The Dance of Life: Tango Dancing For The Immune System

The Dance of Life: Tango Dancing For The Immune System

I dreaded turning fifty. My father had died suddenly -- of a massive heart attack -- soon after his fiftieth birthday, on the day that I graduated medical school. He had his first ominous symptoms while dancing with my mother -- on the last New Year's Eve of his life.

For years, I had assumed that the same thing would happen to me. On what basis was I to believe that my fate would be any different than my father's had been? I told myself that for me, there would be no "life after fifty" to look forward to.

Instead, I've been pleasantly surprised: I passed the half-century mark that I had so morbidly feared nearly five years ago. Now, I look excitedly toward a future that holds amazing promise.

Since Turning Fifty...

The years since I turned fifty have been ripe with rich, unexpected developments and expansive opportunities. Beyond the age of fifty, I have done things that many would never have considered doing -- at any age!

First of all, I've fallen in love with in-line skating. Nearly every day I celebrate the invention of the wheel by appending eight hard translucent discoids to the bottoms of my feet -- as I lace up my boots and go sailing off through the park on my roller blades.

I've invented my own variation on the sport, which I call "rattle-blading". In each hand, I carry a multicolored "shaman's rattle", made of papier maché and other recycled materials. I use my rattles to warn joggers and strollers that I'm about to zoom by (I am still fine tuning my stopping skills!). Sometimes, for no apparent reason, I suddenly shift into an ecstatic frenzy, shaking my rattles in whatever rhythmic style I invent at the time.

Neighbors smile at me as I whiz by them in the early morning hours -- though one did ask me recently whether I wasn't "a bit old for that sort of thing", which he said he had mainly seen "youngsters" do.

And the Dance Goes On

By far the most significant development of all, though, has been my learning the Argentine Tango. With tango, I have found my passion. Passion turned up in a place where I would not have expected to find it -- on the dance floor. Tango has so swept me away that I have tango dreams at night.

I practice my dance steps, uninhibitedly, in public places -- in parking lots, shopping malls, standing in line at the bank or at the Motor Vehicles Department, waiting for my girlfriend to come out of the ladies room -- even while clowning around at the Washington Zoo with my favorite family of apes. What they think of me I can hardly imagine!

I'm convinced that each time I dance -- or even think about dancing -- my immune cells get up and dance, too. I imagine them twittering among themselves about my passionate behavior -- and reaching a quick consensus, that life is indeed worth living.

Even on my worst "bad hair" days (my hair is shorter now, in my new tanguero persona!), these clairvoyant cells see through the fog of my melancholy. They peer into the clearing of my deeper intention -- to live for the next dance!

The Tango: Best Health Assurance Policy

Though the AARP has begun to stuff my mailbox with suggestions about what I -- now a "senior" -- can do to safeguard my future, I know that Argentine Tango is my best "health assurance" policy. I renew it daily, with vigor and pure delight.

My energy's at an an all-time high. I can feel my Chi doing somersaults through the chambers of my heart, dancing loop-de-loops around the lobes of my lungs.

The Way of the Tanguero

In learning the Way of the Tanguero, I've tapped into a style of breathing that is unlike anything I've ever known. It's something like breathing fast, the way the heart beats fast whenever it recognizes that there's something worth getting excited about. Only, it's a very quiet breath, a kind of "inner breath-full-ness", a breath that instinctively knows how to be a well-mannered guest when visiting an exotic country.

This breath knows how to draw back into itself and disguise itself as a whisper. It's a breath that lives on an edge of dynamic tension -- almost exploding into an ecstatic moan -- while tastefully restraining itself from actually doing so. It is a breath that knows how to pause, in awe of the sacredness of the moment.

Even during my first several weeks of tango, after my first few tango lessons, I was breathing this "tango breath" so deliciously that I could hardly contain myself -- or manage the leaps of imagination that danced through my awareness. I had vivid dreams of dancing dolphins, of grand palaces with gleaming terrazos, of vast purple skies. I could hardly sleep at night.

Tango is exercise, therapy, meditation, assertiveness training, relationship training, and recreation, all in one. It can trigger long-forgotten memories, and fuel expansive dreams.

The Breath of Tango

Tango involves a very special kind of breathing practice, one in which subtlety and refinement are king. Quiet steady breathing is the domain from which I lead. If my mind -- or my breath -- flutters even for an instant, my tango partner becomes confused. She is suddenly adrift in a sea of possibilities that is too vast to navigate.

However, when I breathe in tandem with her, and focus on our next step, I give her a clear lead. Our bodies flow. Our energies pulsate together.

Being the leader both thrills and unnerves me. My partner and I come together in the dance as opposites, blending together in a dynamic embrace. We are log and flame, burning the boundaries between us -- as hot, expressive energy is released.

We're wed in this dynamic balance, as we journey together, partners for the moment in a land beyond words, beyond mind. As my partner blossoms in each moment, there are endless varieties of ways in which she may express herself. But it's up to me to draw for her the outlines of our dance.

One friend, who's been dancing tango for awhile, says that at times her experience is something like making love. After a particularly sensual encounter recently, after she and her dance partner had floated together fluidly for minutes that seemed like hours, she felt an urge to light up a cigarette.... though she isn't a smoker.

She resisted that impulse to light up, but she did pause in wonderment, to fully inhale the aroma of that experience, before she and her partner quit the dance floor.

Riding the Edge

I love to ride the fluid edge of innocence and intimacy that tango dancing requires. I enjoy it when my partner's movements echo precisely my own strong lead. Equally much, I love to dance with the spontaneous variations that she invents.

