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It's Time to Get Uncomfortable


It was the first summer after my divorce, and the kids left for their dad’s for half the summer. I felt sad and lost, without purpose. What was I supposed to do with my time and energy?

It struck me that I needed a new hobby or project that would distract me from the silence and loneliness.

So I tried salsa!

Obviously, you can feel the love I have for this style of dancing, but it wasn’t love at first sight. I had quite a few awkward “dates” before falling head over heels in love.

I’ve always been a pretty good dancer, and that is what kept getting in the way of me being a good salsa dancer. I kept trying to dance hip hop or make up my own moves while my partner was trying to figure out how to keep up with me.

It finally hit me, Oh, you’re trying to lead me. And I’m supposed to follow you.

That realization opened my eyes. Soon, I learned how to relax enough to allow the guy to lead and be awake enough to anticipate his moves so we could move together in rhythm. Before long, I was jumping on the back of a motorcycle and flying across Portland in my hot pink pants with my salsa shoes in a bag slung over my shoulder, acting like a pro.

It’s been over ten years since my first attempt at salsa and, although I’m a much better dancer (and follower) now, I realize I have so much more to learn. Recently, I took some classes at the Portland Congress, an all-day event, which pushed me to learn Casino Ruedo (a circular style of Cuban dancing where you switch partners), sensual bachata ( I thought I moved my hips well until this class) and Panchenga (a totally different style of Cuban dancing that includes sliding your feet and jumping.) Once again, I was the newbie, off-beat, stepping the wrong way, and forgetting to jump or clap when I should. Still, I was grinning so big my lips stuck to my teeth. I know now that starting something new includes awkward moments like these but, if I keep at it, big dividends are coming.

Hopefully, you’re doing your own “new thing” that keeps you happily engaged. If not, now’s the time to begin.

Perhaps you’ve been dropping off your kids to art classes and it’s time for you to pick up a paint brush and dabble colors on a canvas.

Or, if you’re already an artist, do you think it’s time to sign up for this workshop?

Or maybe it’s time to think about traveling to new and exotic places?




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