“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…” ~ George Gershwin

What does a holiday weekend represent to you? How do you make the most of time off when you get it? Do you have any traditions from long ago that you hold on to today?

Here in America, where the warm weather of summer happens during these middle months of the year, a pair of three day weekends forms the bookends on the season.

Today is Memorial Day, a holiday dedicated to the remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives in military service to the country. We have a lot of wars under our belt, for better or for worse, and regardless of the politics behind any of them, people who fought and paid the price deserve our respect.

About three months from now it will be Labor Day, another three day weekend here in America where we recognize the value of our work force with another Monday holiday.

Although summer doesn’t technically start until solstice on June 21, this is the weekend that kicks off the season in most peoples minds.

In recent years, the school year has stretched into June and started up again in August, at least that’s how the calendar for my fourth grade daughter in public school works.

Somehow, back in the 1970s and 80s, they managed to fit all of our education into the nine months in between these holidays. The long days of summer were made for sleeping in, loafing around, and free-ranging around our neighborhoods with our friends.

Sometimes in western Colorado, the peach harvest season would extend into September, and they would actually delay the start of the school year so that high school kids could help with the picking and work in the packing sheds.

Times have changed, and now I’m guessing most young people’s summer calendars are filled with academic programs, day or sleepover camps, and structured activities. Parents typically know what their kids are up to from hour to hour, rather than saying goodbye at breakfast and asking at dinner what they had been up to all day.

My musings here about the “dog days of summer” are meant to bring light to the value of boredom. Unstructured free time is often looked at as something to be avoided. Yet it is the backdrop from which inventiveness and creativity spring forth. It can be true that sometimes “too much time on your hands” can lead to trouble, but getting yourself in and out of jams is one of the key parts of growing up that teaches people how to live.

My youthful years were somewhat unusual by today’s standards. From the age of seven till I was about 12 years old my family lived on a large cattle ranch 36 miles away from town in Glade Park, Colorado. We made a weekly trip to town during which my mom would do the shopping while I would get dropped off at the library.

I was allowed to check out a maximum of 10 books each week, that I would bring home to devour at my leisure. I had a treehouse in an ancient crabapple tree, some shady hiding places in the glades by the creek, or our sunny porch where our cat Tom hung out. With little more than birds, bugs, and a variety of critters to keep me company, my mind lived in the worlds created by Lewis Carroll , Frank Baum, or Sid Fleischman.

Your current world is undoubtably different, and you probably enjoy having instant access to a world of information and communication as much as I do. Yet on days like this when many of us get to unplug, it’s worth digging into the value of disconnecting from distant sources of information, and seeing what you might find lurking in the background of boredom in your own backyard.

To a large degree, life is a question of balance. In order to play big on the world’s extended stage, we do well to remember to cultivate our creativity and nourish ourselves close to home. Find some time to unwind and let the freedom feed your mind!

May your dance with the summer season be fruitful, and your leisure time be filled with joy!


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

DANCE FIRST MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – Critical Mass Dance Company!

This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on the Los Angeles-based Critical Mass Dance Company and their groundbreaking Dance From the Heart workshop series!

Widely known for their bright florescent colored day-glo black light dance performances, Critical Mass is also a powerhouse in the youth empowerment world, offering a variety of community programs for low income moms and survivors of sexual violence.

In the Dance from the Heart workshops they teach a seven step methodology to help you de-stress, unwind and manifest your dreams with greater grace, ease, and joy.

It’s one thing to set your intentions, write your affirmations, and pray for your dream to manifest, but as Critical Mass teaches, if you really want results, you have to “emBODY it!”

“Dance from the Heart” is simple to learn; anyone can do it. No special dance training needed. They provide an e-workbook called “Dance from the Heart: Manifesting your Dreams through Movement in 7 Steps.”

Learn more about CMDC’s community programs and see how you can discover the benefits of “Dance from the Heart!” Visit the Critical Mass Dance Company website for more info and to order your own copy of the “Dance from the Heart” book written by E. Sophia Kozak.

They are offering two different introductory workshops in the Southern California area this coming month for the very affordable suggested donation of only $20. They also offer a home study program in order to make their work available to people in other parts of the world!

Hats off to Critical Mass Dance Company, you are a leading light in the world of movement, leadership, and inspiration!

Dance from the Heart Workshop :: Critical Mass Dance Company
June 10, Venice, CA

Dance from the Heart Workshop :: Critical Mass Dance Company
June 23, Altadena, CA