Monthly Archives: July 2010

Blowing Smoke Up Your A**

We are tough teachers.  We constantly joke with our students that we have a whip in hand.  K likes to make (poorly done) whipping noises.  We don’t tell our students they “have it” unless they do.  On the flip side of the coin, we compliment our students.  A LOT.  Jorge, the sweet one, has actually said that we may, in fact, compliment our students too much because sometimes our students begin to act like they no longer need our input – their egos start taking over ;)

Now the one thing we won’t do is schmooze with “potential” students or beg new students to stay with us.  We won’t tell you how amazing you are so that your ego feels great and you want to stay with us.  Why?  Because we love Tango.  Let us repeat that.

We. Love. Tango.

We teach Tango because we love Tango AND we love teaching it.  So when a new student came to us with some experience in Tango (having learned from various teachers in the city) and had a real natural talent and feeling for the dance, we wanted to wrap him up and take him home with us.  We have witnessed many other teachers getting dollar signs in their eyes and swollen egos in these very situations.  We have our own faults, but this isn’t going to be one of them.  We told this student that we didn’t care who he learned from, but we would hunt him down and kill him if he didn’t stick with Tango.

Now that is love ;)

Don’t Judge Me For Judging You

Now we don’t pretend that we don’t judge… We do and we don’t necessarily have a problem with that at this point in our lives.   Part of the reason we don’t have a problem with “judging” might have to do with looking at one of the definitions of that word:

“To form an opinion or estimation of after careful consideration”

We try to judge rather than forming an opinion WITHOUT careful consideration (that would be the definition of ignorance).  Would we like to get to a point where we can observe without judgment?  Yes.

We think many people out there like to pretend they don’t judge.   They seem to have a kind of holier than thou attitude as they JUDGE us (and others) for “judging”.   We find that quite funny.

With the recent, yet ongoing, Tango drama happening in our Tango community, we were once again reminded how open and honest discussions (especially if any opinions are voiced) are not valued, appreciated, or respected by humans.  Together we discussed how humans are really just ostriches.  We love to stick our heads in the sand.

Yep... that's us humans.

With these thoughts in mind, Jorge received one of the weekly e-newsletters from Neale Donald Walsch.   Mr. Walsch is the author of the “Conversations with God” series.  These spiritual (not religious) books are a great read and we aspire to live the way the books suggest.   We’re not doing a great job of it, but we think about it lots.

We don’t believe in coincidences and this newsletter was so perfectly timed it was actually kind of creepy.  Please read it – all of it if you can – because it’s good.

Here it is:

My dear friends…

I’ve decided that I have to stop confusing the simple act of observation with negativity.

Some people, in an effort to not “put any negative energy into the space,” refuse to say anything about anybody or anything that could be construed as being negative in any way. And if anyone else says anything about any person, place, or thing that is not wholly positive, many people will criticize the speaker for “spreading negative energy.”

Soon, a certain dogmatism springs up around all this, and suddenly it becomes unacceptable in some “new age” circles to do anything but smile 16 hours a day and say nothing but positive things about everything. In these circles, when someone offers the least little comment, prediction, or description that is less than totally positive, someone else is sure to say, “Are you wanting to create that?”, or “Why are you creating that?”

(Example: “Gosh, I have a real headache this morning.” “Well, why are you creating that?”)

After a while, people feel so hogtied, they feel so straight-jacketed, that they’re afraid to say anything about anythinganything unless they can glow from head to toe with positivity.

I call this a New Age Bypass. It’s psychic surgery, on the psyche itself. It can also turn into a game of “make-crazy,” where people can’t even objectively describe something they’re seeing right in front of their face without running the risk of being labeled a “downer,” or a “negative thinker.”

(“The stock market certainly had a bad day.” “Well, aren’t you the downer…”)

Yet an Observation is not a Judgment, and a Description is not a Condemnation. We would benefit a great deal from noticing the difference.

It is perfectly okay to say “The rain is coming” when, in fact, you can smell it in the air. I remember a day a few years ago where I was at a huge picnic, with about 40 or 50 people attending, when one of the guests happened to say, “Looks like it’s going to rain.” His wife nearly had a conniption fit. “Don’t SAY that!” she snapped. “Are you trying to MAKE it rain?”

Now I understand perfectly well that we create our own reality, and I have read all the messages of Conversations with God and virtually every other New Spirituality text that is out there that says we do so with the triplet tools of thought, word, and deed. I know all about the As-You-Speak-It, So-Shall-It-Be school of thought on this subject. I belong to that school. But does that mean that we cannot even offer a simple observation, bereft of any judgment or announcement of preference, about what we are experiencing in our lives?

Of course not. Saying “oh-oh, it looks like rain” does not mean that you are at cause-and thus, at fault-when the rains come. It simply means that you are observing what is going on around you. It means that you are aware. And awareness is one of the greatest attributes that any person could develop.

The message here is: do not substitute passivity for discernment; do not–in the name of “positivity”–insert total blindness where once there was keen observation. Covering your ears does not make the wind howl any less, and putting your head in the sand does not make danger disappear.

The ability to observe the environment around us, the ability to discern one thing from another, is what comes with evolving to a higher level of consciousness. Observation is the act of seeing something; it is the simple act of witnessing without assessing. Discernment is the act of differentiation; it is the simple act of telling one thing from another.

Observation is a statement that says “what’s so.” Judgment is a statement that says “so what”? As sentient beings, humans have a desire to notice what is going on around them. Indeed, they have a responsibility to do so.

When you consciously and deliberately stop noticing something because you “don’t want to put negative energy into the space,” you forfeit your most precious gift as a creative being: the gift of deciding. You cannot decide what you want, you cannot consciously choose your own future, if you are refusing to look at what is true so far.

I’m going to keep on working to remove judgment and condemnation from my experience, but I shall never remove observation and discernment. The teaching is, “Judge not, and neither condemn,” it is not, “Observe not, and neither discern.”

Love and Hugs,