Your Rainforest Mind

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Tango With Your Despair

10 Comments

photo courtesy of Konstantin, Flickr, CC

photo courtesy of Konstantin, Flickr, CC

Despair.

Not your favorite emotion. Not how you want to spend your day. Not helpful when your cranky teenager wants the car keys. Not the most uplifting part of your memoir.

But here it is. Dancing the tango. Dragging you around the dance floor. It’s got you in its arms; holding you close. Singing its mournful melodies. You’re vulnerable, barely breathing. Dressed in black. Mesmerized by despair’s mystique. You want to escape the embrace. But there’s something about this tango. This dance partner. Impossible to resist.

Like every good tango dancer knows, the connection is everything. You must tune into your partner’s beating heart. Become one body with four legs. Unity is the goal. Reaching it is just a little joyful. Maybe a lot joyful.

Joy? Despair? What?

Stay with me on this.

Imagine that you can tango with your despair. Rather than push it away or pretend that it doesn’t exist, dance it. Embrace it. Listen to its song. Cry. Rant. Write. Make art. Feel its power in your body as you stride around the dance floor. As your feet connect with the earth beneath the floor. Tango with your despair.

Imagine that in the heart of despair, you’ll find your Self. As you become One with despair, you expand, you deepen, you open to possibilities. If you soften into it, rather than resist it, your dance will improve. You’ll find a way through. Perhaps a creative direction will appear. Maybe your intuition will speak. You might notice a burden lift.

Maybe you’ll even feel a little joyful.

“ Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection. ” ~ Rebecca Solnit

_________________________________

To my bloggEEs: Sensitive rainforest-minded humans need a little joy right about now. (By the way, this process can work with other painful emotions. Here’s a resource for more ideas.) Thank you for being here and for your compassionate sharing.

Oh, and I’m working on some restructuring of this blog/website. So don’t be surprised if you see some changes soon-ish. It’ll still be me, sending you my love notes.

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Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rain forest to describe this population. Like the rain forest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore.

10 thoughts on “Tango With Your Despair

  1. I love when you teach an important life lesson with a beautiful and meaningful analogy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m appreciating the deliciousness of the assertion that “Joy is a fine act of insurrection.” Indeed – your call to move and soften into the dance instead of trying in vain to holding yourself apart is the best kind of wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautifully written, and timely Paula. The dance of the working-class that speaks to passion. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Similar to yoga nidra, where pairs of opposites are held in one body at the same time. A healing and beneficial practice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Perfect! I wonder if I can translate this into six year old speak. My gifted child was in some despair over having to do Math every day! Ugh. We don’t do it every day but to her maybe it feels like it. We took a break and did some yoga stretches and I was telling her to shake her body and loosen it up. Maybe the Tango would have been better. Next time we’ll take a dance break. I did get her to giggle a little because I started singing the chorus to Taylor Swift’s, “Shake it off” while we were releasing our tension and wiggling like “wet noodles”. But Yes, Despair and Anger and maybe even some Rage. My solution has been to only watch the news for a limited time in the morning with plenty of time to release the emotions, otherwise the evening news keep me awake and anxious. Evening is for time for making and creating art, giving me a peaceful mind for sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

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