For anyone who knows me, you know I LOVE Argentine Tango dancing! It’s such a joy to dance and learn this complex and intricately-woven improvisational dance. I’m learning to lead this wonderful dance as well now, a whole new fantastic and humbling challenge to add to my skill set. I love patterns, and this has surely got some patterns to unwind, both physically and musically. Tango has always presented itself as a metaphor for life, and that idea continues...
One of the things I’m learning about as a leader, which to me is such a fantastic metaphor for relationship, is the art of entering the follower’s space without disrupting their balance. In any dance really, we must find our own axis, our own balance, and work with that though the various steps and progressions with another on the dance floor. Axis comes from our core balance, a place we anchor ourselves without being thrown off. It’s a martial art of sorts. Axis doesn’t necessarily mean standing straight up either. We are always in movement, and staying on axis while in graceful movement is the art of the dance. There are steps that involve stepping right into a dance partner’s space, which without practice and skill can literally topple them over, but learning how to communicate the intention in a listening and spatial way is so important, and that listening reminds me of good communication.
This idea of entering the follower’s space without disrupting their axis got me thinking about life, and about relationship. We want to merge with another in relationship, but all too often we enter their space with our opinions, our advice, our criticism, our judgment, not paying enough attention to their axis, and we throw them off. This can trigger resentment, annoyance, distancing, and even arguments with a partner. Truly, the other has the responsibility as well for finding and keeping their own balance, and using whatever information comes in responsibly and respectfully, within themselves. But as they say, it takes Two to Tango. And how true that is!
We must each find, with our own direct experience, our innate style of dancing with our partner in communication. The dance of Listening, Respect and Kindness, Reflecting, Mindful Sharing, Facts vs. Opinions, Making Requests rather than harboring silent expectations, etc. are some of the skills we develop to not only create effective communication with our partner, but joyful and meaningful communication even in challenging moments. So often, we get thrown off-balance when our partner challenges us, rather than initiating our axis, and trusting ourselves to move through the dialogue with balance and clarity. It is our responsibility to live within a space where we trust and feel strong, and it is also our right to request this of our partner. In this way, we are practicing the dance.
We can learn to dance in our relationships fluidly, on axis, with great musicality, and joyfully, most of the time. And when we do pull the other off, or lose our own balance, we can learn to say, “Ahhh, ok, I went off balance there for a moment,” and re-balance, rather than saying, “Oh shite, I really messed up, and I am a bad communicator.” It’s just a practice, and practice is everything. Before we know it, we are staying on axis within ourselves, and having a new and wonderful experience with others.
Happy Spring Everyone!