Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shall We Dance?

I am reading a dark, disturbing book where the protagonist cracks his psyche open by creating a game where he gives himself 6 choices and rolls his dice to tell him which action to follow. It is unsettling in that many of his choices are the polar opposite of what any sane moral person would consider but it has led me to percolate on the subject of randomness. Lives lived without conscious choice really are random. Trust is left to …what? Chance? Circumstances? Reaction? Really without a clear-cut goal at the onset whatever happens will just seem to happen. Making sense of things after they have happened depends solely on what glasses you are viewing them through. Having a clear goal beforehand ensures that you will do everything that is in alignment with what you say you want and ignore the rest.

So on that note I am called to clarify my dance moves for the coming year, specifically in the realm of relationship. I am not interested in randomness. I am interested in experiencing the fullness of life and feeling like an active vital participant. I can only do my part in this dance and making it conscious is an important piece. Knowing what feeling is at the core of my essence is imperative. For me that feeling is Joy. Life without that juicy state means little to me. I will invite and allow all feelings AND move through the layers until I return to rest in the blissful arms of joy…home sweet home! Easy to say, I know and while egos are not fond of this dance given that it calls for faith and surrender, what choice is there? Choosing not to dance is akin to choosing not to live. And the truth is you are always choosing something. You can dance the life of a victim or a perpetrator, a fraud or a phony, defended or open and unarmed…but you cannot NOT dance as long as you are in a body. So name your dance, you are doing it anyway…make it conscious…invite the feelings you want to generate and define the ingredients it takes to gracefully let go and live there.

Are there universal ingredients necessary in order to freely dance. I think so. I see how living one’s life in co –dependence, believing that you NEED something from the world or from another person (your dance partner) is a set up for disappointment. The world will never deliver what you need. You are already saying I am incomplete and that is the experience you will continue to perpetuate. Your dance partner will inevitably make the wrong moves and fail to please you. No-one can fill you if you continue to believe you need filling. It is an impossible task because it is not true. Truly your choice of how you view yourself is the defining factor in accepting an identity that is either whole and complete or lacking. Perceiving lack invites an experience of lack. Identifying as whole will invite an experience of wholeness.

Then there is the flip side of the same coin, independence. Here you generate an energy field that delivers a message that you need nothing, You are self sufficient and can take care of yourself. This stance is much revered by our society especially by women who have been burned in their desire for connection. (Yes Buns, we used to land in that category). Essentially this independence creates a barrier to relationship. Without expressing the vulnerability that exists in all of us under our facades of capability we are unavailable for authentic connection. Sure you can stay safe and self contained with not much rocking your world but to truly dance you have to FEEL your partner fully, you have to let them under your skin. The rhythm of the dance must enter you, the desire for it, the yearning. The rhythm moves you from the inside out and that calls for vulnerability not strategy and control.
And that leads us to INTERDEPENDENCE.

Yes please….

To live in such a way that I honor the core of who I am…joy…tap into my femininity and creativity and stay willing to touch and be touched by another…well that’s the beginning of the dance. It’s not the solo kind of dancing from the clubs…think Tango…think surrender…think a total sensory experience of self and other equally. Two energies blending as one so seamlessly that the resulting experience blinds us to our existential separateness.

THE TANGO originated in Latin America. Its roots are hot-blooded and it is a perfect metaphor for the masculine/ feminine polarity that is called for in living a fresh, spontaneous and lively relationship. The music plays, you must decide to participate. It’s a risk. It has to be a full out decision. Reactive, defensive, half way, restrained, tight or conditional choices lead to bruised feet and confused direction. The commitment to participation “as one” is essential while at the same time celebrating and grounding in one’s own individual essence. You don’t start the dance and then suddenly stop because you are afraid or tired. You stay in, you stay committed to your core, to express transparently and fully. How could you not if you understand that the expression is the essence of who you are. Not something you express to get, but rather something you express because ‘you are.’

The Tango is the marriage of autonomy and togetherness. How that is communicated is the exciting part in the steps of this passionate dance. A confident and solid lead builds trust…a woman can surrender to that lead because it is honest, awake and asks for nothing less than truth in the present moment. At the same time she retains a unique and vital style that is true to her core. Surrender has such terrible connotations in our society, it tends to be associated with losing something, with powerlessness. In the dance you MUST surrender fully…no holding out or retaining control or defenses. You surrender not to the man in front of you but to the life force inside of you that is nourished and invited and teased into a burning flame by the polarity, the strength of the masculine lead. There is no loss in this kind of surrender. It actually leads you closer to yourself, to your power and autonomy while at the same time married to the safety of trusting the arms of another human being. Here you can rest emotionally naked, without cover and truly dance from the inside out.

The Tango calls you, as does life to complete contact…no apology … skin to human skin …contact! Both dancers agree to let go to this authentic connection and give their essence to the other. You can’t fake a Tango…you can’t dance it half assed pretending or playing it safe. You are vulnerable, exposed, even raw. If your goal at the start is to minimize risks and play it safe, in order to look good or not get hurt, you will have a dead and boring Tango. Just as in life, playing it safe, controlled and committed to the habitual and predictable leads to a dull relationship. Risk is an inherent factor in aliveness, in vibrancy. Life actually calls you to live at your edge, not so far out that you lose sense of yourself yet also not so habitual that there is no new information entering, no surprise. And that is the beauty of committing to live your life as if you were dancing The Tango. In order to participate you must live in the zone of the unknown. You must BE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT, neither anticipating nor controlling…BE in contact with the pulse of life that guides you first one way, then another. Any thought about the past or future stops the intensity of flow. You breath, inhale and let go…as one…sensing, sharing, being, speaking…the body talks, one moment with passion, the next, determination and then …soft…release and trust as you fall completely, as you let go. The rhythm of the Tango is NOW…living large and cracked open to love.
Remember Buns recently talking about setting our intentions for the year. Well here is mine…. I am setting my intention to dance this year. To let go of any remaining defenses that my programming tells me keeps me safe. I am hoping to see you on the dance floor. Actually I am sure I will. I know you my friend, I feel your spirit and I see how important dancing life full out is to you.

I commit to keep stepping into the unknown, to stay open and to vibrate passionately with the joyful notes of the present moment. I will also reexamine how I chose who my dance partners are. Discernment is different than defense. Discernment is a quality that can support the grace and the fluidity of the dance. It does not have to be a struggle or battle of wills. The Dance of Life, once two people agree on the song they are dancing to and the steps that are its foundation can be exhilarating, expansive and full of pleasure. And for me there are certain steps that are non- negotiable… transparency, authenticity, honesty, integrity, kindness…and Joy. Can’t dance without Joy!
And it all starts with feeling the rhythm inside of Self first…acting as the qualities needed to manifest whatever your vision…then following the present moment into inspired action.

I believe the world responds to this beat, this risk, this rush of passion and the pulse that is always calling.

From my heart to yours,
Authentically Marty

P.S.  Buns and I were invited by an ex-co-worker, Keith Elshaw,, to a milonga.  Keith and I used to work together on air at Q107 Radio in Toronto.  So now, get this.  Talk about synchronicity.  I hadn’t seen him in years and years.  Since then he has gone from rock-and-roll DJ/producer to Tango expert and afficionado. As I was writing this Tango post, I experienced technical difficulties which delayed its publication.  During that delay, Keith emails that he is on a Canadian tour which is coming to Vancouver.  So we went. Buns got a three-minute private lesson by one of the best.  I am looking at using air miles to get both of us to Argentina for a Tango-immersion experience.  If people can learn Spanish this way, why not this dance of love? 

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