“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.“
~ Alphonse Karr
How do you gauge your progress? What lets you know you’ve reached a milestone in life? Why is it that perspective can be so valuable and yet elusive at the same time?
Remember when you were a kid and there was probably a door frame or wall somewhere in your house where your parents occasionally charted your growth? It seems like a universal ritual to stand there as straight as possible, (no tiptoes!) while someone held a ruler on the top of your head and marked the wall behind you with your current height.
As we mature and go through life, few tracking systems are as simple and literal as that. Report cards, athletic records, or career performance reviews are all ways that society provides yardsticks to measure our progress. Without reference points, we’re adrift.
External systems can be easier, at least they have the advantage of already being in place for you. When something is required for advancement, it’s hard to avoid. Internally keeping track of your growth and progress can be a little trickier, there’s no hard and fast way to do it.
Some people keep journals, others use a calendar to mark the milestones. Back when families sent out real paper holiday cards, it was common to receive lists of the big news and highlights that had happened to your friends and relatives over the previous year.
But oftentimes it’s a totally random or unexpected occurrence that pulls you up short and reminds you of where you are, how far you’ve come, and which way you’re headed. Seeing yourself in a different light or through another’s eyes from time to time can be most illuminating!
Some of you may remember this newsletter from way back in the prehistoric days before the launch of the Dance First Association in 2012. Back then it was just the Conscious Dancer newsletter, and it came out somewhat randomly about once a month.
Like so many other utterly forgettable emails you probably receive, it was an impersonal note followed by what was basically a bunch of ads. They were purchased on an ad-hoc basis and put together in the newsletter through a rather imperfect tracking system.
In those days I came to dread sending out our e-blast. Prior to each edition, I would be besieged by beseeching favor-seekers begging to have their event included, (at no cost, of course). Haggling would ensue and perhaps some spurious bargain would be agreed to where we would receive some dubious co-promotion benefits in exchange for publicity on our sought-after platform.
Then, after all the wrangling was over and it was finally time to press ’send’ I would hunker down and wait for the inevitable blow-back. More often than not there would be some detail missing, some date in error, or worst of all, a paid-for placement missed entirely. It became a grim ritual to watch my mailbox with a sense of foreboding wondering which ball had been dropped.
Within hours of sending, I would receive an angry note from some client or favor-seeker whining that “You forgot my workshop!” or “Didn’t you get my voicemail? We moved the date up a week!” If the screw-up was egregious enough it meant sending out a correction email the next day, no fun to say the least.
Suffice it to say this sorry system was not sustainable. I was racking my brain to find some way to re-invent the newsletter so it would be easy, rewarding, and fun. So when I shifted the business model from an ad-driven-editorial-
Instead of fewer emails I would send more! Weekly instead of monthly, and always on the same day! And instead of a dry paragraph of platitudes, I would draft a direct and personal blog-style post to open the newsletter and do a spotlight write-up on one of our Dance First members each week.
What to call this new and improved newsletter? Well, one day I was going through an old pile of clothes and ran across a t-shirt given to me by a rave-era DJ friend, Milton “Moonpup” Cecil. He was the former host of a legendary L.A. after-hours event in the early ’90s called “Sunday Love” before he moved to San Francisco and gave me the tee.
Eureka! That’s when it hit me and the rest is history. Monday Love has been hitting inboxes for going on seven years now and my weekly writing ritual is more fun than ever as I pass the 350th edition. Telling you a story and sending a love letter to our members along with a big list of links has proven to be a real blast, and I don’t miss sitting behind “the desk of a thousand favors” in the least.
So when Isabelle and I were exploring the eclectic environs of The Edwardian Ball last Saturday night I was delighted to run into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years, the effervescent artist Sun Kat, in the center of the photo above.
What blew me away and sparked the theme of this week’s note was when she said “ You’re a great writer! I’ve been reading your Monday Loves since the very beginning!” Kudos like that goes a long way and was a reminder that some of you readers have been with me since the start which is a huge honor.
It was one of those revealing random encounters that put into perspective the weekly work I do. It’s only when feedback from left field takes me by surprise that I double down on my efforts and determine to do better than ever.
If you’re like me, there have been times when you’ve wanted to throw in the towel and wash your hands of whatever work you’re up to. But if it’s really worth it in the long run, someone comes along with a kind comment and puts some metaphysical gas in your tank to keep you going.
Keep your eyes open for affirming moments like these. You’ve probably stopped putting marks on the wall many years ago so when someone comes along and makes the case for your value, pay attention and let your gratitude be your guide!
With Love on a Monday as always,
See you next week!
Dance First Member Spotlight – Dr. Birgitte Tan!
This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on Dance Away Sadness creator Dr. Birgitte Tan! She’s a certified Life Mastery Consultant dedicated to helping people overcome challenges in life through a dynamic movement system of her own design.
Bringing her background as a Veterinary Oncologist to her work as a Transformational Life & Grief Recovery Coach, she has a unique background and perspective in her offerings designed to help you “move beyond your grief.”
After discovering freestyle, expressive dancing back in 2012 when she was going through a rough period in her life. “I started to think that this type of dancing could be very helpful to many of us during our difficult time, when we are losing something very dear to our heart, when we are losing a loved one.”
Since then she has kept up a passion for the practice and dedicated herself to helping others. “I know this free-style dancing can really help us when we are going through a tough time, just as I have been benefited from it consistently. With that in mind, I developed the Dance Away Sadness program, in hope of helping you lighten the weights in your hearts and soothe your pain.”
She’s also the best-selling author of “ Seeking Peace – The Proven 5-Fingers Method to Thrive Through Change Effortlessly” and “The 40/40 Rules – Wisdom from 40 Women over 40” Volumes I & II.
Her motto is “From Grieving to Joyful Living” and you’ll find much more information about her one-on-one personal offerings and Dance Away Sadness offerings on her website. She has a dramatic personal story that reveals a lot about why she is so passionate and well-suited for her work.
On her website she shares free meditations, Dance Away Sadness videos, and a collection of expert interviews. She also offers a 30-minute free consultation that is well worth your time. Thanks for being a member of Dance First Birgitte, we really appreciate you and your work!