Friday, January 25, 2013

Being Present through Tango

Being present.

That is what tango gives us more than anything else, perhaps. Being present in our bodies is the result of allowing ourselves to be in the Now through the embrace, tandem movement, and the music. These are the trinity of being in the Now with tango.

Embrace, movement, music: These, united, are the vehicle to arrive and linger at the Now.

What, then, stops us from arriving at the place under our feet?  What blocks us from arriving to this place that is closest to us, but too often seems so far away?

Perhaps the biggest obstacle is worry about what just happened or what is going to happen (past and future issues).  If I were a painter, this is what I would put on canvas to describe worry:   I see worry as a psychological shouting match between the past (the land behind you) and the future (the ocean before you).  The present is neither, but both.  The sand below your feet, dry and wet, cold and warm. Always a paradox.  Being in the present is not watching what is before our feet or what is behind us.  Being present is feeling what is under our feet -- the Now.  Tango helps us with this wonderful task of being present.

In psychological trauma therapy, it is important for people to be in the Now, even when reviewing the horrific past.  The Now is your body.  Be in your body.  Be aware of your limbic system -- often felt in your heart, neck, back and stomach.  Be fully aware of your breathing:  Make it deep, musical in its phrasing.  Tango becomes therapeutic (good for you) when this happens.  Sure, tango can be like an amusement park ride, but it can be much more than that if you are present.  "Enjoy the ride" is not the tango I am talking about, although it is a phrase I often hear tangueras say.

Nervousness happens to me only when I focus on how I imagine my partner wants me to dance.  The solution for me is that I dance the way I know I can.  For women, however, this may be different.  Maybe this would help: I notice women saying "sorry" or obviously upset with themselves and I don't even know why or if I do, it is not important.

Some say that the Now is small. The future and past seem to be infinite to the human mind.  But try looking at just a slice of how gigantic the present is:  Biagi brought you to a nice side step. You are on your right foot.  Under your foot is a hardwood floor and an entire planet, teeming with life. Above your foot is a graceful stance, and directly above your head is the Andromeda Galaxy tonight.  But that is only the first galaxy, there are many more above your head.

Being present is very big -- bigger than the universe.  Doesn't the Now encircle and permeate our being and the universe?  But we have to be present to see it.  Tango takes you there.

Photo Credit of wheels of thinking
Photo Credit of land and sea
Photo Credit of closest galaxy to ours


  1. Beautifully written and absolutely true...

  2. So true, so simple and yet so difficult.

    Thanks for this eloquent insight which I've take the liberty of linking to our blog.

  3. Patricia... I once saw your blog before and I really liked it. Then when building a blog list, I couldn't find it again. For others: Also, I will add it to the blog list on the right side of my page.

  4. Tango is a dance that heal relationship with oneself and the opposite sex. We can not lie when we are truly connected. I am always amazed how I can dance so well with men that create a safe and loving space. I can also release tension in men when I open my heart to what is. No judgment but only simple loving presence.

  5. Beautifully said, yourself! It spoke volumes to me. This, "Be fully aware of your breathing: Make it deep, musical in its phrasing," was a new thought for me. Deep, musical phrasing of our breathing is a delightful idea. Ms Tardy's comment was also appreciated, about opening your heart, how one's relaxed presence, like a smile, can be given away again and again.


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