Love, having no geography, knows no boundaries.

~Truman Capote

Have you ever been tickled pink? How about happy as a clam? What about over the moon?

These metaphors and hundreds like them in every language are ways folks around the world attempt to describe ‘the joy of living‘. It’s your birthright to experience an ‘exultation of spirit’ and enjoy ‘a cheerful enjoyment of life’. And when life is firing on all cylinders it should be easy, relaxing, and fun!

Except when it isn’t. Your life, like mine, has no doubt had its share of flat tires, wrong turns, and short circuits. The universe tends to be a prankster and the road to greener pastures is pitted with potholes.

It’s almost as if the great movie director in the sky takes devilish delight in making us star in dramas, disasters, and dark comedies before we land our dream role in a fairy tale. In the film industry, it’s called ‘paying your dues’.

It helps to cultivate a belief that the path of rising consciousness is an upward spiral and to learn what to pack in your metaphysical knapsack to smooth your path along the way.

Values like honesty, integrity, and honor. Traits like grit, gumption, and generosity. Abilities like empathy, imagination, and curiosity. Trust in your gut, your voice, your creativity, and your body’s wisdom. You have to roll up your sleeves and find the willingness to adapt, be humble, and admit it when you were wrong.

Some of life’s lessons are only learned on the far side of tough times. What it means to turn the other cheek, rise above, and ‘be big about it’. How to ‘bury the hatchet’. To ‘forgive and forget’. And sometimes the hardest of all; how to give your own self a break!

These are the sort of things that, in an ideal world, one would hope to learn and embody by early adulthood. I hope you are one of the fortunate ones who did. My life’s movie was well into the later reels before I even realized the importance of leveling up.

So as I sit hurtling towards San Francisco 40,000 feet in the air pecking this New Year’s edition of Monday Love into my phone on my way home from France, I can’t help but wonder and trust that maybe, just perhaps, I’ve finally learned enough of the hard lessons to clear the way for love. Because I’m sure feeling a lot of joie de vivre!

Earlier this year in a slightly mysterious edition of Monday Love I wrote about how you never know when your path can turn on a dime and have you suddenly living, breathing, and loving an entirely new life. If you were reading between the lines you might have guessed that there had been a seismic shift in my private world, what I didn’t share then was that her name is Isabelle.

Since our eyes started dancing over the turntables at Dance Jam earlier this fall we’ve been in orbit with each other nonstop. We did a delightful road trip to Oregon at Thanksgiving to meet my Dad, and just now spent the Christmas holiday with her folks at their family home in a small country village in the Vallée de la Loire , not far from the Château de Chenonceau, above.

One thing we had in common was a willingness to be content with ourselves before settling for a less-than-fulfilling connection. I’m really just happy to share the joy in my (our) life(s) in hopes of inspiring more joie de vivre in yours!

It seems like you have to get to that point where you’re happy with yourself and have worked most of your bugs out before the cosmic director is ready to let you catch the eye of someone you’re happy being inseparable with.

On whatever dimension in life, be it family, livelihood, creativity, or relationships, spend some personal time getting out of your own way and keep putting your hearts desire out there into the universe. If you make the effort to fix your own personal set of potholes you’ll find a smoother road ahead leading straight to your dreams.

Regardless of the metaphor you choose, your path is meant to spiral up, climb the ladder, or ascend the cosmic escalator if you prefer. Your consciousness will thank you if you get down to business in the physical world and do the work it takes to rise up the spiral. I’ve never known anyone who felt happier going down. And life’s too short to spin around in circles!

The New Year is a great time to share joy and excitement and I hope that ours is inspiring to you! As we dance across the threshold into the New Roaring Twenties, may you have love in your heart, peace in your soul, and joie de vivre all around you!

Much love until next week, and blessings on the dawn of a new decade! Bonne Année and Au revoir!


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

Dance First Members’ Spotlight – Happy 2020 to our global movement community!

This week’s Dance First Members’ Spotlight shines on our entire revered family of Dance First members! It’s our honor and privilege to serve such a dynamic and high-vibration community of leaders around the world!

