"Be yourself — everyone else is already taken! "
~ Oscar Wilde
Do you have a ‘career’? What’s your ‘occupation’? Do you consider yourself gainfully employed, self-employed, or something else?
One of the things that most of us get drilled into our heads as we grow up is the necessity of becoming a “productive member of society.” Most of us understand right off the bat that if we don’t have a job once we leave the nest the world will become a fairly harsh and unforgiving place in no time.
Sometimes higher education is the stepping stone to the professional path, other folks simply start working somewhere and try on different jobs until they land on something that fits. Often it’s not until much later that people come to their senses and ask themselves “Is this really what I want to be doing with my life?”
That’s when we decide whether we are pursuing our calling or simply being responsible. The safer choice is usually less exciting, while our dreams might require a risky leap into the unknown. One thing is certain, as Wayne Gretzky the hockey great once said: “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.”
Of course everyone is different and there is really no right or wrong way to design your life, as long as you are not causing harm to other people or the planet. Some folks settle into a path they are happy with right away and stay there forever, while others try on different things and experiment with various ways of being throughout their lives. At the end of the day, who you are being is every bit as important as what you are doing.
If you are able to be happy, kind, loving, and generous doing something utterly mundane, then you are arguably leading a more fulfilling life than someone who is doing something spectacular or glamorous, while being mean, petty, and vindictive. Your level of consciousness cares very little about what you do, but who you are being while you’re doing it.
Like everyone, I suppose, I often get asked about what I do. It’s probably one of the most common topics to come up in conversation when you meet someone new. If I feel like explaining, I will tell them about Conscious Dancer and the Dance First Association, how I run an organization that provides promotional services and marketing support to movement facilitators and mind-body health and wellness professionals around the world.
I usually mention the fact that I also DJ and host a weekly conscious movement event in Berkeley, that’s Dance Jam every Friday night. And beyond all of that, I have a part-time gig teaching welding and metal sculpture at The Crucible in Oakland. So I sort of have a tripod of activities that make up my “doing” all of which I love and am very happy with.
Besides being in service to our members, and being the musical leader of my dance community, and being an in-demand metalworking instructor, my main gig is trying to be a good dad. I tell people that what I am really up to is being a taxi driver, with a daughter in fifth grade I have several more years of driving the dad-bus around to look forward to. My day-to-day routine revolves around getting her to school and to all of the other destinations on her social and extracurricular calendar.
Me and Teresa went out recently to celebrate our first two years together, and we took in a spectacular cabaret show at the Circus Center in San Francisco, (emcee’d by the flamboyant chanteuse between us in the photo above). We shared a table front-and-center with a couple who were huge fans and donors to the Circus Center.
One of the fellows was about my age and he shared with us that he was an engineer with a successful career, but where he really wanted to be was up on the stage singing and dancing with the performers. Apparently, he’d recently had a conversation with someone who had encouraged him to take the leap, and he was finally taking steps to realize his dream.
Obviously, if you’re five-feet-tall and your dream is to be an NBA star, you are going to have to face reality at some point. But regardless of what your circumstances might have you doing, you’ve always got room to make adjustments in who you are being.
Another way to look at it is to ask: “If you were to meet yourself, who would you want to be? ” That’s an interesting way to dance around the concept of consciousness and self-reflect in a positive way. And give yourself a break! The last thing you need is to judge yourself harshly, which defeats the whole purpose of being a kind and loving person in the first place!
When you look outward at the big picture in this dance of life, there are literally millions upon millions of different things to do. Yet when you look at what’s alive inside of you, you will find a very small number of ways to be that truly make you shine. Learning how to live in the balance between the two is one of the true arts of life.
Happily dancing with you until next Monday rolls around! All the best to you and yours and have a great week!
Dance First Member Spotlight :: Caroline Kleindienst and the Earth - Felt - Dance Conference on Maui!
This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on Caroline Kleindienst, the founder of Somatic Healing Arts in Maui and one of the creative minds behind the upcoming Earth – Felt – Dance Conference happening February 22nd – 24th. She’s a native of Austria who has traveled the world living and working in various cultures and traditions, including Europe, Southern Africa, North America, and currently Hawaii.
She’s been engaged in the expressive healing arts for 20 years and hold a masters degree from the Academy of Arts in Vienna, Austria. She’s also a Tamalpa Institute expressive arts graduate and registered somatic movement therapist. Her intention is to create safe spaces to support people in exploring the stories and rhythms of their lives.
Recently she says: “ I’ve started bringing embodied approaches to healing in clinical settings and have been supporting in-patients recovering from eating disorders and drug abuse. Using creative movement, Embodied Mindfulness, eco-somatics, and movement-based expressive arts approaches have been very helpful to create a safe container for clients in this vulnerable state of recovery to return to their bodies and establish a new sense of safety and support.”
Coming up on Feb 22-24, she is co-creating the “Earth – Felt – Dance Conference – Portals to the Landscape of the Body ” along with Narelle Carter-Quinlan and guest facilitators on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Participants will be guided through somatic and movement practices to balance their nervous systems, connect with their fluid systems, and enter into a dreamscape of sensations and images.
Themes for somatic exploration include:
– The Power of Ritual: Conscious actions of the sacred.
– The Amniotic Waters: The landscape of gestation.
– Dreamtime as a conscious setting of intent.
– Our Breath: A spiraling pathway.
– Portals: Landscapes of release and replenishment.
– Ancestors: Listening to the wisdom and healing of lineage.
Here’s what Donna, a teacher in Maui had to say: “I am so grateful to have worked with Caroline in both an individual and group setting. Her compassionate, skilled guidance has allowed me to explore and embrace my creative, interior self and to find stillness during times of personal changes. I am impressed by the subtlety of her work and so appreciate her knowledge, intuition, and kindness.”
Stephanie, a psychologist from Seattle is equally impressed: “Caroline created a seamlessly supportive environment for me to explore deeply instinctual movements and stories. The experiences that emerged, non-verbal and powerful, were like a medicine, a sort of truth serum, and are still a balm for my body and spirit many months later. Thank you, Caroline!”
She also offers custom designed individual retreats on Maui that include somatic movement therapy, expressive arts, creative coaching, meditations, ancestral healing through family constellations, energy work, swimming with sea turtles, and ceremonies on ancient Hawaiian sites. These one-to-five day retreats are a great opportunity for people who are experiencing life transitions to pause, listen to their inner voice, and figure out their next steps – all while surrounded by the magical island of Maui.
About Earth – Felt – Dance, Caroline says: “Since ancient times and through all lineages the connection with the land has been a deep internal resource for our soul, body, mind, and spirit. At this gathering, we will deepen our artistry to commune with our own body, the body of the other, as well as the bigger body of the earth and those who have walked before us. ”
Make plans now to be in Maui next month and reserve your spot at the Earth – Felt – Dance Conference today. We’re happy and grateful to have such great pioneers and innovators as part of the global Conscious Dancer community, and highly recommend this event and Caroline’s offerings to our readers!
Earth – Felt – Dance Conference – Portals to the Landscape of the Body with Caroline Kleindienst, Narelle Carter-Quinlan & more
Feb 22-24, Somatic Healing Arts, Haiku, Maui, Hawaii
Learn more about Caroline Kleindienst and Somatic Healing Arts