Thank you Steven:
Notes on Nurturance with Contact/Gerbil/Cuddling
by Bob Banner
Brad, a man in constant perpetual transition moving from one world or many worlds to other worlds traversing as well as dancing between and among dimensions hearing voices from the past and the future all mingling into various "nows."
He was quiet yet verbose, childlike yet ancient, shy and yet audacious, fearful yet another moment breaking out into eternal certitude that dripped with a giddiness that was graced with the mysterious unknown.
He would write poetry and lengthy diatribes of the global corporate machinery being an evil monster ruthlessly and eternally waging war on the species.
He, like others simply want to feel Home in his body, in his world, among friends, among species and to feel it at whatever cost.
Long story short Brad was admitted into a love cult where they learned all such strategies and agendas and exercises and practices to touch home, be home and become homing humans moving in the world and yet not of it.
Therapies, modalities, screaming, meditations, acting, feeling, getting and reaching more to the wildness that he was, breaking through from comfort yet dead to a very uncomfortable aliveness that was mystery and yet feeling like a remembrance of Home.
No matter what metaphysics were flying around those houses where others also were serious about becoming Home in their hearts, he was drawn to these piles of humans lying still on couches or floors with pillows cushioning their bodies. No movements, no acting, no dancing, no talking, just a stillness of bodies touching, feeling other bodies, legs upon a chest, hands on someone's back, a head touching feet, a belly having a full-bodied hairy head resting and all the permutations thereof. Sometimes 4 people, sometimes 14. They called them gerbil piles and even though he was scared to death during his first encounter there was a “homing” device inside him that drew him to it like a moth to a flame but rather than dying he was being reborn.
Typically it happened at night after a ferocious encounter with a large group dealing with everyone's shit, their shadows, the illusions and fakeries and when or after the breakthroughs created an energy of a new comfort of home or after a riotous wildly moving dance to throw it all the way into the fire, gerbil piles would slowly mysteriously move toward those places, those spaces... A pile over here, a pile over there. A deep nourishment was visceral, cells giggling home again, softening, treasuring, respecting, healing. This is where he felt the healing of his sexual addiction, this was the foundation, this nurturing was at the bottom of it, sex often used to try to get there but really never made it—but the seductions were so strong like all other addictions that simply side stepped from the real nourishing. Home. And this was 1990.
Fast forward to dancing events that include ecstatic dance and contact improv with people he had no history with, no bodily or vocal non-mind modalities of seeing and feeling each other's dark side and grace and beauty. Here was a structure, a venue, a space of dancing and wildness and beauty but without that inner trust.
He was missing something yet of course he would blame it on himself rather than seen the whole picture.
Contact improv was more incestual than coming together from a depth. It was more acting than visceral healing, he judged.
Granted, different worlds and universes and levels and experiences all dancing it out on the public yet sacred space was all playing itself out. Brad found himself in joy and mystery yet danced the fakery the acting and seeing all the universes playing themselves out in a new dimension, from inner home to the public arena, perhaps from workshops at the Playa to the basements and dance studios throughout the country. It is what it will be, Brad reminded himself.
He simply avoided talking about it. Maybe to a few but that's as far as it went. Went to some contact improv workshops but it was still acting and charted out yet it was and is what it is.
At other studios, other places he would see piles of contact smoothly moving with smiles and laughter and became entrapped in it one day and a giddiness took him over. Once again he felt at home. Perhaps it was possible not to see and taste everyone's stuff in order to simply be. Perhaps they were really real. Did any of that matter if he felt alive? It didn't matter if he wasn't hearing the cathartic cries or the thunderous bolts of pent-up anger from God knows where. This is where it is now with whatever people are inclined to be here. And so be it.
Yet Brad sensed that his body yearned the spaciousness yet also needed the reality, whatever that meant.
One time he went to a playshop that featured Steven from Santa Cruz. He didn't know that much about it. He was hoping he could listen to a few remarkable songs, feel a bit connected with other folks, do some simple chit chat talk and go back to his life. But no such plan.
The few people were already rolling around on the floor or embracing gently in groups of two and three and four slowly moving to music Brad hadn't even heard yet. Sigh, he said to himself, ahhhh let go he said to himself trying to surrender.
But moments before that he did meet Steven and each thought they had known the other. Brad somehow spilled the beans by saying unconsciously, “yes, no faces are we… only recognizable frequencies.”
They laughed and yakked a bit and a connection had been made before the playshop began. So Brad was massaging the floor, stretching and moving and waking up and slowly shutting down the tormenting judgmental to mind and with a smiling face he was doing and being where he was at. The music was serene and soft and gentle. Brad found his way back to some yoga pads and sat with eyes closed feeling the energy of quiet and peace. Others were doing a variety of movements. At one moment he heard a man cry out and then the words "I love… I forgive… I'm sorry…" not in quick succession but long and drawn out. Brad felt at home. It was refreshing. Wow… what was going on? And went back to his meditation. And zoned out in those spacious and gentle spaces.
Slowly and with respect he was touched by Steven, a gesture of invitation. Brad didn't open his eyes, he was greeted with such respect he returned the gift. He moved slowly, very slowly, hands, arms, torso moving slowly as if there was no movement. Eyes still closed, he moved, a stillness came over in their movements, a stretching from one world into another and then suddenly the nurturance became alive, the welcoming home became visceral, his body sighed quietly and allowed the cells to do their thing when they are happy. Brad melted into this nurturance. Such food for the soul! How did he know? What magic spell did Steven put on Brad? But Brad went deep, to a home away from home, and nourishment that simply went deep. Such a body sigh, a relief, a deep gesture always trying to find words that could possibly convey such a visceral treat, such a gift and then they slowly met other bodies so now Brad could give perhaps that nurturing meme to someone else, authentically not by rote.
At one point he heard the thought that Steven was gay and seducing him. And it went away as quickly as it arrived.
Ahhh to be bathed by such nurturance was so exquisitely delightful, Brad was feeling. A spaciousness yet a visceral depth that penetrated all his longing cells that for a brief moment felt like "belonging" cells found their home and that Home was in him, in the others as well and the next thought that entertained him was, as he slowly opened his eyes, “No wonder they love doing this! If this is truly what they are receiving, I need to be here more often and build my home on this foundation!”
“Thank you Steven.”
– Bob Banner