The best kind of happiness is a habit you’re passionate about.

 ~Shannon Alder

Do you ever think about your routines? Are you a creature of habit? Are some of your patterns predictable?

The thing about habits is that they come very naturally. It’s our nature as human beings to be able to navigate this complicated world by making as many things autopilot as possible.

If you had to put conscious attention on every single activity that you need to accomplish throughout your life, you’d probably go crazy. Your body is designed with an autonomous system that keeps your heart beating and your breath flowing regardless of what’s going on between your ears.

If you take stock of every repetitive action that you perform throughout your day, you’ll see that some of them serve you well and set you up for success, while others might be routines that were put upon you or adopted by default.

What you might notice is that whenever there’s a ‘pattern interrupt’ in your life, unconscious routines are suddenly thrust into full view. There’s nothing like coming down with a cold to reveal an unhealthy part of your diet.

Holidays and travel can have a similar effect. When you become a fish out of water your system can go topsy-turvy and leave you adrift and out-of-sorts. A common affliction among conscious dancers is what we call post-workshop-crash, when shortly after experiencing the rarified air of an enlightened leader, folks return to their daily lives only to dip to new lows.

I have great respect for many of our Dance First members who are globe-trotting workshop leaders. It takes a lot of strength and self-discipline to maintain personal equanimity in different environments on a regular basis.

Personally, I like to examine my habits in the sprit of a scientist. Sometimes I will notice that something has changed with no conscious attention on my part, other times I focus my attention and intention on shifting something on purpose. When there’s something I want to improve, I start with a tiny shift and build on it.

Recently my 4th grade daughter’s routine reversed, so that now she’s with me during the school week and it’s on me to make the mornings flow and get out of the door on time. Routine is essential 24 hours a day. Easy mornings start with getting to bed on time the night before. In bed reading with teeth brushed and jammies on by eight, lights out at 8:30 sharp!

My dad is even more set in his ways. As he approaches his 91st birthday, I like to think of him as a human metronome, ticking along at a steady pace where no news is good news. His retirement center serves dinner at 4 o’clock sharp, so I know that if I ring him around3:30 he’ll be up and ready with his hearing aid handy so we can chat.

As for me, I realized some months ago that I was missing getting my hands dirty and making things. After nearly a decade of running an online publishing business that sees me spending many an hour behind a computer screen, I allowed myself to listen to the little nagging voice inside that was telling me to get back into the workshop.

So while I have little desire to go back to my former career doing high-end metalwork as a profession, the creativity of the craft and the aroma of melting metal have lured me into the studio once more. Somewhat inspired by Bob Dylan, who welds gates for his friends in his spare time, I signed up for a CREATE pass at The Crucible, (the industrial arts school in Oakland where I was once on faculty), and I’ve been making a habit of some fabrication meditation two or three times a week.

Your ninja move when it comes to habits is to simply “notice what you are noticing.” Your life thrives on a set of structures that you can rely on, and only by noticing when some unhealthy or unhelpful activity starts to become stuck in a rut can you make an upshift for the better.

Have some fun with it this holiday season! Look at your life like a dance that is trying out new steps and create some intentional pattern interrupts just to see if you can settle back into a better groove. By shaking things up gently and on purpose, you get ahead of the curve balls that life will inevitably throw at you.

Have a great week! I’ll see you next Monday for more Love!


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

Dance First Member Spotlight – Hannah Romanowsky and her Scheherazade School of Sacred Movement!

This week’s Dance First member spotlight shines on Hannah Romanowsky and her Scheherazade School of Sacred Movement! Dedicated to “Reawakening your Feminine through Embodied Art and Ritual” she offers a range of classes and workshops designed to deepen and expand your life and practice.

Hannah is a life-long dancer and graduate of the California Institute of Integral Studies who has devoted over 20 years to the research, practice, and performance of women’s dances from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.

A true believer and gifted translator of the transformative power of the spiritual landscapes and healing practices rooted in ancient culture, her dynamic offerings are an entry point to a journey of higher consciousness through embodiment.

Be sure to visit her website to experience “Scheherazade’s Journey Deep within the Feminine Soul,“ a guided entrée into her work.

Based here in the San Francisco Bay Area, her offerings include Private Mentoring, Weekly Dance Classes, and Professional Trainings.

She also offers remote online experiential courses and is available to bring specialized offerings to your program or event such as “Shake, Spin, Sway: An Experiential Weekend of Women’s Ecstatic Dance Ritual” or “Flame of the Heart: An Evening of Mystical Dance Ritual

Here’s what recent participant Anne B. had to say about a workshop: “Hannah radiates an inner joy, a celebration of the divine, that glows and grows inside her audience. Dancing with Hannah, one finds herself channeled into the timeless essence of feminine grace, connecting to all women past and present, freeing us to express our true innate beauty

Thanks for all your great work and inspiring presence in the field Hannah! We’re delighted to support you with the services of Dance First and wish you all the best with your continued endeavors!

Check our Hannah’s website and the Scheherazade School of Sacred Movement.

Upcoming Opportunities to experience Hannah in action!

Rest in the Arms of the Mother, hosted by Seven Sisters Mystery School
Dec 20, Rudramandir, Berkeley, CA

Prohibition – A Winter Gala
Dec 23, Siren’s Studio, Sebastopol, CA

Shake, Spin, & Sway – Half-day Workshop
Jan 21, Body Vibe Studio, San Rafael, CA