Through tango, I am becoming a different kind of man -- bolder, freer, willing to risk imperfection, sporting my true colors. My body feels supple and strong, my feet well-planted, my mood optimistic, upbeat. I'm learning to express myself as a strong, sensitive Samurai, cutting through old inhibitions -- listening to my partner, welcoming us to the dance.

Dancing the eight-count of tango rhythm has become my moving meditation practice. "Step, one, two, three, four..." is my mantra. As I clear my mind of anything that might impede the lyrical flow between me and my partner, we enter a garden of delights. We feast. We live!

Showing Up: The Dance of Life

Through the juicy experience of tango, I have learned this truth: All the "doing" of life, all its myriad activities, are merely embellishment. The real "dance of life" is about showing up...... in each present moment.

Though I doubt that it's ever been tested in any scientific study, I'm convinced that when you live your passion -- whatever the object of its focus may be -- you super-charge the cells of your immune system. These cells are always "listening in", poised to follow, taking their lead from your attitude-in-action.

Whatever you've concluded about your own "dance of life", whatever story you've told yourself about "how life is -- and how it can be!" -- that will be a potent cue for those parts of you whose job it is to maintain your health and safeguard your survival.

"I have a passion!" is a powerful daily sermon for your immune-cell "congregation". The heart-felt meaning of these words is your potent testimony, your "letter of intent", soul-delivered "to whom it may concern". This bold statement conveys a message to all of the assembled: "Preserve this precious life that I'm choosing to live to the fullest!" All of your cells -- every part of you -- will bear witness to this emphatic testimonial.

This article is an excerpt from a manuscript in preparation. A musical CD, Dances with Breath, is available with songs/poems/based on themes from the book. For further information, see  www.humormatters.com/healingmatters.htm

Recommended book:

Surfing Aquarius: How to Ace the Wave of Change
by Dan Furst.

Learn how to thrive in the Age of Aquarius! Surfing Aquarius is for people who want to make the best of the years just ahead by making brave, optimistic choices in a spirit of community.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book and or download the Kindle edition. 

About The Author

Barry Sultanoff, MD, author of the article: Tango Dancing For The Immune System

Barry Sultanoff, M.D., is a founding member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a charter member of the Feng Shui Guild. Dr. Sultanoff has been a columnist for Natural Health Magazine as well as several other periodicals. He is co-author of "Putting Out the Fire of Addiction". Dr. Sultanoff practices whole person medicine, emphasizing the integration of body, mind, and spirit, in Kensington, Maryland. Among his passions are Argentine tango dancing, in-line skating, photography, and hatha yoga.

Book by this Author

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=0658002813;maxresults=1}

Related Books

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=dancing tango;maxresults=2}


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

You May Also Like

INNERSELF VOICES

How To Ensure That "Luck" Is On Your Side
How To Ensure That "Luck" Is On Your Side
by Marie T. Russell
"He's so lucky! She always wins! I'm just not lucky!" Do these statements sound familiar? Have they…
face of woman floating in water
How To Develop Courage and Move Out of Your Comfort Zone
by Peter Ruppert
Courage is not about being fearless in the face of a scary situation. It is the willingness to move…
chamomile plants in bloom
Horoscope Current Week: July 26 - August 1, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want.
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want
by Amy Fish
You need to have the courage to live life. This includes learn­ing to ask for what you need or…
man passed out on a table with an empty bottle of alcohol with child looking on
Can LSD Cure the 'Spiritual Disease' of Alcoholism?
by Thomas Hatsis
Beginning in the late 1950s, five hospitals (in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada) offered a…
pregnant woman sitting with her hands on her belly
Essential Tips for the Journey: Release Fear and Take Care of Yourself
by Bailey Gaddis
Suppressing fear-induced emotions infuses life into them, often causing a manifestation of…
person radiating love and light from their heart out into the universe
Being A Light unto this World: Healing the World by Being Present
by William Yang
A bodhisattva brings healing into this world not out of fear of sickness and death, but out of…
full moon over a hot air balloon
Fear Unceasing or Life Abundant? Blue Moon Cycle in Aquarius
by Sarah Varcas
The period beginning with this first full moon (24 July 2021) and ending with the blue moon (22…

Marie T. Russell's Daily Inspiration

MOST READ

hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil image of children
Death Denial: Is No News Good News?
by Margaret Coberly, Ph.D., R.N.
Most people are so strongly habituated to death denial that when death appears they are caught…
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want.
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want
by Amy Fish
You need to have the courage to live life. This includes learn­ing to ask for what you need or…
Writing letters by hand is the best way to learn to read
Writing letters by hand is the best way to learn to read
by Jill Rosen, Johns Hopkins University
Handwriting helps people learn reading skills surprisingly faster and significantly better than…
spraying for mosquito 07 20
This new pesticide-free clothing prevents 100% of mosquito bites
by Laura Oleniacz, NC State
New insecticide-free, mosquito-resistant clothing is made from materials researchers have confirmed…
image of the planet Jupiter on the skyline of a rocky ocean shore
Is Jupiter a Planet of Hope or a Planet of Discontent?
by Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green
In the American dream as it's currently dished up, we try to do two things: make money and lose…
test your creativity
Here's how to test your creativity potential
by Frederique Mazerolle, McGill University
A simple exercise of naming unrelated words and then measuring the semantic distance between them…
Digital Distraction and Depression: The 21st Century Scourges
Digital Distraction and Depression: The 21st Century Scourges
by Amit Goswami, Ph.D.
We now have ever-expanding ways to distract and consume attention through the new digital opiate of…
two children reading a book with their father
Empathy Starts Early: 5 Australian Picture Books That Celebrate Diversity
by Ping Tian, University of Sydney and Helen Caple, UNSW
Early exposure to diverse story characters, including in ethnicity, gender and ability, helps young…

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.