October 27


The other day I had some time in the local town before I would attend a 5rhythms dance session in the evening. I love dancing and especially dancing to the five rhythms of flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness forming a naturally meditative session of movement. The dance becomes a wave of life, of birth, death and renewal… of profound joy.

I had not danced for over a half a year. But now was the time… even though I felt a bit stiff and tired in my body after having worked a lot in the garden these past weeks. I would just give my being a chance to flow, and it usually does:)

But as I already told you I had some time before the dance, and my feet took me to a bookshop where I browsed the shelves with English pocket books. I found a book by Gabor Maté, a renowned Canadian physician. I had read two other books by him: When The Body Says No and In The Realm of The Hungry Ghosts and been greatly influenced by his intelligence and genuine will to uncover the hidden structures of human development. This new book was about ADD and was called Scattered Minds. I put it in my pocket and went to dance.

After a short initial hesitation I just danced away. The cellar locale was sparsely filled with people and there was space to move around. The teacher gave us her best, music that gently cajoled us to let us be carried by the five rhythms through which she led us to explore ourselves… I was happy and in the flow, just enjoying the infinite variety of movement that my body was able to express when I just allowed it…

Then at one point of the session we were instructed to share our dance with the person nearest to us. It was such fun to see how I immediately tuned to different people I thus met and danced either wildly with great movements or timidly and reservedly depending on the impulse I got from my neighbors. One of them was special, our connection deep, wild and simple, a shared moment of joy, of exquisite fun. And then I danced on…

Later at the end of the session we were instructed to share a still moment back to back with our neighbor. And the person I had earlier shared the joyful dance turned out to be the one nearest to me. The connection was there, our backs contacting and when we turned around to face each other the connection was all the more obvious. Eyes seeing, joy reaching from life to life, and everything just as it should be, present for the moment.

We shared our mutual joy of meeting also with words as instructed, even though at least for me they were not really necessary. The connection was full and complete, life seen as one in two seemingly separate human beings. That was that.

The session was finished, and while in shower my mind started to spin around the experience. Could it go on? Could it be repeated, shared again with this being of my kind?

We met for a little moment afterwards, and it was obvious that the magic was over and we should go on with our own lives. But this experience stayed with me… it still had something to say to me, but I did not know what. I had never felt so fully and totally seen or accepted… What is this?

The next evening I was reading the Scattered Minds I had bought just before the dance. The book gives both a very personal and scientific description how the state called ADD or ADHD develops in a human mind. Of how some genetic tendencies and natural propensities of development get stuck and gain disproportionate dimensions that are then called ADD/ADHD and then medicalized away with Ritalin and other drugs. Dr. Gabor Maté wanted to show that our natural processes of growth are stymied by the unnatural environment we are forced to grow up in. Our parents who were brought up by their traumatized parents are in their own attention deficit unable to be fully present when we as developing children need them the most. And if and when this is repeated it leads to traits that can be described as ADD ius. All of this is enhanced by the fact that the current lifestyle of our societies has the characteristics of ADD in itself: poor attention skills, deficient impulse control and hyperactivity.

But there was one particular chapter which really struck the bell in me and also explained the depth of meeting another person I had experienced during the dance the previous night. It’s all about attunement! About being entrained in the loving and nurturing presence of someone near to us!

As Matè puts it: “Attunement is necessary for the normal development of the brain pathways and neurochemical apparatus of attention and emotional self-regulation. It is a finely calibrated process requiring that the parent remain herself in relatively nonstressed, nonanxious, nondepressed state of mind. Its clearest expression is the rapturous mutual gaze infant and mother direct at each other, locked in a private and special emotional realm, from which, at that moment, the rest of the world is as completely excluded as from the womb.”

I remember how there have been times when I have wanted to steal a mother’s gaze to her child, to go there in between and get what I did not get from my own troubled mother… And now I finally got that gaze, that attunement of a body and soul with someone who was open and caring, at least for that very moment:)

That is enough as Maté also gave me another important hint in his book. He describes how the development of the child and her brain is utterly dependent on its environment, on the emotional atmosphere of the family and society in question. And how loving, joyful, happy and secure environment is the best possible for the development of any living being. That’s where everything thrives and grows towards its natural bloom, also the brain. But our families and our society are not ideal, they do not give us nor to our children this nurturing environment as there is a lot of stress, fear, anger and anxiety around us whether it is expressed or not. A baby and a child is like a sponge sucking all those unexpressed emotions parents do not even acknowledge to themselves and much less to each other.

But as I was reading I realized that I am fully able to give myself and my body the happy and loving emotional environment I missed as a child and have thus been seeking from the people and the world around me since. I can choose to be happy and joyful in spite of whatever happens in the world, I can choose to be the loving being I had been entrained to seek from those faces of the world as my mother could not be there fully for me. I can now cut this emotional umbilical cord as I have been wholly seen by another loving being. I can carry on as a complete human being, fully in charge of my own emotional environment. I am utterly grateful for this present of a lifetime, for the loving presence an unknown dancer shared with me and Dr. Gabor Matè gave me the cues to understand. I am blessed!