““If you’re not the hero of your own novel, then what kind of novel is it?”

 ~Terence McKenna

What would you call your metaphysical gas in your tank? What’s the real motivator that keeps you in motion? Where do you find meaning in your daily life?

Most of us can easily point to immediate and tangible results that keep us pushing forward. A paycheck, a larger business, another degree. We have houses to pay for, kids to keep in school, elderly parents to take care of.

What happens when you peel the onion a little further, and get down to the layers that have to do with why we choose to do what we do? Chances are there’s some sort of desire to serve a higher purpose or dream that helps you set your course in life.

And beneath that dream lies a feeling. If you take a good look at the people around you who are really on track and highly motivated you might notice a common desire to serve. There’s a spark of contribution lighting the fire under the greatest people, and what keeps that fire burning is the feeling of making a difference.

Now, it’s obvious that not everyone in the world is driven by some altruistic desire to help their fellow beings and make the world a better place. In fact, the news is filled with people who express the most venal desires and actually make other people miserable in their short-sighted sprint towards material gains or the hollow pleasures of power.

For contributors like me, (and probably you, if you’re on this mailing list!), it’s hard to even imagine what goes on in the low-vibration minds of these people who seek to diminish and destroy. One thing is certain, karma is never kind to those who harm, and peace will elude them in the end.

Thankfully, there seems to be many more of us intent on spiraling upwards through the levels of consciousness, inspiring and enlightening those around us with a message of meaning and a vibe of positivity.

If you’re a teacher, it’s more than the act of teaching, it’s the feeling you get when you see someone finally have an ‘aha’ moment. If you’re a caregiver, it’s the feeling inside when your charge relaxes in the light of relief. If you work in an animal rescue shelter, it’s the feeling of seeing a discarded doggy adopted that gets you up in the morning.

Good realtors don’t just sell houses, they bring families the feeling of home. An investment advisor worth their salt doesn’t just make you more money, they ensure the feeling of security in your later years. An honest politician worth supporting gives you the feeling of confidence in the future of your community.

For me, I take great pleasure in helping our Dance First membersunderstand the arcane and ever-changing world of audience-building and promotions. Most movement professionals have vast knowledge about somatic and the human body, and little insight into building a practice and marketing their work in the digital age.

Once in a while I’m fortunate enough to meet with a member in person. That’s me above with new member Adriana Marchione last week in San Francisco. She’s a Tamalpa-trained Registered Expressive Arts Therapist and Registered Somatic Movement Therapist/Educator who courageously helps people face issues like grief and recovery through her one-on-one sessions, group work, and documentary film projects.

Watching her feelings of overwhelm evaporate as I helped her develop a virtual assistant strategy was a delightful feeling for me too. It’s like that when I DJ, write, do metalwork, or even hang out with my family. By tapping into the feelings my creative energy brings forth in other people, I’m motivated to keep going!

So if you’re searching for a path with heart, (or advising someone who’s trying to find direction), fish around in the well of good feelings to find a clue. It’s the counter-intuitive method of choosing a career, but when you start with the feelings that bring you the most joy and work backwards to the what and how of making them happen, you’ll discover the magic of meaning and guarantee yourself a life of ever-expanding energy.

The fuel of contribution is the key to success. The value cycle starts by creating and conveying your gift or talent to the world. The secret to your own health and sustainability is to respectfully capture your fair share so that you can prosper, be secure, and continue to make meaning. Let feelings be your litmus test to guide you on your way!

Much love and high holiday vibes till next week!


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

Dance First Member Spotlight – Movement Medicine’s Ya’Acov Darling Khan!

This week’s Dance First member spotlight shines on one of the conscious dance world’s most energetic leaders, Ya’acov Darling Khan, co-founder of the School of Movement Medicine along with his wife and teaching partner Susannah.

Based in the UK, with an itinerary that spans the globe, Ya’Acov and Susannah are a dynamic duo that have earned their place among the foremost leaders in the field. Early compatriots of 5Rhythms founderGabrielle Roth, these fellow travelers blazed their own trail to develop a unique methodology that continues to evolve around the world.

Grounding their roots in shamanism with annual sojourns to the Amazon, and offering traditional Long Dance experiences back in England, they continue to connect and collaborate with indigenous cultures to inform their work spanning three decades into the heart of embodiment.

Listen to my interviews (part one and two) with Ya’Acov on theConscious Dancer podcast to hear his amazing story firsthand, and to gain a deeper understanding of the philosophy and background of Movement Medicine.

Today’s spotlight celebrates a new milestone for Ya’Acov, Susannah, and Movement Medicine, the publishing and global launch of the new book “Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart: The Real-life Initiation of an Everyday Shaman

Published with the backing of heavy-hitters Hay House, this 292 page volume dives deep into Ya’Acov’s backstory and autobiography revealing the turning points and transitions on his life of teaching and transformation. The story of a Western seeker discovering the core message of shamanism — that all things are connected — is particularly relevant today.

You can visit Movement Medicine’s Dance First Member Profile Pageto find all of the retreats, teacher trainings, and immersions offered around the world, and for those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, you opportunity to attend a Movement Medicine workshop is coming soon!

21 Gratitudes is happening January 26-28 in San Francisco. Experience the Movement Medicine Mandala and explore the 21 Gateways to radical inclusion. This is a deep, weekend-long immersion into the core of the Movement Medicine practice.

Reserve your spot soon as space is limited for this rare Bay Area appearance. And prepare yourself by ordering your copy of “Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart” today!