Intro: Lucinda is facilitating with Tom Lewis an excellent workshop (check link) combining the insights of Focusing and the relational and energetic dynamics of tango. It is San Francisco but well worth the trip. When reading Lucinda's comments below from her blog "Why Tango?" take note of how critical Damian's encouragement and Lucinda's feeling safe were to her experience of healing. To hold another in close embrace is a sacred trust and commits us to care for our partner with the outmost respect and gentleness. As Lucinda states, it is not about making "mistakes" but about being "safe." This element of safety and acceptance is far more significant that doing a step technically correct.
For me, dancing Argentine Tango is like a moving Focusing practice. I need to be as fully present as possible, listening to my “partner” with my whole body, available to respond to whatever occurs, whether that be through movement or stillness in the moment, with no agenda. My body – which, as Gendlin says, really includes my “whole self” — gets to learn this over and over again. And the learning is through a physical practice (like yoga or a martial art), that is playful and set to music!
When I was a child, I usually got in trouble for making mistakes, so it was deeply healing for me to be held in a strong, safe embrace, and for it to be okay to stumble while learning to walk backwards. Learning Tango from Damián has been some of the best therapy that I’ve ever experienced. Although he’s not trained in Focusing, he naturally knows how to hold the larger container of Presence that creates a safe space to be and learn, to make mistakes and to grow.
Damián was always saying in my ear…”It’s ok, it’s ok…don’t worry…you’re fine…” This was a kind of reprogramming-in a very physical way-of the young part of me that was afraid of making mistakes. I now feel so much freer to walk with confidence and power in my life. I am more capable to stay connected to someone else because I can stay connected with my whole self – even the unsure and shy parts.
Tango is a metaphor for life and a great vehicle for practicing many life lessons and relationship skills, such as learning how to carry your own weight without depending on another – while at the same time, staying connected. It is about staying centered and present in your own self, listening with your whole body to another’s whole body, and then moving together in harmonious partnership.
Lucinda with Damián Buezas de la Torre President of the Fundación Tango Argentino, (Argentine Tango Foundation) Buenos Aires, Argentina July 2012