Linear relationship goes like this.
On the first evening after their honeymoon the man returns from work and announces, “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” His starry-eyed woman arrives breathless and wraps herself into his arms saying, “Oh Darling! I love you too! I missed you so much! Dinner is waiting for you on the table.” The next evening the man opens the front door and announces, “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” The wife comes wearing a smile, and says, “Oh good. Right on time. Did you have a nice day?” The next evening the man opens the front door and announces, “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” The wife says, “I’ll be right there. I love you too.” The next evening the man opens the front door and announces, “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” The wife says, “I’m in the kitchen! What did you say?” “Honey, I’m home! I love you!” he repeats. “Yes, great,” she says. “You love me. I love you. Great! And, what else have you got?”
That Extraordinary Human Love is alive and requires similar attentive care to a pet or a vegetable garden keeps us on our toes. Without feeding our relationship with a steady diet of authentic actions moved by unpredictable originality the aliveness of our relating fades into a habitual rut. And, as the saying goes, the only difference between a rut and a grave is their length.
The challenge of Extraordinary Human Relationship is learning to create something that you have never created before, differently each time, and over and over again. Nonlinear imagination easily fulfills that challenge. But connecting to nonlinear imagination can feel like filling your belly with hot coals and endlessly burning inside. Only one person can make the efforts to authentically reconnect you to nonlinear imagination. Guess who? Even the Kama Sutra runs out of positions sooner or later. Then you are back on your own.
Learning to be okay even if you cannot predict what you are going to do next plugs you into a new form of electricity. Suddenly you can start the “same” conversation differently, and each time feel its uniquely radiant possibilities. What comes after that is a mystery. Back in Shakespeare’s day it was a common pastime to converse only in rhyming pentameter, or to sing rhyming pentameter, or to sing and dance rhyming pentameter. The human being has a far greater capacity to be endlessly nonlinear than we are ever led to believe. It is up to you to explore that potential and to make use of it.
Your actions should not be intended to frighten or offend people. Your actions do not have to be drastic, even subtle creations can open new worlds of relationship. Maybe you never thought of possibilities such as these: You come home dragging a new fruit tree in the front door and explain that since you do not live out on a farm you are going to bring the farm home. You stand outside the door beating your chest and doing the Tarzan jungle call until your woman comes to get you. You take off your shirt in the snow outside and come in freezing cold needing desperately to be warmed up. You bring three friends for dinner, unannounced. You come in saying nothing and speak only in a whisper. You lay on the floor and cry for being so glad to come home again. You enter through the side door and go straight to the kids and listen to them about their day. You climb up the gutter and come in over the bedroom balcony like Romeo. You say nothing until after you flawlessly recite from memory Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven in its entirety. You bring home Chinese take-out food, consisting of the chef’s favorite delicacies. You enter singing Broadway show tunes and refuse to be interrupted until the grand finale. You cut out paper dolls and wear them around like a lace shawl. You speak in the accent of Count Dracula and are only attracted to your woman’s neck. You come in with your eyes closed saying that you are doing a science experiment and could your woman please lead you through the rest of your evening together. You have an unlit cigar in your mouth and keep it there all through dinner. You walk in backwards telling jokes to an invisible friend. You only look straight into the eyes of your woman with an intense unwavering gaze not being attracted to look anywhere else. You take her hand and proceed to give her a detailed hour-long palm reading about her exotic past and her wild possible futures. You hand your woman the cell phone – an old best friend (whom you have called on your woman’s behalf) is on the line; someone your woman loves but hasn’t spoken to in a long while.
I could keep going, but it’s your turn. You have a feeling for it now. The source that these come from is truly endless.
Compare these examples to walking in with flowers or chocolates. At the same time, realize that avoiding linearity is not a rule. Flowers or chocolates now and then add spice to nonlinearity.
Reconnecting to your imagination will take intentional efforts. It does not happen all by itself or just by thinking about it. Participating in improvisational theater workshops could get you started. Not improvisational dance, but improvisational theater where you feel and express emotions not by acting but rather by re-experiencing them and sharing the experience out loud. Look for a workshop leader who uses warm-up exercises from Keith Johnstone and his book Impro – exercises which require you to go up on stage with a partner and use face, voice and posture to start something out of nothing and for no reason; exercises that require you to tell nonlinear imagination stories that you never heard before, one after the other in rapid succession, being interrupted at short random intervals and required to change stories mid-sentence. These are steps along the path of rediscovering the whereabouts of your nonlinear imagination. Once you find your imagination and see that it still functions after all these years, you can plug your heart back into its richly abundant resources.