Have you ever had the experience of being in a conversation with someone and something happens... you feel hurt or confused... then, without you saying anything at all... the other person notices that something happened for you and asks you about it?
Today I'm writing about another aspect of attunement - Responsiveness
There's many ways in which responsiveness happens. And when there is presence and contact and reflection already, it happens naturally. But this is the part of attunement that looks the most like doing something so I want to talk about this.
Responsiveness is particular.
It is different than anticipating needs.
Responsiveness and anticipating needs can work together but they are not the same thing.
Responsiveness happens in the moment when you are genuinely taking in another person - seeing their face, hearing their voice. Your response is to them - how they actually are in that moment... not your idea of them.
Anticipating needs is more of an idea of them... based either on your past experience of them or on how you yourself might feel in their shoes. This can lead to a disconnect if you aren't really seeing them in the moment.
Here's an example:
You know your child (spouse, roomate) has had a big day. You anticipate she'll want to curl up with a book and relax once she gets home. You've got a blanket ready, made a fire...
And when she gets home, she's angry and full of energy and wants to go for a vigorous walk...
If you can take her in as she is, and respond to her in the moment - that's attunement.
But wait! Can you do this and not lose touch with yourself and your own needs? Maybe you really wanted to curl up with a book by the fire and now there is all this anger and energy in the room...
How can you attune with each other and respond to each other as you are in that moment?
First Presence - come back to yourself.
Then Contact - really take each other in.
Then Reflection - let yourself be affected by each other...
Then Respond - see what comes to you in the moment...
This is good practice. And challenging! If you get stuck or caught anywhere, come back to the beginning... come back to yourself...come back to presence.
Next week I'll write about Delight! And how important this is in our experience of attunement.