“ Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”
​​​​​​​~ Samuel Johnson​​​​​​​​​​

When was the last time you were totally taken by surprise? Do you find it fun to be flabbergasted, in a good way? Have you ever been in on a plan to take someone off guard?

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes. From tiny moments when your bank refunds a $10 dollar fee you weren’t expecting, to big ones like a new baby in the family, life is always throwing curve balls our way.

As we grow up and get on with our lives, it seems like the whole point is to avoid surprises. Planning ahead, covering our bases, making sure we have all our ducks in a row, are all ways of describing how we work to avoid unexpected events.

When it comes to our own circumstances, doing our best to stay present and yet in the flow is a good way to stay on an even keel. Much has been said and written about the value of having a vision, being clear with an intention, and having good habits in order to make steady progress in life.

In that context, unexpected surprises are usually unwelcome, and are often setbacks that take resiliency and grit to move past. You’ve probably had a flat tire or lost set of keys that threw you for a loop at one time or another.

But on the flipside of the equation, when it’s time to honor someone or make them feel loved and appreciated, there’s a few things that have the impact of a well engineered surprise.

I know, because I’ve just been on the receiving end of a surprise party! My birthday is tomorrow, on October 16th. (I was born in ‘62 if you care to do the math.) This past Saturday was a weekend day like any other, except that Teresa had specifically planned to “take me out to lunch for my birthday.”

So we dined on a patio out in Lafayette, and afterwards picked up her son Elliot from her house, and then drove the short distance to mine to pick up my 10-year-old daughter Geneva. My driveway was empty, the place looked deserted, and I thought she was home alone waiting for us to arrive.

So when I opened the front door and whistled for her to come down the stairs, my jaw hit the floor as dozens of people jumped out from every direction yelling “Surprise!” The first thing I remember seeing was a little kid bursting up off the floor from inside the hall closet, and then my eyes panned around to see all the different people who were there raising the roof.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so celebrated in my life! The level of surreptitious planning and behind the scenes networking that went into this shindig was astounding. My daughters friends and their parents, a bunch of folks from my Dance Jam community, and a number of our family friends were all in on the prank. There was a bunch of kids, a newborn baby, and even a young puppy dog in the mix.

I don’t remember being that surprised on a birthday since I was six years old. On that occasion, I came home from kindergarten to my father scowling and acting like I was in trouble for something. He told me to go into my bedroom and clean up a mess, where I was delighted to discover our newest family member, a beagle puppy that we named Max!

Many favorite records were played, a delicious homemade lemon poppyseed cake complete with an image of a vinyl record printed in the frosting was devoured down to the last crumb, and much dancing and revelry was had. All in all it was an epic success! For me it was a real honor to be acknowledged and appreciated in such a special way. I wish you could’ve all been there with us!

My big takeaway that’s worth sharing with you is that if you want to celebrate someone and make them feel appreciated, there’s nothing like a surprise to amp up the effect. I feel far more honored in the aftermath of this occasion than I would have had I been involved in the planning. Plus, I had none of the stress of dealing with details leading up to the event, in this case, ignorance really was bliss!

So with that, I will close with a huge bow of love and gratitude to my inner circle, and extend a hug of appreciation out to each and everyone of you! You are an important member of my extended family and I am grateful to include you in my community!

Monday love and hugs until next week!​​​​​​​


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

Dance First Member Spotlight – Adam Barley!

This week’s  Dance First Member Spotlight shines on the globe-trotting UK-based 5Rhythms mover-and-shaker Adam Barley! We’ve known Adam for many years here at Conscious Dancer and consider him one of most well established and hard-working facilitators out there on the global movement circuit.

When he’s not home in the UK polishing up his music collection and refining his 5Rhythms skills, he’s on a plane or on the road bringing you his special brand of movement magic, to the acclaim of 5R’s fans the world over. He’s known for his mastery of movement music, as well as his knack for leading somatic inquiries with no background sounds at all.

His training under the wing of The Raven herself, Gabrielle Roth is what changed his life permanently and led him to his passionate love for the practice today. He says “ I came across the 5 Rhythms in ’88 after 7 years of studying meditation and many personal growth techniques. I started seriously practicing in ’91, trained to teach in ‘94, and had 5 years mentoring with Gabrielle to teach the ‘Heartbeat’ level of her work as well as doing the first official Heartbeat training with her in ’05-’06.

Read more of his origin story about getting started with Gabrielle Roth in issue #14 of Conscious Dancer Magazine here.

With a steady circuit of workshop destinations around the great cities of Europe, and a thriving practice at home in the UK, Adam still finds his way to far flung locations to spread the 5R’s message such as here in the USA or in consciousness craving cities such as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Take a look at some of the stops on his upcoming tour calendar below, and see if you can rendezvous with one of our all-star Dance First members somewhere along the way.

Thank you Adam for your continued hard work and generous spirit! Wishing you the very best as you fly the 5Rhythms flag on the wild frontier!

Visit AdamBarley.com to learn more!

Into the Dark :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Oct 27-28, Cambridge, UK

Fierce Loving :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Nov 9-11, Glasgow, UK

Standing Up :: 5Rhythms For Men with Adam Barley
Nov 16-18, Starhouse, Boulder, CO​​​​​​​
One Heart :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Nov 23-25, Montreal, Canada
Waves :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Nov 30 – Dec 2, Ann Arbor, MI

Sacred Light :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Dec 20-22, Tel Aviv, Israel​​​​​​​
Fierce Loving :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Jan 11-13, Luxembourg

The God Pattern :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Jan 25 – 27, Munich, Germany
Deep Focus :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Jan 29 – Feb 3, Bois-le-Comte, Orval, Belgium

Gratitude :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Feb 9-10, Geneva, Switzerland
​​​​​​​The Tao of Loving :: 5Rhythms with Adam Barley
Feb 21-23, Dubai, UAE