What is this ‘reverence for life?


What do you revere? Have you ever thought about what the word ‘reverence’ means? Is there some place in your life where your passions and beliefs overlap that transport you to another level?

In the shifting sands of the modern world, questions of the sacred and profane take on new meaning. On one hand, we’re busy creating a rapidly transforming technological landscape where the very idea of intelligence and consciousness is being called into question. On the other, we remain rooted to the earth, as living breathing mammals, all part of an ancient lineage going back far further than anyone’s family tree.

In the USA today, ‘non-religious’ is the single largest religious identification among younger people. People are redefining reverence for themselves in droves, and finding true north on your modern compass of consciousness is more up to you than ever.

For some folks, the discoveries of science negate the value of faith, and long-held legends are reframed as metaphor in the traditional teachings. For others, science itself is just another belief system to be scoffed at and debunked by dogma.

When you grow up in an atmosphere of infinite choice, it must be hard to settle on one path in the smorgasbord of spirituality. In earlier times, we simply adopted the beliefs of our ancestors and acted accordingly.

And while us grown-ups can settle into a path of passion that brings solace to our soul, (think music, meditation, yoga, or conscious dance), these ineffable arts aren’t as easy to impart upon the next generation as a well-defined dogma.

Perhaps the answer lies in modeling a more healthy spirit of inquiry. If the example we set is one of moving towards love and turning away from fear, then it’s only natural that the beliefs developed along that path will be more in line with the generative aspects of human nature. Love leads to good, while fear discovers disaster.

As we tumble into the holiday season, it’s important to reveal our reverence in positive ways. In the context of crass commercialism, our passions can shine a light of spirit on everyone around us.

To me, it seems that when passion and belief align in a positive way, reverence is the natural by-product. This past weekend found me in two different situations where I witnessed this phenomenon in full flower.

First was the Saturday night performance by the Australian singer/songwriter/comedian Tim Minchin at the Masonic Theater in San Francisco. My gal Teresa had the tickets, and I kept myself entirely in the dark about it to maintain the element of surprise. In other words, I had no idea what was in store for me.

To my great delight, I found myself spellbound by this long-haired elfin piano-man who talked and sang and tickled the keys non-stop in a stream-of-consciousness patter of musical hilarity unlike anyone I’d ever seen. Apparently he’s something of a legend in some circles, as evinced by his ability to sell out thousands of seats for a one-night appearance.

Through it all I marveled on his honesty and transparency, and the way in which his passion for performing translated into a love-filled and uplifting experience for everyone. It was both touching and tender in a reckless and rollicking way that I could have never predicted. By letting his reverence run wild, he creates a magnetism that will surround him with magic to the end of his days.

Then on Sunday, it was time for The Dickens Fair once again. Together with Teresa and our kids we embarked on a journey to Victorian-age London, lovingly recreated in detail each weekend until Christmas at the Cow Palace in Daly City, just south of San Francisco.

When you go to The Dickens Fair, at every turn you encounter people who elevate their passion to the level of spiritual practice, inviting you to willingly suspend disbelief with them in service to the arts and aesthetics of a bygone era. For kids, simple pleasures such as “Boot the Cat” (sitting on a bed throwing old shoes at feline cutouts in a Victorian window) are the moments from which memories are made.

The vast array of elders plying their crafts and teaching their trades is awe inspiring. From hand-cranked printing presses to crackpot scientists, crochet knitters to candle-dippers, the ever-so-satisfying archaic arts live on. It’s as if a living laboratory of the past is brought to life in the present to plant seeds for the future.

This pair of experiences raised some big questions for me. Could it be that somewhere between belief and passion is the space where reverence arises? Are reverence and love the underpinnings of human consciousness?

It brings to mind a line from an untitled work of ‘difficult’ listening material recorded in 1981 by Steven Stapleton that was in heavy rotation on my turntable in my darker days. “I’m curious, now that I do have a chance to talk to you… (ahem) ‘What is this ‘reverence for life?’”

And that’s what it comes down to as we prepare to gather with our friends and families for the holiday season. Regardless of differences in opinion, cultural leanings, or political affiliations, how can we dance in the intersection of passion and belief in a way that honors the reverence for life and steers our journey towards the path of love?

May your week shine bright with gratitude and your path be lit with love!


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

Dance First Member Spotlight – One Dance Tribe!!

Big news everyone! This is your last chance to attend a One Dance Tribe gathering in Maui for the foreseeable future. As many of you night know, One Dance Tribe is the international conscious movement gathering that brings together a world renowned group of founders and facilitators for a wonderful week of connection and community.

One Dance Tribe Hawaii is held at Camp Keanae on the island of Maui. Now is the time to plan while airfare tickets are still quite reasonable, (mid-$400’s from the West Coast!). One Dance Tribe is happening January 18-24th, followed by Amara Pagano’s Azul Awakening Love Retreat January 25-28th.

This years collection of talent includes One Dance Tribe founder Amara Pagano, Soul Motion’s Vinn Arjuna Martí, Dancing Freedom’s Samantha Sweetwater, 5Rhythms’ Guillaume LaPlane, Wave Continuum’s Eva Geek, and a wealth of world-class leaders in other mind-body and consciousness-raising practices.

One Dance Tribe is celebrating their expansion and evolution with the announcement of a new location and venue for March of 2019, the Garrison Institute in upstate New York.

And of course you can plan ahead for One Dance Tribe Europe, happening June 28 to July 4, 2018, in Kisslegg, Germany.

Visit the One Dance Tribe website to learn more and to register for any of their upcoming events. There’s no better place to join in a journey woven by master teachers of many modalities.

And watch this space for an exciting interview with Amara Pagano soon to be published on the Conscious Dancer podcast with Mark Metz!