Starting out with long-time the pioneering Tamalpa Institute . From the Life/Art Process to the Tamalpa ArtCorps, they’re cultivating Anna and Daria Halprin’s family movement wisdom far and wide… Oakland-based Breema Center is creating connection around the globe with the Nine Principles of Harmony… The 5Rhythms of Gabrielle Roth are in good hands as her son Jonathan Horan carries the torch to the farthest edges of the map… Azul’s Amara Pagano & her partner Pier Paolo de Angelis are rocking the world with the One Dance Tribe gatherings and the online Conscious Dance Conference… The School of Movement Medicine , based in the UK and headed up by Ya’Acov & Susannah Darling Khan with massive support from Roland Wilkinson are making tracks with their workshops and trainings around the world… Santa Barbara Dance Tribe is holding it down in the Ecstatic spirit every Sunday in Santa Barbara… Sierra Conscious Dance brings out the embodied in Truckee and Reno… Movement legend Melissa Michaels is lighting a fire with Golden Bridge youth-embodiment community in Boulder, Colorado… The poetic mystic Vinn Arjuna Martí breathes life into the global Soul Motion energy field from his base in Portland… Emanating her Temple Goddess energy from the heart of the planet, Sofiah Thom plays host to a dynamic range of yoga, dance, and movement offerings at her epic Danyasa Eco-Retreat in Costa Rica… UK-based LiveWire Lorca Simons weaves the theatre thread of Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms far and wide… When you’re ready to Let Your Yoga Dance find out where Kripalu faculty member Megha Nancy Buttenheim is teaching her renowned modality next… Dr. Jamie Marich works hard to make Dancing Mindfulness a professionally recognized modality from her home base in Ohio… Based in the beauty of Idaho, Brietta Leader is taking it back to nature with WildCore Movement … From the spirit-filled heights of the high desert, Taos, New Mexico-based Visudha de los Santos travels far and wide sharing the 5Rhythms and leading shamanic and gong journeys… Samantha Sweetwater’s brainchild Dancing Freedom is thriving in Australia under the capable guidance of Lydia Phoenix Onesong Marolda… Madrona Mindbody Institute’s  Aletia Alvarez & Allison Dey curate the finest embodiment offerings and manage the Soul Motion training program from their spectacular environs on a historic fort in Port Townsend, Washington. In Plainfield, Massachusetts Nine Mountain Retreat holds space for higher consciousness and Earthdance continues their stewardship of the somatic spirit… Fred Sugarman and Medicine Dance making moves in LA… The Vibrance vibration is strong in paradise with Ellen Watson & Daphne Tse (formerly SpiritDance SoulSong ) holding space for song and dance in Bali… Jennifer Joy Jimenez’s lively life enhancing practice TranscenDance is lifting spirits… Banafsheh channels Rumi’s wisdom with words and movement through Dance of Oneness … Ilona Glinarsky creates Living Tango in Los Angeles… Sarah Davies brings a Wave of Energy to East Sussex, UK. Radiating relationality from Grass Valley in the Sierra foothills, Wren LaFeet creates contact, connection, and community through the mindful partner dance of Cocréa … UK-based Adam Barley solves the embodiment equation with ZeroOne … Fort Collins Colorado is blessed with Rachel Phillipe’s Soul Kitchen Dance … Bay Area creative writer Margaret Wagner  is moving spirits… Embodied movement with San Francisco’s Megumi Fujita … Open Floor ambassador Claire Alexander moving the mojo in Palo Alto… Birgitte Tan holds space in Thousand Oaks… Laura Martin-Eagle makes waves 5Rhythms style in Kansas… Olywaves brings the vibe to Olympia, Washington… San Antonio, Texas kicks up its heels with Adelle Brewer and the Synergy Studio … Emma Leach starts the dance in East Sussex… Visionary Dance with Kristen Mangione in Hoboken, New Jersey… The Critical Mass Dance Company manifests through movement in Los Angeles… Tonius Louie offers Experiences in Movement in Sacramento… Nancy Trunzo brings you home to the body in Redwood City… Sarah Sadie supports your growth with Studio Sadie in Madison, Wisconsin… Wendy Roman brings it together at Rhythmwood in Canada… And we’re ready for your practice or modality to join our community!

Special shout out to our media, education, and event partners! Rancho la Puerta in Baja. The Dickens Fair in South San Francisco. Vau de Vire Society with their Soiled Dove and Edwardian Ball extravaganzas in San Francisco proper. Cavalia , the Cirque du Soleil on four feet. Moti Zemelman and the Costa Rica Contact Improv Retreat. The list goes on!

Huge shout out and New Years Kudos to you all! Big things in store for 2020, look for new training materials, a printed annual member’s yearbook, and more promotional opportunities! Thanks for your part in holding the Conscious Dancer field!