“Success is inevitable. As long as you don’t give up and keep doing the personal work on yourself.”

Do you ever have occasion to question your confidence? Find yourself in a situation where you’re in a bit over your head, or trying something slightly out of your league? It’s part of the human condition that we all face, and until we feel a bit of mastery about something it’s only natural to have some butterflies in our stomach the first few times out doing anything. Whether it’s teaching a class or learning to sky dive, it’s only by actually stepping into the ring and taking action that we gain real belief in ourselves.

One of the secrets to happiness in life is progress. The flip side is stagnation, and we all know how that feels. So the secret sauce of aging gracefully could be to keep on learning and gaining more confidence and mastery in our chosen pursuits as we move through life. And sometimes we don’t believe that we have a knack for something until someone else points it out.

When I review my first five decades I can see a number of times where at first I didn’t think I could do something, then a nudge from someone or a fortuitous circumstance thrust me into it, and then after resigning myself to practice and paying my dues it became second nature and an old hand with all the confidence of an expert.

It started with music. For some people working in a record store is a rite of passage, for others it becomes a way of life. My formative years were very much shaped by the time I spent behind the counter at various shops, and before I was old enough to be employed in them, the many hours I spent pawing through the bins and hogging the listening decks at my favorite vinyl haunts. My own form of rebellion had the side-effect of being a musical history education.

Some kids take the path of learning an instrument, and have parents who support them in this, traveling with the high school band to games and possibly going on to careers in music. That wasn’t me, I didn’t have the discipline to stick with my short lived attempt at playing trombone. About the only thing I was confident about in those days was that I could get out of any kind of trouble that I found myself in, and most of my energy went into creating it!

As I was coming of age in the late 1970’s and early ’80’s, other kids excelled at academics or got lost in entertainment. It’s hard to imagine now an era before video games and social media, the two black holes of attention offered up to the boys and girls of today. I remember us more social and rebellious types derisively referring to Nintendo as ‘No-Friend-O” when it started to appear on the scene and some of our acquaintances would succumb to it.

The other path was to pick up an instrument and be in a rock band. While I had the desire, I definitely didn’t have the confidence, discipline or follow-through to make it happen. I made a feeble attempt at learning how to play the bass guitar, and later had a stint as the front man singing for a short-lived punk rock band in Denver Colorado. I can see it now that if I had stuck with that path, and survived the pitfalls of the rock’n roll lifestyle, I might’ve been one of those old rockers doing reunion tours right about now.

Then came the DJ years. As the owner of a clothing store at the epicenter of the rave explosion in San Francisco in the early 90s I found myself surrounded by confident young DJs who were rapidly rocketing to fame and fortune, even including my girlfriend at the time! Somehow I harbored a limiting belief that they had some special inborn talent and that beat-matching was beyond me, so I contented myself collecting oddball records and playing in the side rooms.

A few years after the initial frenzy died down, I was living with a pair of turntables and remember thinking to myself, “What if I just practice a little bit everyday?” Lo and behold I discovered that there was no special DJ gene that I was lacking, what mattered was simply dedicating myself to doing the work on a regular basis. Looking back, I’m actually relieved that DJ superstardom wasn’t my path, the pitfalls of that lifestyle are likely worse than rock’n roll, and I believe I have more potential to create meaning in the world doing what I do now.

That said, as far as the craft of DJing is concerned, I now consider myself an expert, confident to hang with the best. And what’s even better is that I’ve carved out a niche like none other — as one of the only vinyl-spinning DJ’s in the conscious dance world I’m in a unique position to study the somatic difference between analog and digital sound in the live laboratory of the dance floor.

Yesterday I made a return appearance at the Sunday Santa Barbara Dance Tribe event and was once again amazed by the response from the dancers down there. And on nights when I’m spinning the records at our weekly Dance Jam in Berkeley I’m convinced that we have one of the finest conscious dance experiences available anywhere. It’s taken a while to build up the confidence say that!

