Tango Sisterhood Pledge

Sharna and Brigitta, TangoMujer 2004. Photo by Astrid Weiske

Sharna and Brigitta, TangoMujer 2004. Photo by Astrid Weiske

International Women’s Day is coming up on Wednesday, March 8, and in my daily search for positive and productive ways to direct my energy, I discovered the Global Sisterhood Project.

On that particular Wednesday, I will be on the island of Maui, co-leading the Aloha Girls retreat for tango women with one of my early tango she-roes, Brigitta Winkler. We will briefly join our women’s tango circle that evening with Global Sisterhood’s international synchronized meditation.

I’m often tempted to dismiss this kind of quiet internal work as less important than public protests or calls to representatives. It’s not. Both are important, because our internal and external lives are constantly mirroring one another. As we grow within, we are able to see more clearly the work to be done in the world. And as we interact with the world, we identify the next step of our own personal evolution. It is this balance of internal and external work that keeps me grounded, calm, and productive. If I linger on either side for too long, I start to lose focus.

In addition to the synchronized meditation, I am inspired by this organization’s Sacred Sisterhood Pledge, which acknowledges the habits of competition, comparison, jealousy and judgment that deteriorate our emotional lives and our relationships. Again, the damage is simultaneously internal and external. If we want to see (and be) strong women in the world, we've got to pull these stubborn weeds out by the roots and replace them with something else.

Since I’ll be working in a tango environment next week, I decided to write my own Tango Sisterhood Pledge. For myself, I know that the process of owning up to my negativity and transforming it, over time, into more positive and uplifting attitudes is the single greatest factor in whatever success and joy I have experienced in my life and in my career.

Sharna and Angelika, TangoMujer 2005. Photo by Astrid Weiske

Sharna and Angelika, TangoMujer 2005. Photo by Astrid Weiske

Still, it’s always good to revisit old territory and keep sweeping out whatever stray cobwebs may remain.  So here’s my pledge to tango women everywhere:

Dear Tango Sister,

I admit that I have been jealous of you in the past. I have envied your clothes, your boleos, your dance partners, and even resented you for having them. I have invented elaborate, fictitious justifications for the times you got something I thought I deserved, like a dance or compliment, or a job. I have judged you harshly and unfairly. I have compared myself to you and concluded I was worse or better in countless ways, all of which left me feeling miserable and powerless.

I am sorry for this. I’m sorry for doing this both to you and to myself, because I fully understand now that it’s always both or neither. The inside and the outside always match.

From this moment forward, I promise to abandon the habits of competition, comparison, jealousy and judgment that chip away at our self-worth, keep us divided, and drain our precious creative energy. I know that the best way to keep myself strong is to strengthen you, too, and that solidarity is the only path to health and stability both individually and collectively.

Sharna and Valeria, TangoMujer 2005, Photo by Astrid Weiske

Sharna and Valeria, TangoMujer 2005, Photo by Astrid Weiske

I hereby take this Tango Sisterhood Pledge:

1. I will care for my body, mind, and spirit as best I can, so that I’m never tempted to put you down as a way of making myself feel better.

2. I will speak well of you in public and private, no matter what the circumstances. At minimum, I will refrain from negative comment.

3. I will take responsibility for my own actions and set clear boundaries around what is and is not ok for me so that I can remain generous and open with you.

4. I will encourage you and celebrate your achievements and success.

5. I will respect your choice to lead or to follow at any time.

 

Ready to take the pledge? Leave your name, or add your own suggestions in the comments!