Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.

~Zig Ziglar

What’s your favorite way to give thanks?  How do you like to receive appreciation? Why is having a healthy relationship with gratitude so important?

You’ve probably had this experience before. You offer someone heartfelt thanks or some sort of physical token of appreciation, only to have them deflect and demur with words like “you shouldn’t have” or “ really, I couldn’t.

You may have been doing your best to open your heart and express your gratitude, only to find yourself feeling stymied by their awkwardness. When someone short-circuits the receiving impulse with their own insecurities, it leaves both parties feeling deflated and incomplete. What could have been a simple moment becomes fraught with embarrassment.

Conversely, when someone is able to graciously accept the overture with aplomb and simply bask in your generosity or gratitude, there’s a high vibration to the exchange that brings a certain elegance to the relationship. It certainly feels better all around!

Sadly enough, the former is all too common, and the latter is rare enough that we take notice when it occurs. There’s an underlying dynamic that can be unpacked in either scenario that has to do with both the giver and the receivers concept of love.

For some folks, all love is conditional. They’ve never experienced it any other way and this limited concept overlaps with everything related to love such as giving, receiving, and the expression of gratitude. At its most base level, life is a zero-sum game and all relationships are transactional.

The thought pattern goes like this. “If I give something away, I have less, so they owe me something in exchange. They better give me something later that’s as important or valuable, or at least let me know they feel guilty and on the hook to me in some way.” It’s a small-minded point of view rooted in the consciousness of scarcity.

So when a person who thinks that way is on the receiving end, their defenses automatically go up, because they assume that’s the way everyone thinks, and they don’t want to be the guilty party on the hook in some way or another. It’s easier to somehow sabotage the whole exchange as soon as possible than to shift an entrenched mindset and open to the possibility of being a bigger person.

When your higher-self is running the show, you’re able to operate from a place of unconditional love, and access the spirit of abundance that’s yours for the asking. You have a belief in your creativity and ability to generate value in such a way that you know the well will never run dry.

For the unconditional spirit, the concept of relationship is much different. Instead of a tit-for-tat transaction that’s entered into conditionally, it all starts with a choice. And once the decision is made to say yes, then it’s all-in, 100%. It’s never “Well I put in my 50%, now you owe me yours.”

Instead, it’s “I’m going to trust that you’re as all-in as I am, and I’m ready, willing, and able to give 100%.” Starting out with this mindset is a natural way to find a vibrational match. It’s also an incentive to use more discernment in the first place.

An unconditional mindset also frees you up from any hard feelings or negativity down the road if things don’t work out as you’d hoped. Since you expected nothing in exchange in the first place, if the time comes for you to make a different choice and move on, there’s no love lost.

When an unconditional spirit receives a gift or expression of gratitude, the response is an honest, open, and heartfelt “Thank you!” or “Your welcome!” In the absence of any underlying transactional agenda, both parties can relax in an atmosphere of enough-ness and simply enjoy the positivity of the exchange. You can feel it when someone looks you straight in the eye and says “Wow, thank you, this really means a lot to me!

So as we kick off the “season of giving” with the day devoted to thanks here in the USA, let yourself and everyone else around you off the hook by simply being gracious when receiving and honest and unconditional with your giving. Life, love, and relationships exist on a different plane of energy than business, commerce, or contractual agreements so allow your higher self to shine anywhere you decide to go all-in.

Sending you my best from cool and drizzly Coos Bay Oregon, where Grandpa George, my 93-year-old Dad, (who wants nothing for Christmas, thank you!) resides peacefully.

Have a great Thanksgiving, with much love till next Monday!


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

Dance First Media Spotlight – Sing For Your Life!

This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on the OneVoice CircleSingers! This dynamic group of everyday vocalists present “Sing For Your Life!” 12-hours of continuous community singing with highly skilled improv artists happening Monday, December 30, 2019 (noon to midnight) at the First Congregational Church of Oakland.

OneVoice CircleSingers is an improvisational singing community with a spiritual attitude. Known as a “vocal jam-fest with heart,” this is a community gathering of folks who form an improvised choir. Leadership is offered primarily by members of SoVoSó, an Oakland-based vocal band. Launched by Arts First Oakland in 2002 as the Oakland revival of an annual tradition, “Singing For Your Life,” that began with Bobby McFerrin and Voicestra at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral.

Celebrating the 18th annual event where you can sing out the old year, and dream in a new year of resilience, kindness and possibility, while celebrating life with your voice. This event is for everyone, sing or listen, no experience necessary. All are welcome, this is a family-friendly event.

Come and go or stay the entire time. Interactive alters by community artists. Drinks and snacks in our Café and share what you bring. Monday, Dec. 30, Noon to Midnight. $25. A portion of the proceeds benefits Living Jazz and no one turned away for lack of funds.

And make sure to mark your calendar for the monthly CircleSing on the third Wednesday of every month!

Learn more at

Buy your tickets here.