Another realm where I once thought I didn’t have the proper DNA but now realize that the muscles have been built is in my coaching and consulting services. I used to think that was beyond me, but the more I helped people, the more people would encourage me. I first encountered professional coaches who worked with top CEO’s in Silicon Valley and their world seemed far beyond me. But when I started to apply my knowledge of the conscious dance world to hardworking facilitators we began to see amazing results.

When my clients stared sending me referrals, who then became clients too, it became clear that this was becoming second nature. And looking forward, I can see several more mountains of mastery there to be climbed! I like to write, but am I an author? I run a business, but am I a leader? I have ideas for art, but am I a sculptor? The beauty of life is that there’s always more to learn!

The point is that no matter what you master, you’ll probably be good at it long before you think you are. If you’re a dance facilitator, it’s easy to forget how accomplished you are in the eyes of someone who has never taken a training. No matter where you are on the ladder, it’s important to remember that you’ve built up a lot of confidence just to get to where you are, and that you’re miles ahead of everyone who’s just thinking about starting to climb.

So keep putting one foot in front of the other, and know that if you’re in alignment with your dreams and goals, success in inevitable, as long as you’re consistent about two things. First, is don’t give up. And second, is keep doing the personal work on yourself. With those two mindsets in place, the process of progress is a joy and your path will be a pleasure.

With a long-winded much love until next week!


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

Dance First Member Spotlight! Wendy Roman and the Rhythmwood Soul Journey!

Dance First Member Spotlight

Today you’re fortunate to meet Wendy Roman and learn about both Rhythmwood, her unique retreat center in Canada, as well as the amazing Rhythmwood Soul Journey experience she is leading this summer. Wendy and I have been working together and one of the questions we asked right at the start was how to make her annual retreat more dynamic and transformative? Wendy is a leader trained in the Soul Motion lineage, as well as being a long-time facilitator of The Nia Technique and Dance Our Way Home.

She identified a number of the usual issues that retreats sometimes face and thought about what she could do differently. People arrive without knowing one another and spend the first day or two just getting acquainted. There’s a lot of anticipation beforehand, but no prior connection. The retreat experience itself is a peak of activity, but there’s often a crash when participants return to their normal lives. There’s a lot of preliminary and background material for people to absorb, and they tend to cram it in and overwhelm themselves during the retreat itself.

So what if there was a way to spread it all out and create a much more valuable and engaging metaphysical container? What if much of the getting acquainted and grounding the background material could be done beforehand? How much more relaxed and deep would the actual in-person retreat time be if the participants had already connected and completed some self-guided study materials? Would following up afterwards with an online group meeting serve to cement the transformation and solidify the bonds of friendship created during the retreat?

So instead of simply hosting a typical 6-day retreat, the idea of expanding it into a 12-week experience came about, and theRhythmwood Soul Journey was born. The offering is for women only, and since space is limited, there’s an application process designed to insure that every participant is a match. She’s even offering one work-trade scholarship position to one suitably motivated individual.

The unique aspect to this journey is that it starts way before you make the trip to Rhythmwood in the spectacular Bruce Peninsula of Ontario, Canada and comes to a close after you return home. Long before you meet in person, you spend time getting to know your retreat-mates in a series of online video meetings. You are well prepared by a number of valuable self-guided study activities prior to the in-person part of the journey. And after you’re done with the traveling you conclude the journey with your sisters by meeting again online for a final closing connection.

Having learned a lot about the story of Rhythmwood, I’m confident in recommending this expanded Soul Journey experience. Wendy and her husband are original back-to-the-land folks who built their retreat center by hand, right down to the logs in their cabin and the radiant heat in the floor of the dance temple. They provide home cooked meals, complete with fresh eggs from their flock of chickens, and have comfortable lodging for participants on-site.

Please do yourself a favor and visit her website to learn all about this dynamic experience, and see how a retreat can be much more than simply six days away from home. Wendy is a real gem in the world of conscious movement and you have a special opportunity to take part in this historic adventure, the Rhythmwood Soul Journey!

Rhythmwood Soul Journey – Dance of the Feminine Spirit
Rhythmwood Retreat, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
May 18 to Aug 10, including 6-day Onsite Retreat July 8 – 13
Early Bird Rate Available Until Feb 28th.