Like an Island in the Ocean

Notebook & pen“Want to try an experiment in something different, love?”

This was a written note in a notepad that I pushed over to my beloved, as we sat for a dinner in a lovely Japanese restaurant, on our recent date/evening out. The whole evening was a planned surprise, as a belated Christmas gift, or rather, an experience. This was merely the first part of it.

“Yes, and it makes me a bit nervous,” she wrote back.

“The idea is to not talk, but write only, for either all, or just a part of the dinner. Waitress talk excluded.”

I must admit that the idea was not originally mine. I borrowed it from a book I just finished reading, “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer. The whole book is beautiful, touching, inspiring, and evoking, and somewhere there, Amanda was sharing the story of her having such a dinner with her husband. I was also a bit nervous suggesting it, because it felt strange and a bit awkward.

In every winter’s heart there is a quivering spring and behind the veil of each night there is a smiling dawn. – Kahlil Gibran

What follows are excerpts from that experience, with more thoughts along the way. Feel free to guess who wrote what. Contrary to what is being taught to any author and writer – to not reveal the end till the end – I can already tell you that the evening was absolutely magical. The fact that the food was amazingly delicious only added to the experience.

“Any rules? Like can one of say when we want to talk?”

“No. Yes.”

“They are having fish and chips but the chips is lotus root! Cool… and yum…”

“A toast – may we keep experiencing beauty in all its forms!” It was followed by “With each other and in every moment.”

“It’s a good sign when you see so many Japanese customers.”

“Presence. With everything – you, me, food, all around. Like an island of solid ground amidst a turbulent ocean.”

“I am present to the candlelight shimmering its reflection on the water, the warmth of the cashmere against my skin and the waves of love I feel for you.”

“I am present to the newness of this dinner experience, my still-new and much-underused shoes, your beautiful dress, how beautiful you are and how different you appear to me now, through the opening eyes of love.”

“It’s about bloody time! LOL”

As the dinner progressed, we sank into the flow of being present, sampling food and wine, being with our individual experiences, and with each other, through writing notes and thoughts. The silence deepened everything, bringing heightened awareness to the subtle flavours of the delicious food and sharpening our presence with each other. “It’s like being in a muffled chamber, just you and me and our beautiful love, flowering amidst the noise, chaos, and styrofoam reality of what is going on around us.”

To live deeper, we have to go to the places that help us find a slower rhythm. But simply going to these places is not enough. We have to let these places touch us, change us, speak to us. – Anonymous

In a world where the pace of life is on an exponential escalation, calling – forcing – us to keep up, slowing down can be challenging at best. There are increasing talks about our growing addiction to technology. Everything is pulling on our attention, demanding our engagement with the world around us more and more.

What is left behind is the world within us.

“The silence frightens us. The silence refuses our identity. The silence amplifies our emptiness. The silence brings us home.” Somewhere there, we talked about The Sounds of Silence song too. We also “talked” – in writing – about our desire to live from the place of silence, of space, of presence, all of which leads us to a deeper presence of love and of each other. Sinking deeper into the silence has the quality of diving deep under the water surface, leaving the noise of the daily life behind. “Peace. Presence. Warmth. You. All is right. Love.”

“My experience says that I am very full right now. The rest of the food is yours.”

Simon Goland