Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Tango Survivalist

Tango:  A matter of life and breath.

Life's all about survival. The way we go about survival can be a range behaviors from egocentric, cut-throat survival behaviors to empathetic, enlightened community-focused survival behaviors.

Survival is the foundation of existence in all things that we do. Warriors, pragmatists and even holy writers of wisdom literature point to our need to survive as the foundation. Our day to day behavior demonstrates clearly how we uniquely practice survival.
--Warriors try to survive on a tactical level.
--Pragmatists aim for "sustainability" on a strategic level.  --Philosophical and spiritual* thinkers ponder the "big picture" of survival.

What many do not realize is that all three dimensions -- tactical/ strategic/ spiritual are going on at the same time. This is important to know if you are going to be a three-dimensional Tango Survivalist, or for that matter, any kind competent survivalist.

This is how a 3-Dimentional Tango Survivalist practices:

  • Tactical.  On a tactical level, I do not have to worry about my partner at a milonga in which people dance in a milonguero style and know that their first obligation is to the safety of their partner and providing a safe place.  If others put me and my partner in danger, I must adjust the balance to be more tactical. I try to never abandon my tactical awareness.  Accidents are likely if I neglect my tactical awareness.
  • Strategic. On a strategic level, I must dance tango in moderation taking care of my health by getting enough sleep, nutrition, and somatic (body and foot) fitness. :-)  Also, I must take care of other things in the "dance of life" which goes beyond simply dancing.  
  • Philosophical. On the love-of-wisdom (philosophical) and spiritual level, I try to keep my tango a kind dance, avoiding the death-wish of making tango a kind of dance.  Spiritual survivalist have a difficult but vital path. So many give up tango because a lack of resiliency to shunning, unkind behaviors in their dance scenes and feelings of inadequacy. Without spiritual/philosophical resiliency sooner or later many struggle with a feeling of not belonging  or fitting in at milongas.
Survival is what we all do for a living! 
In Eastern wisdom literature, the first or "root" of eight Chakras is the center of our expression of survival. Wisdom literature in all traditions I know of posit the belief that if one is not settled in what survival is, a person will be unbalanced in the way they try to achieve survival--such as unnecessary aggressive behavior or passive paranoia.  The perspective of perpetual scarcity and the unending threat of loss comes from an unbalanced internalized view of survival.

You may be doing a better job of survival than I am.  But I am also sure that we both could do much better if we mindfully observe our survival behavior--the way we survive. Are we balanced in our tactical/ strategic/ spiritual behaviors?  I think if we are, the way to survive becomes simplified to just "the Way." The Way is not staying alive, it is being aware and present with each moment of life. That's survival at its best.

Until dance do us part**
Dance should be something you want to preserve until your last days in life. I firmly believe that if a person stops dancing, Death already will have knocked on the door and Death will have absconded with an important part of one's humanity, a part of one's soul. Human souls dance. All must die, but ...

Die in peace, yes, but please at least
With your dancing soul in one piece.

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Photo Credit:
Dancing couple survivalists

*Please do not read this post script if you don't have a problem with the word "spirituality."

PS: Regarding the sticky word "spirituality."  I like the word, but I realize it has bad connotations for many.  Spirit comes from Latin but the word comes to English from Latin through Greek--meaning breath and wind.  When someone stopped breathing, the ancients knew that life had left a person. The ancient Greeks also could be out to sea, and "spirit" would take them to their destinations or leave them stranded to die. Both of these pragmatic words of breath and wind had some magic to them, yes, but they were common terms. Now the word spirituality has some bad press from spiritual survivalists.  In writing this post, I realized something more about being a tango survialist.  I also needed a term that I have never heard before:  the "spiritual survivalists," you know, the people who want to survive (live) forever.  Spiritual survivalists are mucking up the beauty of these two words of spiritual and survival. Evangelicals love their guns. Moslems have the quick way to eternal survival via suicide bombing, killing both believers and non-believers.  This leaves many to wonder how the word "spiritual" is good. What shall we do?  Throw it out? Millions of people who have died in warring factions of spiritual survivalists. Today as much as in the past, major religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, for example) are in a murderous struggle with each other. Throwing out spirituality is not so easy, in fact, impossible.  Philosophies, such as Maoism and Stalinism, have tried to stop the religious wars, only to carry on some of the most brutal sprees of godless philosophical genocides the world has ever seen--over a 100 million have been killed by believers in atheist life-philosophies (spiritual-beliefs).  We cannot run from the triad of survival of tactical/strategic/spiritual survival.  Each must be made beautiful by the person practicing each.

**For the 50% of my readers who speak or read English as one of their non-primary languages:  "Until dance do us part" is a play on words.  "Until death do us part" comes from an old saying we have from Middle English in many modern weddings.  It is one of the last things said in many marriage ceremonies.  Strange but true.  :)


  1. In the section about the tactical I understand that you promote milonguero style as the only way to safely do tango? I hope not. Not all of us are governed by fear so much that we want to give up freedom for a little bit more safety.

  2. Yokoito, milonguero is a type of dancing that promotes a dance that is internal, between two people. I do believe on a crowded dance floor that is a responsible way of dancing, but I never said it was the only way.

  3. Really enjoyed this post, can you make it so I receive an email sent to me whenever you make a fresh post? SPA Toronto

    1. Thanks for your interest. I give a link to my Facebook page on each post at the end. Also, you can look on the right margin on every blog post to subscribe, under "New posts sent to your email."


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