The other night I went to a friend’s band practice to feed my soul and hear some soul music. I also wanted to hear the bassist, who had played for over fifteen years with James Brown. What I experienced and received was beyond measure. My soul registered the encounter as something it seemed to have drawn unto itself, a new perspective it needed to bring to my consciousness. My decision to attend this band practice would also turn out to be the catalyst for a relationship break-up.
Corby was his name, a two and half-year-old I met at band practice, who would change my internal scenery. He had a smile and set of eyes that had soul connection written all over them. Similar to driving down the freeway, and when you look into the car you’re about to pass up notice they are already looking at you, it was that sense of having met before we met up. He gently, yet profoundly says “hi, how ya doing?” with true concern and inquisition.
I felt at home. Not just because I was around soul music; bass, electric guitar, drums, and hyped up energy, but because I recognized this two and half-year-old soul as one of pure delight, experiencing life as it was meant to be; unabridged, full of expression, and not having yet encountered or subscribed to the cruel world as many of the rest of us seem to have done.
A cruel world was about to message me to complain about my choice to go to band practice rather than spend time with him; an evening option I hadn’t even been made aware of.
I stepped outside of the warehouse/garage where the band was practicing to take the follow-up phone call to the chastising messages, only to discover myself responding other than I might normally have; which would’ve been defensively chastising back and seeking to be understood, than to understand. That mode was not possible after having just encountered such a soulful engagement with the likes of a toddler, named Corby.
Later I would reflect and be surprised at how truly interested I was about my partner’s upset, and, my genuine willingness to alleviate his discomfort over my choice to attend band practice instead of making myself available for him. Hurting him was never my intention. Was my desire to understand his reaction a result of meeting this toddler, whose soulfulness reminded me it exists in all of us – even, or especially, someone who is very angry?
Contextualizing my partner’s reaction with a version of a world that can be cruel and unsafe (verifiable by some of my own previous behaviors), I saw his reaction as circumstantial, with an underlying need and desire for closeness and security. My attempt to alleviate his discomfort and anger were to no avail, I would return back to band practice a single woman.
Awaiting my return was this sweet, embracing two and a half-year-old. This time, as I stooped down to talk to him, he paused as if to make sure I was fully present. Did he somehow have a sense of what had occurred outside with my phone call? I make myself present to honor his young, grounded soul. With the biggest grin and curious eyes he says to me “you’re back!” Did he mean fully present, or, from outside? Then he follows up by asking, “so, how are you doing?” Interestingly, I was clear he was not asking about my reaction to my recent break up. He was asking how I was, in the bigger scheme of my soul experience on earth.
My eyes and grin grew big, and my heart even bigger. My expression and openness suddenly matched what I believe Corby had been emanating, which was delightment with life, for life’s sake. And joy, because life overall is truly good.
I replied to him, I am really good thank you for asking. He pauses for a moment, as if to take in the grandness and reality of my response. Seemingly delighted I had caught up to him spiritually, he then asks his grandpa for his child size guitar and begins playing alongside the band.