Reality denied comes back to haunt.

~ Philip K. Dick

Have you ever felt like you were witnessing history in the making? Were some of your ancestors caught up in the whirlwind of cataclysmic events? How will your response to today’s turmoil shape the lives of future generations?

Now is a time when the phrase “We’re all in this together” really rings true. Whether you’re a health care professional on the front lines in an urban hospital or a remote farmer tucked away deep in the country, there’s no doubt that COVID-19 has upended your reality in one way or another.

The ‘new normal’ is anything but, and we’re shaping it up as we go along. We’d be wise to assume that life isn’t going to be the same as it was just a couple of short months ago anytime soon. Now is a good time to peek into the pages of history and see how our remarkably resilient and ever-adaptable species navigated previous problems of this scale.

I recently ran across the wise words of an elder in his 90s who survived traumatic times. The first thing he advised was to realize and accept the fact that ‘the game has permanently changed’. Existing ‘things’ will disappear, and many will not come back. But new ‘things’ will appear, so be ready and willing to take advantage of them.

He said it’s crucial to ‘keep your confidence up’. Life is not over just because it has changed. You need to keep an open mind and do what it takes to survive and prosper. It may require some seemingly drastic act like moving or suddenly switching careers.

Above all, he said, ‘do not wait for some other person, (i.e. politicians) to decide your fate’. Make your own decisions based on what is best for you and your family. Coming from someone who survived the Great Depression, WW-II, the Flu Pandemic of 1964 and more, these words ring true.

Now is the time to be nimble, in both your thoughts and actions. You may be ‘socially distant’ and currently ‘sheltering-in-place’ but your plans, attitudes, expectations, and assumptions are all on the table for a serious re-evaluation. My hunch is that this is going to take a lot longer to unravel than it did to descend.

Prior to this pandemic, I had occasionally pondered how I would deal with some of the disasters in our world today and not-so-distant past and how wrenching some of the choices people make have to be. What was the breaking point for families in Germany around 1939? How does a Kurd in Syria feel today? How would it feel to walk away from everything you own with nothing more than your loved one’s hands in yours?

Some historical events are pleasant, inspiring, enlightening even. Others, not so much. Huge shifts in culture or consciousness are part and parcel to human evolution. You have no doubt been either in the thick of it or witness to some of the seismic shifts that have shaped our society in recent years.

A friend was discussing some of the highlights from our respective lives and pointed out that I’ve had a front-row seat to some big moments that brought us to where we are today.

Lighting the fuse on the fire arts movement that led to Burning Man as a member of the Survival Research Laboratories team in the late ‘80s. Carrying the torch for the psychedelic movement along with my dearly departed friends Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna in the ‘90s. Coining the term ‘Conscious Dance’ with the publication of our magazine in 2007. Currently exploring the idea of ‘Analog Awareness’ as I write about the health and wellness aspects of vinyl records.

Most recently I’ve been grateful to see my work as an artist reach new heights. In spite of the lockdown here in the Bay Area, my sculpture project for the City of San Francisco was covered under an ‘essential services waiver’ and I was allowed to see it through to completion — we installed it last Friday. That’s me in the photo above with the stainless steel and flame-carved iron arch I designed for the entry to the newly revamped Sgt. John MacCauley mini-park at Larkin and O’Farrell.

My plan is to keep creating, keep inspiring, and keep being in service to the many overlapping communities I’m part of. COVID-19 is a marker on our collective timelines we won’t soon forget, but unless I’m struck down in my tracks I’ve got my eye on the future and a lot more to give up my sleeve.

At every turning point in your life, you have a choice. It’s perfectly normal to feel fear and run away from the fire blazing behind you, but love is the True North to keep on your compass as you decide which way to go. This drama is exposing people’s true colors like nothing else in recent history, so your choice to take the high road and act with dignity, love, and respect will mean a lot later on.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones around you, and offer support and service where you can. We’re all holding up our little piece of the net, and together we will see it through.

Much love till next week, stay safe and be well.

M+

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

Dance First Member Insight -Coping with Covid with Sofiah Thom

This week’s Dance First Member Insight  is brought to you by Temple Body Arts leader Sofiah Thom. 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 Conscious Dancer Tribe,

It has been such a joy to see so many facilitators pivot and take their work online! Everyone has truly pitched in to help continue to ripple your love for dance.

In these challenging times, we are certainly learning a new dance: the dance of constant surrender and trust in the unknown. I am grateful for my deep spiritual practice and, like Bamboo, my ability to tackle adversity.

I live in Costa Rica as the Creative Director and Co-founder of Danyasa Eco-Retreat. With the extent of COVID-19, we had to close our retreat with very little warning. I had just been getting ready to welcome my Temple Body Arts year-long students for their Spring Equinox Initiation! But as we know, plans change, and creativity is needed now more than ever. Instead of leading our Spring Equinox Initiation in Costa Rica, I am guiding a Temple Body Dance Journey via FB LIVE to our group!

I have been sharing my work online in some capacity now for 7 years. I had to learn how to get my message out to the world and how to reach more people before our retreat center, and I was well known.

And I am so grateful for all the experience I have gained over the years! There is power in sharing a transmission over video via sacred technology!

As I watch the old systems die, I recognize the gift of this pause and the broader global shift that comes with it. I believe we are being asked to slow down and listen to how we can show up for ourselves, our families and our communities right now. Its time to birth the new paradigm!

As I have been listening and asking, “How can I be of service at this time?” I received a clear vision of showing up. This has led me to develop and facilitate a virtual 21-day journey to encourage women to align and awaken their infinite potential.

Conscious dancers, now is our time to dance the world awake in a new way. Now is our chance to do things differently — because we have to! We must remember why we are here and make space for what lights us up and turns us on!

I feel more inspired than ever to share my gifts online and to support women in recognizing their creative potential.

Sisters, I would love for you to join me on this 21-Day Temple Body Tune-In Journey, beginning on April 16th.

Right now, I am offering this for only $21! The price will b