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When Life Throws You a Curve You Need To “Pivot”

I’ve been learning how to dance Tango for the past year and a half. Beyond being an elegant, alluring dance it teaches lessons on life, personality and relationships.

Alejandro Gee is a Tango teacher in Argentina who did his graduate thesis in psychology on the effects of Tango on mood.

He writes, "The posture of a person is not just a position that we are supposed to stand/dance in, but also a reflection of who we are. The way we connect or the way we lead or follow are also a perfect reflection of our social, emotional and mental status. Usually 10 minutes into the class you can tell more about a person's character or the relationship within a couple than you could after talking. This is why tango has the capacity to heal issues that we are or not aware of. By fixing the physical, the mind and emotions will follow. Or we will want to heal the mind and the emotions in order to be able to improve our dancing."

I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve learned about myself and others, by practicing Tango. The dynamics are right there. It’s like a revealing snapshot of how we’ve all related to others and our environment. I’m sure if I was a student in his class, Gee would shoot me a knowing look, picking up on what I’ve revealed about myself, in just a few moments. It’s almost embarrassing to know that I’m that transparent. But, actually, we all are. And that’s great news for learning to dance as well as how to better to relate in the world.

In life as in Tango we need to be able to stand on our own two feet, communicate authentically and appropriately with others and change direction when necessary with ease and grace.

The dance of Tango incorporates a move called the Pivot to allow us to move quickly into another direction or posture. And it looks exciting and beautiful. The quick turn, stylishly articulated is unanticipated and engaging to watch.

Being able to pivot is particularly important for us as people. In Tango, when you pivot, you change course while remaining steady on your axis.

We need to Pivot in life as well as while dancing.

I consider myself a strong woman, independent, successful, sociable, positive. I’m malleable as a follower yet able to take the lead, indirectly suggesting a change of course or directly, if necessary, to move us out of harm’s way. Knowing how to Pivot in Tango is key to both roles, when you’re leading as well as when you’re following.

Life can throw us curve balls, and it invariably does. 2020 has been rife with these unexpected upheavals. Sometimes we need to be able to change course in a flash, spin on a dime, making it look seamless, as if that’s what we always intended. We need to be in alignment and steady in our core and then smartly pivot to help maintain and progress on our path to our current or reconsidered goals.

For example: What if after years of working in one field you realize that what you really love and want to accomplish in your life is in some other industry or venue. It might feel like all the work you’ve done has no bearing on where you want to go.

What if you thought all was going great, when you discover your closest friend has betrayed your trust.

Both are examples of events that could throw us off balance, off our center of gravity - like a blow to the solar plexus. We need to know what we’re feeling, recover quickly and then create a new goal and path to get there.

The key to pivoting is to be able to change directions while remaining on your axis. We need to accept the new turn in the road and pivot to get on course.

How do you stay in alignment so you can spin, pivot on a second’s notice? It takes practice, just as it does in dance. It’s about having belief in your physical core for Tango and your emotional core for life and your relationships. It’s valuing yourself, your training, your expertise, knowing your worth. It’s recognizing who you are, where you start and where you can go so you can confidently move into a different position with your base and self-esteem intact. It’s allowing your creativity and flexibility to create the next move in any new context, for both you and the other important “dance partners” in your life.

And the beautiful turn that results from a well-articulated pivot is exhilarating.

So many reasons to embrace the unexpected and the adventures we encounter on all the twists and turns in our lives.

We’ve all had to deal with highly disruptive changes in our worlds in 2020. They’ve made us take a closer look at ourselves and our situations, our values and our integrity. The challenge is to grow through them and become stronger. Being able to pivot helps us all survive and learn how to thrive anew.

I would be very interested in hearing your Pivot stories. Please share.

To your success!

Doc Sharon

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