- Today’s questions: If there is a sacred space in my day, where is it? How do I know it? If there is a sacred space in my body, where is it? How does this feel
- Today's suggested practice: Day 15 of this month's practice, to notice where I stand.
- My practice: 5:30am: 30 minutes of yogic practice and purification meditation
- My vulnerability practice: To step over the threshold into the dark unknown, with my heart and throat and belly and sex wide open, receiving it all…
Hans Peter Meyer
This is the art of love, this dance. A social dance, distinct from stage or performance tango, distinct from ballroom tango, it is a ritual for broken hearts to feel what it is to be whole, for a moment.
Tango is a profoundly simple dance to learn. And, it is a most difficult dance to master.
At its heart, a walking of the broken heart. Of all the social dance forms, tango most purely and most easily allows us to experience and express the polarity of masculine and feminine sexual energies. So, it is a walking of the broken heart in its polarities. And for a few minutes, Shiva and Shakti walk together. For a few minutes…
How we dance tango has nothing to do with our genitals. But certainly, how we dance has to do with that energy that lies deep within our bodies, most often felt in our genitals. But not only there.
Tango’s gift is that it allows us to feel this energy not necessarily as a desire for horizontal pleasures (eg it's not necessarily a "vertical expression of horizontal desires," as the old saw says), but as a desire for full-bodied play with another body’s energies in the making of —confusion, mistakes, and above all, art. Perhaps even “sacred” art. Because what is this thing we do when we become vulnerable with each other, take the risk of feeling the moment fully, and allowing ourselves to express ourselves fully in that moment if not a sacred offering to each other, to ourselves?
And so we learn to dance. Not a series of steps, but our own artistry in embodying who we are in our polarity. For that moment.
Every dance a lesson in how to make this art that allows the lead to —fully— step into the lead. Every dance a lesson that allows the follow to —fully— step into surrender. This surrender inviting the lead to become even more vulnerable as they “follow the follow” into the dark unknown and unimaginable, from whence all art, no matter how large or how small, emerges.
Perhaps this is where this thing called love comes from too? A dark and unimaginable risk that we become less and less willing to take. Heartbroken, we dance.
I'm here, in this life, to recognize and honour the sacred in every moment that I draw breath. Is this grandiose? Yes. But really, that’s all I’m interested in these days.
Alone, I draw breath and hear the trees and the stones, and more. And in the forest, I do feel myself in a holy place. I bow to these trees and stones.
In the moments when I am with another —in conversation, in silence, in dance, and yes, in love— these moments are undeniably sacred, though I’ve been slow to know this. And still, I have to slow myself to feel it all. In tango the lead-follow moment, lasting for the three or four songs (the "tandas" we dance together before going our separate ways), this moment becomes is a ritual space. Today I choose to honour it as a place of worship. A church, as it were. Here, I sacrifice myself to leading. I listen and feel, and lead where the follow takes me, where I quite literally hold the space for her. And she, in this space, sacrifices herself, surrendering into her beauty, her radiance, her flow.
I enter the dance as myself, but am transformed. I lead, but my leadership is only about service to her blossoming into the unimaginable.
These days I am teaching a series of paired classes for couples. One is yoga, for lovers. The other, tango. For lovers. I am living a dream I had years ago, before I knew what I was dreaming of.
These days, living this dream, I am astonished by it.
What is it that I’m seeing?
I see men, opened and softened by short yogic practice, stepping into leadership with open hearts, more ready for the gifts their lover brings than they can imagine.
I see women, powerfully present in their soft and yielding capacity to nourish as they move from a previously unexplored depth of their feminine being.
Let me say right off, these men and women aren’t doing anything fancy. I haven’t taught them anything complicated. What they’re doing is really quite simple, learned over a short period of weeks. They’re often awkward. Yet, they are profoundly beautiful. There is, after this short time, a magic in how they hold each other, how they move together, how they pause together.
Perhaps nothing more than this: They are learning to listen to each other’s bodies. And listening, they are becoming enchanted by the song their lover sings.
It is, I believe, a mistake to think that techniques —and by this I mean the “moves” and the patterns that dominate so much tango teaching and so much of how we as men leading think about our leadership— will make the difference in how we dance.
Or, for that matter, how we love.
Our reliance on technique is our blind spot, as masculine-identified men. In anything we do with the feminine-identified women we love, our fixation with technique and “figuring it out” neuters us. Less than inconsequential.
There is, of course, a place for technique. But what techniques there are that help, they are too often overlooked. They seem too simple. Balancing the body. Bringing quiet and understated elegance to how we stand, how we walk, how we love. Too simple? Indeed. But these simple techniques open our bodies, and especially the front of our bodies, from our throats through our hearts, our bellies, and into our sex. And now, opened, we can properly receive the other. Opened, we can properly dance from our own deep tissues and energies.
Only being so open can we feel into the moment we meet. And in this meeting, wide open, something unimaginable occurs to us, the making of our art. Whenever we dance. However large or small the dance is, this sacred space of our being together becomes that ritual moment of creation.
When we focus only on the techniques, the pretty moves and patterns, mistaking these for our art, we miss the connection. We miss the other in our arms. And missing them, we defile what would be our sacred space. In our rush to perfect a move that space is taken for granted. Made profane. Perhaps even made ugly. Painful.
When we observe the sacred moment, our bodies fully opened to the other, we at least take the risk that here, now, something beautiful may happen. The art of this one moment. Of course, we don’t think about “art.” If we’re truly open and present there is no thinking, just the feeling into the possibility with an unnamed desire. And if this is our desire for art then it is shining brightly and taking us deep into who we can be, together, into the as yet dark and unknown and unimaginable.
This is why I teach tango the way I do.
This is why I pair this Tango for Lovers with a Yoga for Lovers class: because I want to help those who want to take the risk of dancing together, whether on the dance floor or at least in their lives, to also risk the greatness of their art.
🌀...the woman [is] not just a follower, she [is] to whom the tango [is] dedicated.....to dance tango, you must listen to the heart of the woman. (Cacho Dante)
🌀Realize it’s up to you; that the course of misery is in your hands and it’s time to take up this cause like you own it, and drive it like you stole it... (Guru Singh and Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀The Conscious Warrior practices the cultivation of wonder and awe. (John Wineland, Precept 7)
🌀Now, the practice of yoga begins. (Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 1.1)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED PRACTICE
Day 15 of this month's practice:
Please read through first, then ...
- Today, again, set three alarms randomly scattered through your day, but one before noon, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.
- When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, stand still. Take a deep breath, and slowly, oh so slowly exhale. Feel into your usual tension places (ie. Belly, shoulders, top of chest, etc) and notice: If there is a sacred space in my day, where is it? How do I know it? If there is a sacred space in my body, where is it? How does this feel?
- Wherever you find yourself standing, let your breath be long and deep, longer and deeper (through your nostrils, deep into your belly, a little slower on each exhale) for three breaths. Just three breaths.
- Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed.
- Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.
Ps. Thank you for reading.