Lessons in Tango

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Being a single man, no kids and in my mid-40’s I’m afforded certain luxuries. At the moment its Tango.

Tango has always intrigued me. The faces of the dancers. Serious. Sexual attraction and tension. Not so much the music though. I grew up on my mother’s 70’s music and old school hip hop and when I got to high school I started dancing to both. The point is, I grew up dancing to hard beats and rhythms and even when I got too old for the hip-hop clubs, I discovered Salsa; more hard rhythms and African beats.

Now this Tango is something else. The rhythms are different, yet they call me; and the potential to connect with that other on the floor has always been appealing. That’s what I miss about my hip hop days. You could connect. Even though it was a youthful, puberty fueled connection, it was a connection nonetheless. But this Tango connection (I think) is on another level and I intend to find out.

What’s sucking right now is that I’m back at the bottom of the dance social-sphere.

Let me explain.

During my hip hop days, channeling the music through my body came naturally. Salsa not so much. There are rules to Salsa and if you want to be good you have to follow them. If you and your partner want to have a pleasurable experiences must agree to be at a certain place in time and physical space, synchronized to the music. And once you internalize that broad rule, once you can apply learned patterns rhythmically and intuitively that’s when you really start having a good time. But until then? Salsa sucks. And your at the bottom. And the women you ask to dance will stare at you while you bumble along and the women standing around the dance floor will take note of your bumbling and vow to avoid you or just flat out say no. This is a bit of an exaggeration drawn from my many years of being that guy bumbling around but the heart of this is true; you will suck.

That’s how I’m assuming Tango will be.

The problem is vulnerability. I really don’t want to be vulnerable again to rejection and self-doubt. The self-doubt is the worst. Again, some slight hyperbole here but…anyway. I think that being vulnerable can be a good thing if you open yourself up to it in a mindful-buddha-ommmmmmm way.

I’ve taken a few improv comedy classes and one of the concepts I learned was that Improve is about a wiliness to be vulnerable in every moment on stage and once you give into that, you find freedom and with freedom comes creativity and enjoyment.

But that’s my higher self speaking. The me that’s closer to the ground doesn’t want to be vulnerable. My ego is not looking forward to it and I’m not looking forward to being ever vigilant for the mental mind games my ego is about to play on me. The judging. The devaluing of self worth.

And that’s what this is going to be for me. Tango. An exercise in a willingness to be Vulnerable. Something tells me that, within those Tango moments that Ive seen, both leader and follower have opened her/himself up to the other somehow. I don’t know. I’ll find out soon.

Multiple Me’s

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One of the concepts mentioned during the 21-Day Meditation Challenge I’m on is the idea of “multiple me’s”.

I was asked to consider the idea that mankind is of the same consciousness and that people around me are multiple versions of, me. Theoretically, having this thought in mind is supposed to add depth to my everyday interactions with people.

I gave it a shot.

The cashier ringing up my cereal at Ralph’s? Me. The women I asked to dance last night? All me. The kids walking home from school, talking to each other. Just me talking to me.

I have to admit. It brought a smile to my face, standing there after Tango class as I approached myself to speak to me and then other versions of me joined the conversation and I, we, me stood there smiling and laughing with myself. Looking into my own eyes. It makes sense. Underneath my outer appearance the multiple versions of me experience the same emotions, long for the same attention, have a need to be appreciated and respected, desire to live lives of meaning. My multiple me’s want to connect with me and each other in profound ways. We’re just born in different environments. Had different experiences.

Not a bad way to look at things. Much better than the negative, often fictional crap I create in my mind.

I’m a daydreamer

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One of the benefits of this 21-day Meditation Challenge has been the focus on, me. Something surprising came up today. I’d completely forgotten about this: As a child I was a severe daydreamer.

My other favorite childhood activities seemed to support my mental hobby, like reading and watching days of television. It’s hard to accurately look back into my young mind from this aged vantage point but I think I felt guilty about daydreaming. I think it made me feel different from others and we all know that you can’t “fit in” if your “different” (so says the god of middle school).

I googled “daydreaming” and learned about Maladaptive Daydreaming and found links to studies suggesting that there are positive aspects of childhood daydreaming. I’d like to be more aware of the positive/negative effects that my childhood daydreaming has had on me. I’m leaning toward embracing that aspect of me though. The tendency to daydream part.

