Balanced Three Layer Dip
Throughout the Mindfulness Workshop, Jenn and Eli connected. They hadn’t known each other before. They had entered at different times, took up different spaces, hadn’t exchanged even a mumbled hello. Yet, sitting diagonally across from each other atop creaky wooden chairs, they connected. One would smile as eyes connected. The other would smile back. The volley continued, intermittently, as they were working on being Mindful of the group leader of the Mindfulness Workshop.
The room filled with their connection nonetheless.
The session was interactive in conversation and small group projects. They joined in readily, paying close attention to what the other offered, laughed at the humor both exhibited. Some banter was tossed about. Eli was the cause of some group laughter, but his ears focused on Jenn’s. She’d fit in a wry quip or three. Their attention was focused. When the physical projects had them get up and move around, they flitted around each other, trying to “play it cool” but failing. When it was time to return to their seats, they were the last to sit.
Mindfulness continued to buzz around the group. They continued to smile for each other.
The workshop ran seven minutes over time. Eli kept checking his cell phone for the time. Jenn had a full view of the wall clock that was behind where Eli was sitting. Her right leg and knee were jumping while her attention was on the final words from the group leader.
“Thank you for coming, and…” and Jenn made a beeline to Eli. He met her halfway. The others were milling about, exchanging phone numbers, giving hugs and kisses. Jenn and Eli were stuck in the middle with each other.
“Hi, I’m…,” he began.
“Eli. I know. When you introduced yourself to our opening circle, I thought, what a beautiful name. I’m Jenn.” She was truthful to a point: Eli’s name did strike her. It was his eyes, though, that caught her. When he looked her way, the twinkles in them was a spotlight only for her. Jenn felt her cheeks grow warm. She put her hand out for him to hold shake.
The smile on Eli’s face grew Cinematic wide. He reached out and took her hand. It was the briefest of moments, but he had to remind himself to shake it and let go.
“Thank you, Jenn. Jennifer?”
“Jenn. Two N’s. Jennifer is reserved for my parents. And formal me. My friends use all the different ways you can break down my name. The closest of those, though, always call me Jenny.” She wanted to hear his basso tonality say that, to slide over the two syllables.
“Jenn, with two N’s, it is.” Eli coughed slightly, then continued. “I enjoyed your part of the introduction’s sharing. It takes a lot of strength to take such a huge risk. Walking away from a well-paying job to create something that is 100% you? I admire that.”
“Thank you, Eli. It has been a passion of mine for a long time. Easy peasy.”
“It came across. Mindfulness becomes you.” Mentally, Eli was kicking himself for that cheesy line. His stomach began to clench.
Eli unwound the second she began to laugh and was utterly relaxed again when she smiled. He silently thanked his daughter for pushing him out of the house toward this workshop. To him, mindfulness was the new buzzword, jargon that usually left him cold. Hearing “Let’s unpack…” or any use of the word scaffolding rankled him through his spine.
Yet, even beyond Jenn, he found connections with the content espoused in the past ninety-seven minutes. Yes, he was glad he attended, on several levels. Reluctantly at first: his daughter brought her A-Game “Dhaaaaad” to Sunday dinner. She used it with precision, honing it throughout her teenage years. At twenty-eight, the tool was sharp.
In her words, Eli was: too isolated; too in his head; too withdrawn from friends; too much living in the past. Too “too!” Eli filled in the one part she wouldn’t say out loud: too much into her daily life.
So. Here. Jenn.
Something she said filtered through the inside jumble of thought. “Easy Peasy. I haven’t heard that in a while.”
Jenn shrugged. “Just a thing I got from my grandma and mom. I took it on. Easy…you know.” Caught in the small talk loop she needed to stop before it drove all of this away, Jenn asked: “I know it is not an everyday saying. How did you hear it, if you don’t mind my asking?”
Eli paused a mulling over moment. “uh…a friend I met in college. Used to say it all the time, especially when she met anything tough in her way. She “easy peasyied” her way through the four years, and beyond that.” There was a seriousness in the lessening of his twinkles.
“Still in touch?” Jenn fretted aloud; her smile perma-fixed in place.
A different pregnant pause, another “too” that his daughter brought up too many times. He hoped it was too brief to make it a thing for Jenn.
“No. Not for a while now.”
Jenn did notice, but she carried on. Into her memory book, she jotted “Button” to return to another time if there was another time.
Eli chatted around this bump, discussing the meeting, asking her take on things, how it impacted her life, her new venture. The conversation continued as they joined in folding and stacking the chairs away. Each of them was approached, separately, by the few people still in the room, connecting without really being mindful of the connection they briefly interrupted.
They found each other and left the room, walking down the hallway, then stairway to the parking lot. She discussed her ideals. He listened, showing deep attentiveness by his answers, additions, and the connections it made with his thoughts and life. She did the same.
The conversation, for Eli, was Easy Peasy. That put any dissipated glint firmly back in both eyes. Yet, they were at her car, and the parking lot lights were shutting off.
Jenn said: “It was so wonderful meeting you.” She thought fast, so that didn’t come off as a brush off line like it usually was used. “Eli, I was planning to head over to the dinner. Normally, I jot down my thoughts after workshops like this. Would you join me for coffee/tea?”
She beat him to the punch, and that warmed him.
Eli shook his head yes.
“I’d love to, Jenny.”