When I make head-based decisions about people, those decisions are all about keeping said people happy. Head decisions keep me calm, neutral, co-operative and generally easy to be around.
The responses that come from my body are a whole other thing. Most people I prefer to have at least three feet away from me. People who are welcome to stand and stay in my personal space are few. These are also the people I’m happy to be touched by.
I’ve made head decisions all too recently to stand still and silent while people I did not want touching me insisted on doing so. There comes a point when you establish that someone just won’t take no for an answer, and that the easiest way out seems to be to acquiesce. It’s not a logic I like, and I know full well where its logical extremes take a person.
Then at the other end of my range there are the other people, and there aren’t that many of them. People where my body reaction is to want to hug fiercely. I make head decisions not to follow through on this, sometimes – because it might be too much.
There’s a handful of Mary Oliver lines I keep coming back to. “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves’. I don’t actually like the head decisions I make about people, most of the time. When I have acted on those felt reactions, and either backed off or moved closer accordingly, of late the outcomes have been good.
What is called for, is some kind of negotiation, where both parties are taking the time and care to find out what’s available. No assumptions. No demands. One soft animal body paying careful attention to another.