Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

~ Winston Churchill

What are the cycles in your life? How do you mark the time as it passes? Why are transitions and milestones so important?

You’ve surely heard the expression, ‘what goes around, comes around’. Or that ‘history repeats itself’. There are any number of ways to recognize the cyclical nature of life, starting with the basic fact that the sun always rises.

We live on a big spinning ball that’s floating in space. We’ve got our own spinning ball called the moon that orbits around us, just as we orbit around a much bigger, and much hotter ball, the sun.

From the moment you are born to the moment you pass, your soul, your spirit, your consciousness inhabits a body that is attuned to cycles of the universe. Indeed, circles are a misnomer. Spirals is a more accurate term.

Fun fact: Did you know that our solar system is hurtling through the galaxy at roughly 515,000 miles per hour? Since Earth is in orbit around the sun as it hurtles through space, it’s spiral path forms a wave pattern when viewed from the side.

Here’s the cosmic coincidence. The angle and geometry of that wavelength is almost an exact match for the spiral shape of our DNA. So when you hear someone say that we are all ’children of the universe’ it’s not just new-age hype.

My old friend Terence McKenna liked to quote J.S. Haldane who said something to the effect of “Things are not stranger than we suppose. They’re stranger than we CAN suppose.” When it comes to the cosmic mysteries of existence, it’s safe to bet we don’t have all the answers.

Having ridden a few downward spirals in my earlier years and a few upward ones since, one thing has become clear to me based upon my own experience. When it comes to consciousness, raising it beats lowering it every time. And if you get stuck in a rut, spinning around in circles is no place to be.

The tricky thing about life is that sometimes we have to fall down a notch or two before we realize that further up is where we need to go.

The thing about wisdom is that it’s cumulative. You’re the sum total of your past experiences and yet you live in the eternal now. The lessons you’ve yet to learn loom just over the horizon of your potentiality.

The choices you make moving forward are based on your successes and failures in the past. Just as a toddler learns about a hot stove the hard way, you correct your course by steering away from the hard knocks behind you.

As Einstein so famously said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.” The only way to get your spiral to rise is to have the courage to make new choices along the way.

How can you gauge whether or not things in your life are moving in the right direction? With physical milestones and natural markers that give you reference points to rely on. Things you can observe on their own cycles that let you know where you are on yours.

Case in point: cactus. For many years I’ve had an affinity for growing and propagating San Pedro cactus, (Trichocereus Pachanoi ). These tall, stately, practically spineless cacti are considered sacred with a long history of use in Andean traditional medicine.

Each year they grow at least a foot or more. The ones I planted years ago on the sunny side of my house are now approaching the eaves of the roof, eight or nine feet above the ground. But it’s the show they put on early each summer that’s the real spectacle.

A couple of weeks ago we noticed that the fuzzy buds at the top were beginning to elongate. As the June Full Moon approached they sped up to almost an inch per day until literally overnight the giant white flowers burst out for their annual moment of glory.

The moon appears full for no more than three nights, and in that space of time, the flowers of the San Pedro come and go. It’s a spectacular moment that brings back memories of where I was in life at the same time in years past.

Milestones come in many shapes and sizes. Some are physical, some are ephemeral, and some are metaphorical. They’re metaphysical yardsticks that help you compare yourself to the one person in the world that matters most: you — at a different stage in your development.

2020 is a year we won’t soon forget. It feels like a lifetime’s worth of once-in-a-lifetime events are all happening at once. We’ll be lucky if we don’t have another year like this anytime soon. But we’ll learn from it, and spiral up if we embody the lessons that our markers teach us.

Making the most of your milestones with you till next Monday…

Much love and take care.

M+

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

Dance First Member Insight – Toni Bergins & JourneyDance

This week’s Dance First Member Insight is brought to you by Toni Berginsfounder of  JourneyDance. Dance First members are sharing their insights and inspirations during this troubled time, as well as how they are coping. Plus links to live streams and online offerings for you.

Dear Dancing Community, 

I’m Toni Bergins, Founder of JourneyDance™ an Embodied Transformations Method. It is my great honor and pleasure to write to you. If you are reading the wonderful Monday Love newsletter, you are a dancer, a seeker, a game-changer, an embodied, deeply feeling being, an advocate for change. You are probably feeling a multitude of emotions and are deeply questioning and reevaluating what matters to you.

I know many people are struggling to make sense of this intense time. But, we also know it is a necessary excavation of what so desperately needs to be transformed. So we will learn, dig deeper, and become more of who we need to be right now. We will listen and commit to becoming resilient for the long haul required to create systemic change. I know you will because Conscious Dancers do that!!

In this time of living into truths, I want to share 5 truths that this double pandemic is bringing to light for me:

#1 We ALL need to be seen.
Acknowledging our interdependence is the only way forward. Interdependence is much harder than independence because it requires a level of vulnerability and presence. We need to admit that we NEED each other. We are meant to be interdependent – to see each other, confirm, validate, love and value each other’s existence. When we share ourselves with another, we can feel the power of being seen and witnessed, and it touches us deeply.

#2 We need to be touched.
We know from studies that touch is essential to a healthy nervous system. Body to body. Skin to skin. We are made with beautiful skins and sensory bodies so we can touch and be touched, and give and receive love through a physical connection. For those of you who are alone right now, give yourself a comforting touch. Science has proven that the skin cannot distinguish between your own touch and the touch of another. If you have a partner with you or a friend with whom you feel you can have safe contact, take a few moments each day to hug, get close and feel their heartbeat. Here’s a short video on the importance of embodiment.

#3 It’s okay to be RAW.
We don’t know the future. It’s scary and challenging. But we can build a foundation of inner strength by expanding our bandwidth and embracing this emotional flow. Whether you are feeling intensely or are totally numbed out, there’s nothing to be ashamed of! If you need to numb out for a bit and not feel, that is okay. Don’t judge yourself for that. And if you are wildly expressive, LET IT OUT (in a sacred container)!! We’ve got to feel it to transform it, with compassion and empathy. You must not judge yourself as either being “over-emotional” or shut down. It’s RAW right now, and whatever you are feeling is okay….

#4 It’s okay to SLOW down.
Before this epic pause, I would fill my days with activities, appointments, coaching, teaching, work and family – pushing myself to the limit. Slowing down, I can reflect deeply. I’m more open, more available in service, presence, listening, mothering, relationship and in my teaching. I’m making myself a promise that I hope you can make to yourself. I will not go back to my old ways. Instead, I will invest my energy with careful discernment. I will put my time, love, care, concern, consideration, and passion into the next right action. Slowing down allows us to feel, reevaluate, excavate and deconstruct our own conditioning…

#5 Spiritual Bypass isn’t working anymore!
“Spiritual bypass” happens quickly when we live off productivity, achievement and beautiful Instagram-curated lives. Underneath our incredibly amazing functional selves are our wounded inner children. When big feelings sneak up on us, we are terrified. At some point, we have to put a stop to the spiritual bypass. This is done through the art of meditation, yoga, and conscious dance. Through movement, we go into a state of spaciousness and mental pause, which allows feeling to come up to be healed…

You can read more about these 5 truths here: http://journeydance.com/service/blog

As I’ve learned each of these lessons, it’s become crystal clear to me that true