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The Importance of Tension

“Tension: the state of being stretched or strained.”

That’s where I am at these days! In a constant state of feeling stretched tight–for time, money, growth, ideas, sleep, you name it! To be honest, I’m not finding it incredibly comfortable. Whether it’s a sensation of being stretched too thin, or trapped into a too small space or being pushed in a direction I’m resisting going, the feeling is not “comfortable.” However, as I was feeling myself squirm under this tension the other day, I started thinking how important this tension was. Without it, I realized I would likely be sitting on the couch watching TV, letting life flow on by me. Instead (thanks to this tension), I find myself taking bold, decisive, yet often messy steps towards my aliveness. And it feels good.

Tension is that internal pressure I feel between where I am and where I want to be. It is the space between my present reality and the reality I envision. Between the present moment and my dreams and goals. I am beginning to see very clearly that if there is no tension, I don’t get anything done or am highly unmotivated to change. However, it can start to get tricky because, if there is too much tension, I get absolutely overwhelmed and scattered and also move nowhere. There has to be a sweet spot. This idea made me think of what I have learned dancing Argentinian Tango-a different way of thinking about tension.

“Tension: A balanced relation between strongly opposing elements.”

The phrase, “it takes two to tango,” isn’t just a cute saying. The best Argentinian Tango dancers have mastered the art of tension-a perfect give and take between partners. Increased pressure from one partner is matched by the other, creating the grace and fluidity of the tango dance. Without tension, the dance falls apart. With too much tension, the dance falls apart. In the sweet spot, the dance takes on a life of its own.

I want to dance Tango with life.

When I am feeling tension in my life, it means I am engaged and alive. I am reaching and growing and–let’s be honest, also tripping and falling, but that is part of the journey. So here’s to tension!

Today I proclaim: “I open my arms to dance with the universe! I welcome the tension and choose to dance in the sweet spot of alive living: being in the moment while still reaching for the sun!”

Will you join me in this dance? Share your thoughts with me below!

I see YOU,

Heart symbolMartha

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Comments on: "The Importance of Tension" (8)

  1. This is such a strong text! What a beautiful and inspiring end… Thanks!

  2. So true! I love the tango reference as it beautifully paints the beauty of tension in balance. Poetically said. Here’s to tension. I’ll celebrate it too!

  3. Wow…I never would of looked at ‘Tension’ as this. This is an eye-opener for me. Wow. Thanks for making me think.

  4. Martha Hansen! Surely you are my guardian angel, posting this exactly when I need it most. Thank you so so so much for this perspective. I think I will take a deep breath and dance. Wow. What a gift, to see tension as a guide. Yes, Brilliance Is Your Nature, Martha Hansen!!!

  5. Me me me!!! I want to join you! I love when you said “I open my arms to dance with the universe! I welcome the tension and choose to dance in the sweet spot of alive living: being in the moment while still reaching for the sun!” For some reason that mantra just opened me up. I’ve never thought of DANCING with the Universe and I love that visual – thank you for sharing your views on tension, I can see it in a whole new way and now I will celebrate that feeling of being stretched with new eyes. Thank you magical Martha!

  6. Love the analogy of dance and tension you paint, Martha! And what a different way of thinking that tension can be a good thing in our lives … if only to get us off the couch! Beautifully written and though provoking, thank you.

  7. This is inspiring, Martha… I love the analogy and the invitation to go exploring for the sweet spot. I’m looking up Tango classes now!

  8. I’ll join your dance. So eloquently put! I love the way you related the tension in your life to the tension in Tango. It helps to see how to maintain the positive tension which keeps us growing each day. AND “If you’re not growing, you’re dying” according to the laws of nature.

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