I offer him so much when I offer him my quiet and my stillness.
When he's talking slowly and can't find the words.
When he's vulnerable and hesitating.
When he's a little sharp from depletion.
I go quiet and still.
Quiet and still is a pleasant place to be, for me. It is lovely to be that. By no means could it be said that I am making a concession on his behalf.
Yet it is also a potent gift to him in those moments.
I drop all pressure, demand, expectation, and judgement—that is quiet.
I shed impatience, impulsivity, reactivity, and righteousness—that is still.
I am in a state of bliss.
And he is in a state of freedom. He is free to be all of himself, free from the consequences of my reactions. Safe to share his vulnerable truth.
When he talks slowly, it's an opportunity for me to receive slowly. When he's seeking the words I savor his commitment to nuance.
When he's vulnerable and hesitating, it's an opportunity to see that he's sharing something important with me, that sharing it is more important to him than preserving his comfort. I feel soft and safe as I relax into knowing he will always be truthful with me.
When he's sharp from depletion, I am as still as mirrorglass, and he sees himself. In the quiet he can hear himself, and he's eager to hear himself be loving and kind and playful again. I get to listen to the subtle energy of that transition, rather than drown it out with my own critical voice.
All these times I used to step in, try to draw a man out, ask questions or lean on him, require specific performance from him—I was stealing from myself. Stealing the quiet and the stillness from myself, and stealing the intimacy from both of us.