Do you ever think about what it takes to be happy? Some people think that happiness is a destination outside somewhere that they’re moving towards. But really, happiness and well-being are more like byproducts of your activities in the here and now. So if you just learn where to focus your energy and attention in the present moment, then you’ll find yourself radiating happiness from within, the only place where it can ever be found.

Recent research has found that people who put in a lot of energy into seeking happiness or success aren’t actually that much more happy or successful. The reason is that they aren’t things that can be found, but rather ‘emergent properties’ that result from conscious and constant attention to the things that matter.

And what are the things that matter? Obviously in one sense, each of us has a unique constellation of ideas and activities that move us towards our goals and vision. But they can also be narrowed down into broad categories that apply to all of us. An acquaintance of mine,Jonathan Fields, founder of the Good Life Project, has written a great book entitled “How to Live a Good Life” about this very topic.

He posits that there are three basic buckets in life to keep full, and if we’re mindful about tending to each realm, happiness is certain to result. The categories are Vitality, Community, and Contribution and they couldn’t be simpler or more self explanatory. And it totally makes sense. If we’re in good shape and taking care of ourselves, surrounding ourselves with loved ones and people we care about, and contributing in some way that makes a difference in the world, we’re bound to be happy.

For me, this model helps me put the work I do in perspective. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not blissed out all the time like some cult member, but I do feel like I’m on the right track. I like to eat well and exercise. My family, my business team, and my weekly dances feel like a great community. And serving the members of Dance First is an ongoing opportunity for contribution.

Beyond building the new Conscious Dancer MoveMap and putting hours of web work in behind the scenes, I get a huge kick out of writing the practice building articles that are featured on our members site. About once a week I will boil down some helpful topic that bubbles up from my individual sessions with members or my group trainings and post it in the Member’s Toolbox section.

This week I’m writing a post about the trick I use to manage passwords. Recently I’ve posted about shortcuts to professional looking graphic design, boosting local word-of-mouth, fast and easy ways to create content, growing your email list, and best practices for promoting on Facebook, (and how to eliminate distraction there as well.)

It’s all part of my vision for a comprehensive body of work that any movement leader or facilitator can use to make the entrepreneurial side of teaching easier. When you are a member of Dance First, you get more than just another promotional platform, you’re part of a global community of leaders dedicated to the mission of “movement before medication.” And if I can help make you all more successful and effective at what you do, then my bucket of contribution stays full, and I’m happy knowing that I’m making a difference in the world.

With love till next week!


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

Dance First Member Spotlight:Alana Shaw – Founder of Turning the Wheel

Dance First Member Spotlight

This weeks spotlight shines on a Dance First member who radiates the positivity of a life in service. Alana Shaw is the founder and director of Turning the Wheel, an non-profit organization that uses the tools of performance and embodiment to shift the perspective and empower young people and leaders of all ages to make a difference in the world.

Whenever one of our far-flung Dance First members comes to town, I like to meet in person and get acquainted in 3-D. She was here for the Bioneers Conference with her right hand helper Khiri Lee so we all got to hang out and get to know each other better.

On the eve of her seventh decade, Alana shows no signs of slowing down. Turning the Wheel has active chapters in several regions around North America, with more being developed all the time. She’s published a comprehensive guide to their work, “Dancing Our Way Home – A Guide to Improvising Through Life, Art & Performance”that’s essential reading for anyone working with groups and seeking better tools to create connection.

One of the things that really favorably impresses me about their process is that they don’t lead with some ideological ax to grind. While acknowledging the myriad issues of social justice and inequality in our world they create connection and raise consciousness using the universal principles of music and movement, performance and song — allowing the results to naturally carry on the deeper work.

I could go on for hours about all the different ways their organization impresses me. For now, I simply recommend that you check out their website and learn more. Alana’s spirit imbues their entire field with a love and generosity that you might well want to be a part of. Listen to my interview with her on Episode #26 of the Conscious Dancer Podcast, (and be sure to subscribe while you’re there!).

If you are looking for a training in intergenerational leadership development, or want support in bringing positive transformation to your community, then definitely look into what Turning the Wheel has to offer and find out how you can get involved.

Thank you so much Alana! It was such a delight meeting you and Khiri in person, and we really appreciate your membership in theDance First Association. I look forward to collaborating with you soon!