Category Archives: Opinions

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,
Neale.

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Copycats and Being “Unique”

 

This intro comment is going to confuse people slightly:  We’ve had our fill of hearing how everyone should learn and discover their “own style” of Tango.  “Be unique”, “don’t copy”, etc, etc.

Please read on:

Back in the good old days in Buenos Aires there were plenty of dancers to watch and learn from.  It was possible to absorb bits and pieces (aesthetically, technically, etc) from multiple AMAZING dancers.  No one went to a class with ONE role model; the milongas with all its dancers were the role models.

How is a student supposed to do that now?  Especially a student outside of Buenos Aires? All one can do is look to their teacher as a role model and (consciously or not) copy them in the beginning.  Only after years of dancing and feeling at peace with the dance can one begin to take an individual path.  Otherwise, dancers end up spending more time trying to look “different” and “unique” instead of actually dancing nicely with their partner.

The whole idea of finding your own “style” is quite ridiculous to us.  Firstly, we dislike the word “style”.  Ultimately, you can only  truly dance who you are – you can only dance “you”.  So if “style” means the way you stand, embrace, tilt your head, etc. (i.e., the external package), we repeat:  ridiculous.  There will be copycats, but you will see it right away when there seems to be more effort in replicating favourite steps rather than just dancing.   It will probably look soulless or forced.

Here is a very recent example of what copying looks like.  There is no denying that this couple (especially the man) is dancing someone else’s dance and not their own (and we all know whose dance it is):

This is an unfortunate example of how trying too hard to look and dance like your role model results in a completely unoriginal and soulless dance.  There is plenty of talent here, but it has been severely sacrificed.

Some people claim to have their own “style” – simply because the outer package looks different – but these same people (international and local dancers alike) are the ones you see doing Javier’s “moves”, Julio Balmaceda’s “moves”, Gabriel Misse’s “moves”, Osvaldo&Coca’s “moves”, or any other “youtube” move, one after the other.  That is far more average and dull than the people who may have similar postures as their favourite dancers, but actually dance their own dance.

It is the responsibility of a Tango teacher to teach proper technique (i.e., providing students with natural and comfortable postures and movements) so that partners don’t hurt each other or themselves.

It is the responsibility of a Tango Teacher to teach the concepts of Tango (i.e., embracing fully, taking care of the woman, dancing with masculinity/femininity, etc).

It is also the responsibility of a Tango teacher to teach the culture of Argentine Tango (which includes the music, the codes of the milongas, and more).

Withholding any of these or expecting your students to find them on their own is a sign of neglect and makes us wonder if these teachers even like Tango (and/or teaching it).

ANALOGY: Dear student, we want you to learn the Finnish language.  We won’t tell you what real Finnish language is, instead we’ll let you find it on your own.

Good luck with that ;)


Playground Tango?

Playground

We found this excellent article and quoted it on Facebook:

“New ‘Nuevo Tango’ Sacrifices Tradition and Grace

…There is a kind of (for lack of a better term) tribal European dance that many people believe is tango, which is indeed called tango, in which the basic precepts of Argentine tango dance are being ignored, things like a proper lead, following the music, knowing the history of the dance and the music, respecting your partner, dressing well. These are concepts one would think would be the bread and butter of tango, which has traditionally been the most difficult social dance in the world, and one of the most beautiful…..

…I call it Playground Tango.

There is a great deal of this in North America and Europe, and it is all quite self-congratulatory. It represents a break from the old. Indeed it looks down its nose at the old as ‘revolutionary’, ‘alternative’, and ‘organic.’”

The full article can be found here.

The article led to some interesting debates and we were left with these thoughts: Dancing Nuevo without having or seeking the knowledge of what Tango really is and where it comes from, is like the stereotypical (North) American imposing their beliefs/thoughts/actions on the foreign country they are visiting. Not surprisingly, (North) Americans tend to be the ones altering tango the most.