Five stages of moving beyond the fear of speaking up

Why are you so quiet? Probably, because it is scary to speak up.

But here's the thing: what if the world needs you to speak up?

We are in a world where, it seems, many kind, subtle, creative, loving, intelligent, connecting people are...quiet.

If the spiritual, thoughtful, loving, generous, creative, compassionate people like you stay quiet and just keep their opinions to themselves - I think we won't see much changes.

Your voice gets stronger with practice

But what if you started practicing speaking up, using your voice? What if you started saying what you think and believe every now and then, at dinner, on social media, anywhere? What if you started your blog, what if you wrote and practiced sharing your ideas? Sure, you'll post some things that are maybe a little raw, you'll learn from each experience too. You'll distill the essence of what you want to say more and more, make it clearer; you'll understand who out there needs to hear from you; you'll eventually stop having a general malaise about "what people think," as you focus more of your attention on how to extend and expand the new world you now envision more and more clearly and to share this vision with the people who are ready to hear about it.

Using your voice is like using a muscle. It gets stronger with practice.

It's easy to be shy, to be picky. To be scared and threatened by the ole Facebook. To belabor your mini decision to "Like" some acquaintance's post, or "Share" your friend's thing, or "Post" that you're "feeling grateful" or whatever, or just click out and leave it off for another day. This the boring way. There's no time anymore to leave it off for another day. What if all that's missing in the world is YOUR voice?

Do you know your power?

Do you know the power of your voice?

If you did how would you use it today? 

We live in a world where, just by touching something you could actually trigger a landslide of butterfly actions that can transform the world entirely. What if all that's missing in this world is your voice - your touch? 

My 5 phases of developing my voice

I write a newsletter for my school and I blog. It has been hard to do this. I went through a lot of phases in getting used to sharing myself publicly.

Photo at Weller House Inn by  SubbusClicks

Photo at Weller House Inn by SubbusClicks

  • First there was the anonymous phase where I wrote under a secret identity.
  • Then there was the crazy phase when I wrote as myself, but in such an obscure way that nobody would be able to understand, let alone take issue with my perspectives.
  • After that there was the closely related elaborately colorful phase where I started to say things that were intelligible and made some sense but again only those who really loved me would take the time to sift the meaning from the verbiage. 
  • It gave way to a corporate phase where I started to express my meanings more succinct, more direct, maybe kinda flat.
  • I am finding again my authentic voice, past acres and acres of words, again rediscovering cheerfully twisted metaphor; may it be reborn in a way that can be helpful.

This last phase was made possible by a gradual crystallization of what I want to impart; immersion in a life-activity that provides continuous sources of challenge that inspire sharing and learning; clarification of the medium I'm writing in; getting to better know who I'm writing for; and with the help of trusted friends who share editorial perspective on my drafts.

Speak up! And may we all shine together. 

A Year Is Too Short: How A Long Term View Supports Tango

"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." -John Cage
Practica slideshow featuring Tango community members, curated by Shane Crosby

In Tango-time, things grow slowly.

Sure, there’s the occasional surprise tanda of delight with a total stranger. But mostly, things grow very very slowly in Tango time.

Friendships - they grow slowly.

Partnerships - they grow slowly.

My own skill - it grows slowly.

Community - grows slowly.

You keep committing, sincerely, to your practice. To becoming a dancer who can seed joy. Nothing changes, forever. Then finally, you are suddenly somewhere new.

Watch for Your Tourist Tendencies

In a fast-high-achieving-hyperworld, it can be very weird and frustrating to be in a place where things grow slowly.

Especially when you can see - or you think you can see - where you wanna get to. You figure there’s got to be a quicker way. Maybe if you go someplace else, do something else, move to Buenos Aires or somewhere.

I don’t think there is. See, in Tango-time, things grow slowly. No matter where you are or who you are with.

When people don’t understand how Tango really works, they usually look at it through the question: “What can I get out of this? How can I get more?”

This focus distorts the energy around you, and makes you weird at events, slightly restless, careless, demanding, flitty. (And I’ve been here - a lot! Still struggle with it.)

Being a community-tourist, skipping around from one knot of humans to another to get as much as you can without committing anything, is something we all have to deal with. But is it a high quality model to build our lives on? At some point, it loses its charm. At best. At worst, it can become a bit toxic.

The Bravery of Commitment

It can feel so good to finally not rush. To just realize that the quality of the relationships you are building is way more important than getting what you think you want right now. How do you build a friendship? Can you do it in less than a year?

Familiarity unlocks trust, and friendship, and creativity. Those things unlock great dancing. That’s how it goes.

There is something so incredibly powerful about choosing a long term view of community, in a world where we are used to everything being disposable and temporary, including our connections with others.

I am thrilled to be part of a committed community. Among practitioners who are brave and willing to say: YES, I will be part of this thing for at least one summer, one fall, one winter, and one spring. I’ll be here through more hard times and the times when I doubt myself and the people around me too. Beyond simply consuming Tango, I’ll take responsibility for creating and expanding Tango’s joy. I invite you to be part of this.  


You are thinking of giving up on a certain person, place, event, activity. Is there a difficult conversation you think you will avoid by withdrawing? What if you decided to have that conversation, instead?

P.S., For those of you who like the idea of a slow, steady, deliberate, persistent, no-drama approach to learning in Tango, at Oxygen we offer a unique, flexible, long-term-oriented course, which is up one full year of dedicated coaching along with rich resources, opportunities, and room for your ideas.

Four Things That Helped Us Find Our Connection

Or, What To Do When Things Suck For Years

by Mitra Martin 

I’ll tell you the truth: we sucked for eleven years.

And I’m not saying we’ve stopped sucking now. But maybe there is some kind of silvery kindling that has a bit of goodness in it. It feels different, anyway.

I wanted to share this because I know how hard and painful it can sometimes be to try to develop partnership. In life or in Tango or in business or anywhere. And if you’re struggling with this mysterious process maybe it would help to know of others who also found it NOT EASY. And hear what helped them a little bit.

Here is what helped us a little bit.

1. Failing

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