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The real reason we go to the Milonga

My former teacher had a student who confessed she was feeling frustrated at milongas. She said she wasn’t getting the dances she wanted – or thought she deserved. There weren’t enough dancers at her level to dance with. There were too many beginners and dancers with bad habits that made them undesirable. On top of that, she wished some of the leads were more exciting to dance with.

So he asked her, “Why do you REALLY go to the Milonga?”. She stumbled through various explanations.

“I go to dance with my favorite dancers… and to get good dances.”

“I go to practice my moves and show off my skills.”

“I go to have fun… and socialize… and it’s good exercise too.”

She was going to milongas with the intention of “getting” something. She was going to the milonga with the expectation of having a good time, getting amazing tandas and scoring compliments for her beautiful footwork, elegant outfit and fabulous new Comme Il Faut shoes. She expected to be sought after all night because she believed she had developed some skills.

Instead, she found herself sitting out tandas, feeling frustrated, waiting for a cabeceo that would excite her.

Meanwhile we see men looking frustrated as they scan the room looking for the followers they desire… the ones who are excited to dance with them, who appreciate them and are fun to dance with (i.e., kindly forgiving of their imperfections). They might be looking to try out some new moves. Or perhaps just have a good time.

But a milonga is not just a place to find a good time and great dances. A milonga is where we go to find ourselves. We find ourselves in others, oftentimes in those who are like us in some way.

We may dance with a beginner and be reminded our own journey and struggles. That beginner may elicit kindness and compassion – the kind that builds and sustains communities of warmth and growth. They may remind us what it’s like to dance without ego… to simply be happy in another’s embrace moving to music that is new and exciting.

In beginners, we may find a part of ourselves that we lost touch with long ago.

We may dance with someone more advanced and discover something in them that is just beginning to bloom within us… Perhaps they emulate vulnerability or expression that we ache to embrace in ourselves. We may see our own future in that dancer and become inspired to deepen our development.

A dancer may evoke parts of ourselves to come out to play… expressions and abilities we didn’t know existed or were capable of executing. That same person may trigger insecurity or anxiety. Finding those emotions gives us direction on what to work on next (i.e., staying calm, building confidence, or simply enjoying the dance).

And some nights, we may find ourselves sitting alone. Waiting and expecting. Wondering why we are invisible as others overlook us. We can find ourselves in those moments too. Finding oneself in an undesired state is a nudge to change something.

Perhaps we need to circulate more… walk the room and greet everyone we know in the room. Spark conversation with a new person, perhaps someone we wouldn’t normally engage with. You never know what part of yourself you will find in another. When we are truly being authentic, we will find some part of ourselves in every person.

Sometimes it’s as simple as being open to the moment without any expectation. When we stop going to the milonga with an expectation of getting something specific, we change our entire experience. Instead of seeking the “perfect tanda”, seek to find yourself in every moment, with every person in every dance.

Pay attention to what each person elicits in you; joy, inspiration, insecurity, anxiety, playfulness, vulnerability, artistry, sensuality, fear, hesitation, perhaps envy! Challenge yourself to surrender fully to whatever you feel, and allow yourself to feel the rawness of that emotion into your dance.

Remember the dancer who wished the leads were more exciting to dance with? Perhaps what she REALLY wanted was to experience more dynamic and playfulness in her own dancing.

Instead of seeking to “get” what we need from others, perhaps it’s time we find what’s missing in ourselves – and build it within.

 

Written in collaboration with Marcos Questas @ marcosrutatango.com.

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A Birthday Ritual for a Transformative Year

I turned 41 yesterday. Not a special age, but recent changes in my life told me that this was going to be a year of big changes and transformations. 41 is also a prime number – perhaps this means this year will be unlike any other. So I created a birthday ritual that empowers me to take command of the upcoming year.

  • First I set my intentions for the day (an excellent daily ritual). I’ve learned the power of taking command of the day by doing this. It makes a huge difference when I do this with emotional power and intent.
  • Then I did my gratitude challenge; I wrote down 100 things I was grateful for in my gratitude journal. It’s my way of saying “thank you” to the universe. It also set an energy that uplifted me and put me in a state of peace, confidence and joy. It reminded me of the true beauty of my life. One thing I’ve learned is that virtually everything in our life ends up being a blessing in some way. Seek to find the blessing and you’ll live in gratitude easily.
  • Next I set my intentions for the next year. This is like placing an order so the universe knows exactly what to deliver to me. If I listen to signs, show up and take action when inspired, and say YES to opportunities, these things usually happen just as intended. If you want to amaze yourself, give it a shot.
    • What do I want to accomplish, experience and feel over the upcoming year?
    • What do I want to attract into my life?
    • What do I need to let go of?
  • Lastly, I set my manifestations for the coming year. This expands on the intentions by filling in my emotional reaction to having experienced my intentions as desired. I don’t write about exactly “how” things will work out; I keep the focus on what I want to feel and experience. Therefore, I write as if these things have already happened and I do so in a journaling fashion, which allows me to infuse the writing with a lot of emotion (which is the secret to doing this effectively). A lot of my manifestations sound like this: “I am SO EXCITED that I got to do xyz – it was EXACTLY what I wanted and I had so much fun doing it!”.

Afterwards, I took a moment to pause. I put everything down and gazed quietly at the ocean and the brilliant blue sky before me. I took a moment to rest my heart, mind and soul and marvel at the wonder of the world, on this beautiful day, in this precious life.

That very moment – and the year ahead – looked beautiful to me. And I knew my birthday year was off to a phenomenal start.

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I Won’t Wish You Good Luck

I stopped wishing people “good luck” a while ago. Not because they didn’t deserve it, but because I had an epiphany.

Luck is something that happens by chance – something that is out of your control. Whether good or bad, luck is what happens to you, not by you.

I don’t believe things happen randomly. And I would never wish random chance upon another.

I no longer talk about “luck”. I now talk about “fortune”.

I believe fortune is something we build with our own hands, with the power of our own creative and brilliant minds. Our level of fortune is something we control by our beliefs, our intentions, and our actions.

After doing gratitude journal, I often pause for a moment of reflection. I don’t think about how lucky I am. I reflect upon the fortune I am attracting and creating in my life. I rejoice in my power to build a life of fortune.

Every day, I am reminded of my own power as I do gratitude journal. I am clearly in control – look at all these pages of amazing things I am bringing into my life! Nothing is happening here by chance. My beliefs, actions and intentions are creating fortune in every area of my life, every day – bit by bit.

I’m constantly attracting opportunities, inspiration, kindness, generosity, creative ideas, the right people and the right circumstances. I set my intentions, dismantle the blocks and gratefully receive all that comes.

I don’t need luck when I am in control. Wishing “good luck” seems to  subvert ones power by suggesting that they don’t directly influence their own future. Instead, I’d rather convey my intention that good fortune will support them.

So I won’t wish you good luck. But when I say, “Good fortune to you”, know that I’m setting a direct and clear intention for you. And let that be an invitation for you to join me in setting the intention for the result  you are seeking.

All fortunes start with an intention. Whatever result you want, empower yourself by taking command instead of relinquishing the reins to the winds of chance. The power to create is within your hands.

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Photo Credit: Hooping as a Tool for Manifestation.

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