went to a workshop where we attempted to align ourselves with another person's center (not their geographical center, not their center of gravity; the center we were looking for was an invisible line of something running up through their feet, piercing a certain point behind their breastbone, and escaping through the top of their head). This was a preparatory exercise for improvisation. It was supposed to open us up to the listening required.
My partner stood in front of me and shuffled his feet around. He swayed a bit, staring into my eyes and concentrating hard on something else. Eventually, he stopped. "Is that it?" he asked. "I think I got it. Do you feel that? I definitely feel something."
We were standing about a foot apart. Just standing. I didn't feel anything, except faintly ridiculous. I didn't want to sound like a skeptic, so I asked him what it felt like.
"Kind of a tingling. Like I know we're connected. You know, it's just this feeling."
I tried. I stopped raising my eyebrows. I stood up straight. I tried to imagine tightrope walkers, Siamese twins, kung fu masters. I tried to imagine that this guy, who I had never met before, was (for these five minutes) the only person who mattered in the world. I tried to make my mind a blank.
"Can I be honest?" I said.
"Oh yeah," he said.
"I don't feel anything. Sorry. I really don't." He looked disappointed, and rather sorry for me, as if he had been afraid that I wasn't ready for this, but had been willing to reserve doubt.
"Well, you know, I thought you were pretty hard to read," he said. "Some people just are."