My 80-something-year-old neighbor and close friend Florence just stopped by my home, sat down, wished my daughter a happy birthday, and started talking to me about love, how much people need to love others, to direct their love outward, maybe even more than they need to receive it, and how important that is, what a skill it is, letting love flow instead of damming it up. I laughed because I feel that too in my own way and it’s something I sort of struggle with sometimes. For an example she told me about an exchange she had with a neighbor the other day who walked up and started talking with her while she was gardening. They had a conversation that felt to her like an exchange of love of some kind. He was telling her how much good information comes to him through his stomach, and they were exchanging stories along those lines.
This has me mulling over something from my own experience that I haven’t thought about in a while. I tried unsuccessfully years ago to write a story about a sensation that came to me sometimes that I thought about as something like an invisible kiss. In my early twenties I noticed from time to time that when I was listening to someone (and the someone could be anyone, old or young, male or female, etc.), I would occasionally have this sudden fleeting sensation that felt a lot like an impulse to kiss them. Not like I wanted to make out with them, not sexual, but like a little surge of electricity vaguely centered around the mouth. The first few times I noticed this sensation I felt embarrassed, even a little ashamed, like what the hell was that? After some time, though, I accepted it: “Fine, ugh, this is my fate…” Only very gradually did I stop judging my experience that way. By the time I was thirty whenever I felt the sensation, which was still only occasionally and unexpectedly, I at least noticed that it was only when I was listening to someone long enough, and being quiet, and focusing on them in a diffuse/dreamy way (as opposed to a narrow focus), that it happened. And very gradually I began to recognize that it was the invisible me connecting for a moment with the invisible other person. Almost like a tiny, partial out-of-body experience.
These days it is more of a full-body sensation, or maybe more torso-centered, like my guts and heart swelling (sounds more gross than it feels), and I feel it more often, enough that I don’t reflect on it the same way I used to. I think it’s funny how much it freaked me out about myself. Afraid of my own capacity to connect with people. If I’m doing any kind of rewildy work at all, this is it.