At the core of Open Floor philosophy is the understanding that “we are always in relationship”. We are in relationship not only with each other and ourselves, but also with animals, land, art, ancestry, and the entire natural world. Relationship is a need, much in the same way as food and water. The drive for relationship is an inner directive, with a natural cycle of being hungry, full, and then hungry again.
Relationship is not something we do – it is something that we are. Understanding this and learning to embody and move gracefully with our deepest and immediate relational hungers makes life meaningful and rich. Not being in relationship is not possible – we are always relating even when we avoid or isolate from ourselves, others, community, or spirit.
The Four Relational Hungers
Hunger for Solitude
The craving to know and be oneself, the hunger for solitude speaks to our instinctual longing for time and space to “be with myself”, to turn within and listen, reflect, and wait for an internal impulse.
Hunger for Connection
The ability to find safe and meaningful connection with others is essential to our well-being as humans. The awareness of thoughts and feelings in relation to others, a desire for intimacy, attunement, mutuality, and listening to others ,without excluding ourselves, speaks to our hunger for connection. Research overwhelmingly shows how healthy relationships create healthy bodies, can extend our life span, and create a world of more generous, stable people.
Hunger for Belonging
We are hardwired to find safety in a herd. We want to contact, recognize, and be welcomed, find our place and make our contribution. As we share this planet with all species, it is imperative that we recognize our ultimate inter-dependency in order to survive. Healthy groups and organizations support the value and contribution that each person brings to the table and recognizes our hunger for belonging or union with a group, tribe, family, school, culture. Community is a natural byproduct of belonging and it is why so many long term dancers feel a sense of community among its members.
Hunger for Spirit
The hunger for spirit is a felt sense of oneness with everything and everyone. It is our deep, shared desire to feel relief from suffering, to feel meaning and purpose in our life, to experience kindness and compassion for self and others. Our longing for a deep, embodied connection with all of existence and a sense of profound acceptance of life exactly as it is fuels our hunger for spirit.
Hungry for More?
How the relational hungers might show up in your Open Floor movement practice
Solitude – longing to be left alone and moving with our own experience. At other times we feel lonely or trapped in our own solitude, unable to move out and make connection. We might avoid our self through constant engagement and partnering with others.
Connection – feeling excited and nourished by dancing with one lovely person and then another. We also know when our strong hunger for connection can make us feel insecure, distracted by our stories, awkward with others.
Belonging – feeling our self as part of a web, having a place in the group. At the same time, feelings of alienation, that we do not belong, may be all too familiar. We might find ourselves identifying with the “in crowd” or the “out crowd” in long-term dance communities.
Spirit – experiencing our holy longing to feel our self without separation from all things. We may feel as though we are not spirit and that others are, or imagine that we will unite with spirit once we’ve achieved some perfect or enlightened state. There is a holy longing for resource and refuge in something larger than our selves.