Have you ever had the experience of someone's eyes lighting up when they see you?
You didn't do anything - weren't being particularly wonderful or entertaining - you just showed up and they were delighted?
When you have a real connection with someone - genuine attunement - delight is the natural result.
And here's something I think is important about this:
Delight is a basic need. As human beings, we need to feel delighted in.
Without it, something within us shuts down. We lose a sense of meaning. Life feels dull and we feel alone. It's that important.
And like all things atunement related... delight breeds delight! It's contagious.
Cultivating your capacity for delight is possible and well... delightful!
Here's an example of a practice for cultivating delight in relationships:
This is one I practiced for many years with my children but it can be done in any kind of relationship.
When my kids we little, there was always so much to attend to... diapers, meals, picking up toys endlessly, laundry endlessly...
So I took time each day to pause. To stop doing anything - and just sit quietly and watch them... take them in.
I would try to do this so they didn't notice me and would just continue playing or whatever they were doing. I didn't want them to entertain me... it's like I wanted to catch them just being themselves.
And there would inevitably be some little unexplainable moment - they would do some little thing or interact with each other in a particular way... and my heart would swell...with delight!
These moments of delight kept me nourished during this time when my children needed so much from me. These moments of delight cut through the sleep deprivation and my anxiety about whether or not everyone was going to be ok.
So we come back to the practice of attunement... pause and...
First Presence - come back to yourself.
Then Contact - really take the other in.
Then Reflection - let yourself be affected by the other...
Then Respond - see what comes to you in the moment...
Then see if Delight arises...
Delight can't be forced or coerced. It can't be manufactured. If we give it room with this kind of practice - it comes on it's own!
I was thinking about responsiveness and how real, attuned responsiveness happens in the moment...
It isn't planned and it isn't a technique...
And I remembered something that happened years ago when my son had a fever.
My son has always had lucid dreams. As a child, he didn't have nightmares because if the dream got scary - he would change it. Unless he had a fever.
When he had a fever, he couldn't control his dreams anymore and had really bad nightmares and hallucinations.
One day he was home sick with a fever and was resting on the couch. I was in the kitchen doing some dishes, when suddenly he called to me in a panicked voice...
He was genuinely terrified. He was pointing off towards the wall where he clearly saw something terrible and frightening.
"Make them go away!" he screamed.
Now, part of me wanted to say "Now honey, there's nothing there. You're sick with a fever. You're safe. etc etc...."
Then I looked at his face and saw his fear. My whole body responded.
I turned to the wall and with a fierce intensity I waved my arms at the invisible monsters and yelled...
My son immediately relaxed, closed his eyes, said "thank you" to me very sweetly... and went back to sleep...
I felt like a super hero!
And also, part of me wondered if that was ok - it didn't seem like a very grown-up response... but it eased his fear... and that seemed enough.
I couldn't have planned my response. It was based on my sense of what he needed in that moment. Real responsiveness is often unexpected and unexplainable.
And I'm noticing that right now, as I remember that moment, what I feel most is aliveness.
And also, delight... which I will write more about next week - how it arises naturally through the dance of attunement.