Do you ever go online? Are you an Internet user? Do you have any social media accounts?

I know your answer to at least one of those questions is “Well, duh!“ because after all, this is an email, and you had to fire up some sort of Internet-connected digital device to even read it.

Very few people nowadays have no digital life. As our species has advanced technologically, we’ve created an electronic nervous system that becomes more integrated with our lives every day.

As an invention, the Internet is unique. What started as a more robust method of connection has grown into an all-encompassing utility that we depend on. We humans have a great and natural need for connection. It’s more than a craving, our very sense of self and well-being relies on it.

And yet… we’re still simply mammals. Our biological systems aren’t evolving much faster than they ever have. As technological systems become faster and more efficient with every upgrade, we’re operating the same brains and nervous systems as we have for countless millennia.

It’s getting harder and harder to find controls in this grand global experiment we’re all part of. People who live without the Internet are more rare by the day. It’s obvious that not being able to go online or use a cell phone would put you at a disadvantage in some ways, however, it’s worth looking at the state of mind of those who choose the device-free path to see what we might learn.

One of our crew-members at Dance Jam, our weekly “Analog Audio Apothecary” in Berkeley fits this description. He’s a healthy and fit Contact-Improv enthusiast in his 60’s who does massage and bodywork as a profession. He has a very active social life, and is somewhat of a fixture at several community dances in the East Bay.

But he doesn’t own a cell phone or computer, doesn’t have an email address, or any presence on social media. He has a single land-line with an answering machine in his office, and swears he hasn’t seen any need for an upgrade since the 80’s.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade places with him in a minute. I love what my gadgets enable me to do, and I like to think of them as amplifiers of my creativity and extensions of my reach. But his state-of-mind, his aura if you will, seems to be calmer and more peaceful than most of my hyper-connected friends.

Another one of our crew-members is a woman in her mid-twenties. Unlike many of her peers, she’s perfectly happy using a flip-phone with no apps or wifi. She says she prefers to not be distracted or tempted to waste time, that she likes to be present and more in tune with what’s going on around her when she’s out and about.

Both of these folks embody varying degrees of balance in the digital world. On the other end of the spectrum of course, we all know someone who can’t put their phone down. The dopamine-fueled urge to post, comment, or keep up with the news-of-the-moment is strong, especially for folks who equate their value with how many likes, shares, or upvotes they get.

I recently had coffee with Claudia L’Amoreaux, a friend of mine for many years. Her current work is called Mindful Digital Life, helping parents and young people navigate our modern electronic world in a balanced way. Like me, she also publishes a weekly newsletter that you can sign up for here!

One of the things that she pointed out that I found very interesting was on the topic of nature and solitude, and how they are both becoming rare commodities in today’s world. If we think of the ability to simply be with ourselves in any environment and appreciate the solitude as a skill or state-of-mind to be developed, then perhaps blindly accepting that everyone is to be always-on and always-connected from childhood on is not such a great idea.

It reminds me of a quote from Henry Rollins, the former front man of Black Flag, talking about analog versus digital music. “Sitting in a room, alone, listening to a CD or an MP3 is to be lonely. Sitting in a room, alone, with a vinyl record crackling away on the turntable is to enjoy the sublime state of solitude.

Why there’s a difference when it comes to audio is a topic for another time. But the question of mindfulness and the value of solitude in the modern world is an ongoing concern. Ask yourself what you can do to ensure balance in your digital life. Learn to watch for less-than-mindful habits that might be affecting your present-moment experience.

Obviously, here at Conscious Dancer and the Dance First Association we leverage the power of the internet and social media in service to the goals of our members as much as possible. With our team publishing our member’s events on seven different platforms, we have an up-to-date understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each. And we’re constantly evaluating and experimenting with anything that’s promising and new on the online horizon.

Every conscious dance or moving meditation practice has an element of solitude at its core. The paths that lead there are many, yet the place of presence you arrive at when you allow your body to move your thoughts out of the way is universal. Find and value your sublime state of solitude, in whatever way works for you. It’s your root to humanity in a world that’s destined to be in a state of flux.

Giving you my Monday Love until next week!

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

DANCE FIRST SPOTLIGHT – Call for Regional Ambassadors!

This week’s Dance First spotlight is on you! Are you one of our new Regional Ambassadors?

Would you like to help drive the future of Conscious Dancer and network with other Conscious Dance professionals? As a Conscious Dancer regional ambassador you will participate in the development of our new affiliate program, promote the Conscious Dancer brand and the MoveMap to local movers and shakers and support the Conscious Dance community and current Dance First Association members.

You should be trained or certified in at least one Conscious Dance modality or be actively hosting a community dance. We’re seeking people who are open-minded to all Conscious Dance modalities and comfortable with marketing and sales.

Enjoy the benefits of a full membership to the Dance First Association and Conscious Dancer community platforms, as well as other perks and opportunities.

If interested, please send a letter of interest and experience to!

Here are some of the regions we have in mind:
Mid Atlantic: 

New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, D.C.
New England: 
Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island
South Atlantic:
Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia
Illinois, Indiana,Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas
Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada
Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Alaska