"Life is the soul playing through the instrument of the body"

~ Laura Cirolia

What’s your definition of play? What’s it feel like to be ‘in the flow’? Why does our relationship with play change over time?

Play is one of those odd concepts that shifts it’s meaning according to our perspective at any given moment. In our early years, before we’re encumbered with knowledge of the world and grown-up responsibilities, it’s our natural way-of-being. Until adolescence, when the hormones start kicking in, it’s our default mode.

Your personal circumstances obviously play a huge role in what sort of a person you become. Some folks bask in sunny scenarios while others face tremendous stress and adversity. It’s all too easy to make inaccurate assumptions about another person’s worldview based on your own upbringing. We really just never know.

The situations that surround us as we mature form the background of our nature, and if we’re able to transcend the easy route of taking them personally and instead allow them to positively shape our consciousness, we can get over ourselves’ so to speak and become fully actualized human beings.

We’ve all met that person who blames their current hardships on some long ago drama or troubled family relationship while at the same time the world has ample examples of people who have set aside shockingly dire stories of woe to become great leaders, heroes, and artists.

It’s our stories that provide the colors on our palette of life, yet it’s our relationship with them that determines what sort of living art we will become. And the idea of play is a great metaphor to use in the great game of consciousness.

If you’ve ever realized that you were taking yourself too seriously, you’ve got some inkling of where that leads. Conversely, if you’ve ever had the experience of lightening up and forgiving yourself by being more playful with your self-awareness, you know what I mean. People who can laugh at themselves are generally easy to get along with.

It’s something we typically like to see in our leaders, whether we agree with their policies or not. When the Smothers Brothers lampooned President Johnson on their TV show in 1968, he replied with an open letter stating: “It is part of the price of leadership of this free and great nation to be the target of clever satirists. You have given the gift of laughter to our people. May we never grow so somber or self important that we fail to appreciate the humor in our lives. ”

For me, play can take any number of forms. I’m very thankful to be blessed with the parenting experience, which has gifted me with untold hours of fun with ball or board games, jigsaw puzzles, and all sorts of fooling around with my soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter Geneva. Having missed most of the early years with my older daughter Isabelle who grew up in New Zealand with her mom I’m doubly appreciative of the chance I have now.

I spent the past few days playing in the snow near Lake Tahoe with Teresa, family, and friends. Having grown up practically on skis in Western Colorado not too far from Snowmass, Crested Butte, and Telluride, getting back on the slopes after a multi-decade break is very much of a ‘riding-a-bike’ experience. Aside from some creaky joints due to high mileage, playing on skis in fresh deep powder is as fun as ever.

My parents used to have this little ceramic tray that was inscribed with the words “There’s no fun like work.” Growing up, I thought this was sort of crazy, but now I totally get it. So much of the work I do is ‘play’ and when I’m deep in the flow of doing it, it’s tons of fun. I love to write, so this newsletter and my other writing projects are very enjoyable. When I’m playing records every Friday night in Berkeley at Dance Jam it’s pure pleasure.

So finding what it is that gets you in the flow is is truly one of the keys to playing big at the game of life. Because being in the flow is by definition, the essence of being present and living in the moment. Last week we attended a rare Reset Meditation workshop led byLaura Cirolia, and she made some really interesting points in the discussion afterwards.

There’s a difference between actually listening to your body versus reacting based on the context of past trauma. Being present in stressful situations depends on you knowing how you feel in the moment. And since your soul depends on your senses in order to properly play the instrument of your body, the more you can sharpen and tune them, the better your soul can inspire, motivate, and express your true nature.

So this week, notice when you feel like you’re in the flow, ask yourself how does that relate to your concept of play, and ponder how the crossover between the two can help you be more present. Your soul will thank you when you take your body out to play!

Much love until next Monday!

M+

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

Dance First Member Spotlight :: Soul Kitchen Dance founder Rachel Philippe & the Women's Spring Fling Retreat!

This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on Rachel Philippe, long-time member of the Conscious Dancer community. She’s based in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she’s been doing her part to keep the somatic fires burning with her weekly gathering,Soul Kitchen Dance.

Starting out with one event each week, Soul Kitchen Dance now happens for the entire community on Sunday and Wednesday mornings, and is now offering a Friday morning Ladies Lab as well. “This is music and movement to nourish the soul –  spiritual food. Inside of safe space we foster authentic movement and shared vulnerability to sate the soul’s hungers for freedom, expression, release and connectivity. ”

Here’s one of the many inspiring testimonials you can read on the Soul Kitchen website. “Fully embodying your authentic expression of self through freestyle dancing to great music with a supportive dynamic community … This dance has been a great physical way for me to shake off all that does not resonate with me. I always leave feeling vibrant and light.” ~ Jessica A.

Coming up in May, you’ve got a great opportunity to visit the Rocky Mountains and join Rachel and the Soul Kitchen community for theWomen’s Spring Fling Retreat happening at the Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado May 3rd through 5th. Enjoy movement and music led and curated by Rachel, plus a New Moon Circle and a dynamic Fire Ceremony led by co-facilitator Nadine Flowers.

Nadine is a Clinical Psychologist, Eco-therapist, and creator of WildWoman LA. “A wild woman at heart, Nadine passionately partners with nature as healer — integrating principles and practices from eco therapy, adventure therapy and wilderness therapy — to engage connection, enhance vitality, cultivate gratitude and meaning, and render people feeling enlivened, resourced and resilient.

Check out the Soul Kitchen Dance website where you can find not only more info about their dance community and events, but also their music streaming subscription service and playlists!

Thanks so much Rachel! We really appreciate all the hard work you’ve put in developing the Fort Collins dancing community! We’re so happy and grateful to count you as Dance First members and support your great work in the conscious dance world!

Soul Kitchen Dance :: Women’s Spring Fling Retreat
May 3 – 5, Sunrise Ranch, Loveland, CO