Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Healing Embrace

Tango can be just a dance.  It can be much more.

West End Library Practica
When I am present, I feel a transfer of information.  More than just a transfer, I feel an understanding, an empathy.  But it's only when I am present. Listening.

I have experienced this myself, but it has been validated in movement therapy (tango therapy).  When I was working with a combat veteran and his wife, using the therapy protocol I am developing.  We worked on two psychological traumas.  One was with his father's abuse and the other nearly dying in combat.  In the first case, she felt the hatred leave his body.  "His body vibrated, and I knew that he had forgiven him," she said.  Immediately he felt sorry for his father who never got to know three grandchildren and his amazing wife.  In the combat trauma resolution, he felt that his wife fully understood his experience.  That is what many vets NEVER feel -- they do not feel anyone could understand them, especially their partners.

I feel this transfer of information only when I am listening for it.  It makes sense, right?  If someone is talking to you, and you are not listening, what do you hear?  Even if you half-way hear what they are saying, there will be misunderstandings.  So try listening.  I find it easy to forget to listen.  So I practice!  Non-auditory communication is an art, whether it is in "listening" for visual body communication or "listening" through the embrace.

Let me give you an important personal example:  A while ago when I got a new job, I organized a farewell luncheon at a salsa lounge, which provided a fajita buffet for us.  A semi-professional dance friend of mine came and taught my colleagues how to salsa, and we demonstrated a tango, a vals and a milonga.  After eating, I danced with many colleagues, but when nearly everyone was gone, I got a chance to dance with a person at work whom I did not trust -- a chance to dance with the enemy.  My work colleague was once a dance instructor.  We had endured a long difficult relationship, but after everyone had left and I was about to get in my car to leave on a 3-day drive to my new job, she suggested we dance a salsa.  I suggested a tango.  We danced well, although she had never danced tango.

The dance was very healing for me -- I think for both of us.  Dancing with her had a lasting effect on me because much was forgiven through our embrace.  It was as if I knew how she felt.  Immediately I felt an enemy had been destroyed through mutual compassion.

I cannot speak for her, but for me a lot of animosity melted at that moment.

Some say that tango is only a dance.  It can be much more.

Photo credit:  Eddie Arrossi, photographer and tanguero, Washington, DC

For friends in DC, here is Eddie's link to that event -- the anniversary practica celebration:

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