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Oprah & Deepak: Okay, Better Than Expected

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Day 12 of 21-Day Meditation Challenge

Miraculous Dynamism (journal excerpt)

Prompt:

Take a moment to review the many environments you were a part of over the course of the last week. How did you show up? What energy did you project at home, work, school, in the grocery store, or while driving? Were you offering yourself in a way that engaged the people around you or pushed them away, isolating yourself? Think carefully and write a candid and detailed review, a personal “how I showed up” inventory.

My Response:

Environments:

Tango Studio
Shoreline Elementary
Mornings

Very interesting prompt. My question off the top is “do I necessarily have to invite people to me?” And then I reflect on elements of the human condition: isolation, loneliness, and the drive/instinct to thrive/survive. If one of our strongest instincts is to thrive/survive then it makes sense that we would want to attach ourselves to other human beings because in groups or in packs we increase the probability of our survival. But that, ha!, is in a perfect world. In the current dysfunctional state of society we are likely to invite “crazy-ass” people into our lives…right? Not according to Law of Attraction Theorists. So the big question is: Is this worth experimenting with? Hell yes.

So, because of my own limited view of self, it’s likely that I enter in most environments from an “isolationist” protective base. I don’t want to be hurt. I don’t want others to see know how vulnerable I really am. So I protect myself.

Coming Home to Roost: Republicans versus Themselves

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It will be interesting to see how or if Establishment Republicans can reign in the Tea Party Republicans they created with a steady diet of deception, distraction and mis-education over the years. You can almost hear the frustration in Karl Rove’s* voice as he tries to school/reason with tea party upstart Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) on why repubs should not shut down the government over ObamaCare:

http://therightscoop.com/full-audio-mike-lee-debates-defunding-obamacare-with-karl-rove-on-hannity-radio/

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How ironic that Karl Rove has to debate his own creation. Scroll to the bottom of the above link/page and read them call Karl a RHINO. Ha! Its like eating dark chocolate; so good.

*Karl Rove. The Architect. Bushes Brain. Infamous republican strategist. Cultivated the Evangelical Right’s vote back in the day. Ceremoniously abandoned them like cheap whores.

First Day of School….

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Today was the first day of 1st grade for my 5 year-old little sister. Her morning conversation consisted of the following: “I was the only black girl there.”

Terri was referring to the orientation her new school hosted last week for new students.  She wasn’t the only Black kid there but there far fewer there compared to kindergarten experience; a mostly Black charter school. My Mom told me that she’s never talked to Terri about race before. It’s never come up. Well. It came up in Terri’s young mind last week and she felt moved to mentioned it this morning.

I’m new to my little sister’s life. Long story. I’m also her primary male role model so the educating, the ‘first day of schooling’ on the race issue fell on me this morning. I wanted to tell her that being different can be a good thing, that many so-called successful people in our society are successful because they produced unique ideas from their unique perspectives and that the law of supply and demand (blending & cross referencing theories here) suggests that being unique and rare can be of value. I wanted to talk about celebrating diversity and all the lofty theories/ideals that I’ve read about in books and journals.

So what did I tell her?

I told her that “I’m the only Black person in my classes” (she knows that I frequently take night classes for creative writing, Tango & Salsa). Talking to her about my undergrad and grad school experiences will have to come at a later date. Here’s how the rest of the convo went though:

Terri: But your not Black, you look white.

Me: Do I?

(I held my arm next to her arm. Terri is dark skinned. I’m of the lighter skinned variety of Black but if you know light skinned folk, some parts of us are lighter and/or darker than other parts so my forearm was close to her shade (Yea genetics for working with my improtu lesson on race!)

Terri: (silence)

(I looked around the room and picked-up a small black calculator)

Me: What color is this?

Terri: Black.

(I hold it to her arm)

Me: Are you black?

Terri: No.

(I recognized that things could get tricky here)

Me: Your not the color black, but you are a Black person. I’m Black too. Black people come in all different kinds of colors.

(She looked at me. I didn’t know how she’s processed all that)

Terri: I understand

Me: Sometimes we call ourselves African American.

Terri: Ok. I understand.

That’s the best I could do on the spot.  Now I have to pay attention. Observe. And be ready to teach at any moment.

This morning made me think about that “Dark Girls” documentary that I barely paid attention to and should…no, I WILL have to watch it again. For real this time.

The office website: http://officialdarkgirlsmovie.com/