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It has long been studied that people function in waves of focus. Alpha and Beta waves alternate from intense attention to diverting glances out the window and getting lost in thought- in Spanish we call it "staring in". It follows further into Waldorf education theories and the way they design interactions between children and teachers. They have an activity where they all sit in a circle and then the activity ends seamlessly and the children all wander in different directions and play by themselves until the next activity.

What is even more interesting, though, is that adults do this, too. You can spend all night drinking someone up and there is a moment where you need a separation. This is the magic of silence. Even if the conversation is incredible and enlightening, there comes a point when you each take a gulp of your drink in tandem and breath out... the relief of not having to say anything.

This is especially hard when you are excited to learn someone. Sometimes you feel you have so much to hear and say and the night only has so many hours and who knows if you can ever come back to this... so you talk and talk and talk and even one deep breath seems like wasted time. We need the wasted time. We need to remember to break the glance. To sit in silence.

You can be the most interesting person in the world and anyone still needs you to just. shut. up.

Sometimes. And it is really not about you.

The problem is, some of us don't do the distance. Some of us have a very hard time with silence. There's too much information in the silence, and not the kind we can control. See, silence carries heavy. Silence is purposeful. Silence is an action. Those Beta waves are the ones allowing the info to trickle down into opinion and judgment. I'm not sure how we can sit peacefully in that.

It happens in sex, too. There is only so much time we can easily spend face to face and then it turns into face to back and face to ass. We break connection to find introspection. This is why oral sex has a place in the middle of sex, it's our mental break. Oral sex is about you doing what you want to do to someone else. It is the most selfish selfless act there is. But it is private.

Since it's hard to ask for space, we use tools to help us claim it. Cigarettes once carried this role. You would fall, exhausted, off of each other and reach for the cigarette and face the ceiling in tandem, breathing only through your smoke and pretending your silence was from being out of breath. Now it's the cel phone. Orgasm to nightstand, we come back to self through connecting with those that were not just lost in parts of ourselves. In moments when there is no tool to ease the transition, the silence comes across as rejection. Even when we are aware of what is happening, it feels like loss.

Have you noticed the need for space after connection? Do you have any tools to create separation? What do you do to ease the tension?

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