Do you ever wonder just what the heck is going on? Find yourself trying to make sense of current events and not get overwhelmed? Does the news of the day sometimes knock your personal world off balance?

Try as we might to stay in our own little bubbles and focus on our own lives, word about things that are happening have a way of finding us. With every event around the world engaging our empathy and demanding our sympathy, it can take our best efforts just to stay on keel and keep moving.

It wasn’t always this way. Empathy overload is an often overlooked side effect of the modern media milieu that we’re all immersed in. Staying on balance and maintaining our composure requires both awareness of the fact and new strategies to get us through.

Our world has always had it’s share of disasters. Obviously the nature of trouble has evolved along with our technology, but people have caused problems and Mother Nature has shown her strength since time immemorial.

The difference is the speed and efficiency in which our global electronic nervous system brings us the news. When Krakatoa, the volcano in Indonesia, erupted in 1883, eventually killing upwards of 36,000 people, the explosion was heard over 3,000 miles away in Australia. The news traveled much slower, although eventually it affected everyone with darkened skies and cooler temperatures around the world.

I witnessed the speed of modern communications firsthand in my own kitchen on February 22, 2011. My older daughter Isabelle was visiting from New Zealand and one morning she had a sudden urge to call her housemate back in Christchurch to check in.

He answered the phone screaming “How did you know to call right now! The windows are breaking and the refrigerator just fell over, we’re having an earthquake!” and then the line went dead.

Shocked and bewildered, she immediately opened her laptop and turned to Google for answers. Within seconds we were finding tweets from the USGS reporting a 6.3 magnitude quake in New Zealand, and within minutes the first shaky cell phone videos were starting to appear on YouTube. Live news cameras and official reports were online within the hour.

We spent the next few days glued to the screen frantically watching the disaster unfold. Her home in the nearby port town of Lyttelton was severely damaged, in all 80% of the buildings there were lost, including the café she worked at and the school she was attending.

It took two days to account for all of her friends and family, sadly the parents of one of her friends were among the 185 fatalities from the quake. It changed the shape of that city forever, when she returned she was among the many thousands who relocated to Wellington or other towns in New Zealand.

Nearly every day there is some sort of dramatic event somewhere in the world. And once in a while we are more closely connected, or even involved. The radio, the television, our smartphones — they all bring our world to us instantly, reminding us that we’re all connected in the big picture of humanity. We’re all sensitive souls, and every disaster deserves a tear of empathy or an act of support.

Yet you may find yourself getting lost in the stories, and losing track of your own path. The strategy you need to remember is to pause and look around and give thanks. Chances are that there are living, breathing, loving people near you going about their day-to-day lives at every moment.

When the faraway world screams in pain, double down on gratitude for the people you can see, touch, or connect with. Spread as much love and kindness as you can to those who are in the first degree of separation around you. Lower your head out of the noise and get grounded in the gift of life around you.

It used to be so simple. Before modern media brought the world to our fingertips, the people around us who we could see or touch were our universe. Technology brings many gifts, so remember to stay in balance as we evolve together. Build that muscle of human connection to keep your feet on the ground in this beautiful dance of life.

Holding my strand of the web of life with you till next week!


Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

Dance First Member Spotlight – Sierra Conscious Dance !!!

This week’s Dance First member shout out goes up to the fine folks at Sierra Conscious Dance! Holding the torch for the high country, this is a dance collective that is really doing their part!

For years our friends Laurie Martin, Polly Triplat, Breeze Cross, and their team of volunteers have been hosting recurring and one-off dances in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and Reno region.

They are a case-study in what it takes to hold together a community and provide a space for practice and transformation on a regular basis. Many adjustments have been made over the years, and many happy drops of sweat have been shed.

They bring a wealth of practices and a variety of movement modalities to their offerings. Polly Triplat has a background in Nia and Feldenkrais, and is inspired by the movement ministry of Soul Motion and the moving meditation of 5Rhythms. She’s currently in training to be an Open Floor facilitator. She also has a private practice called Bodywise Massage where she offers Healing Therapeutic Massage and Visionary Craniosacral work. Learn more at

Laurie Martin, (aka AhMuse) is a trained Dancing Freedom facilitator and a Remo HealthRHYTHMS facilitator. She leads drum circles and community movement events that incorporate dance, drumming, theater and coloring to diverse groups in many settings. Contact Laurie at

Breeze Cross (aka Breeze-la) has developed & offers a unique practice which combines the healing tones of alchemy crystal singing bowls with dance/movement medicine inspired by an eclectic mix of world beat music. Learn more about Bowls and Beats

Visit the Sierra Conscious Dance website to learn more and get on their mailing list and be sure to drop in to one of their dance when you’re in the high country!

Thanks so much to you all Polly, Laurie, and Breeze! You’re doing great work moving the movement and bringing somatic consciousness to your community!