“Brevity is the soul of wit”  ~ Shakespeare

Do you ever question your communication style or wonder if you’re getting your message across? Has anyone ever accused you of being long-winded, or conversely, too short with your words? With all the different ways to communicate in today’s world it seems ironic that actually making a point has become more difficult.

Obviously we live in rapidly changing times. It used to be Fireside Chats and press conferences, now the leader of the free world speaks in 140 character Tweets. We used to wonder what kind of a world it would be when there would be hundreds of TV channels instead of 10 or 12, now with live streaming smartphones there can literally be billions.

And yet, at the end of the day it all boils down to the story. Humans are makers of meaning, and the way we share our myths and create our past, present, and future is through the telling of a tale. The challenge now is less about having a bigger megaphone, but more about having a message that cuts through the noise.

Take my newsletters as a case in point. Lately I’ve noticed that my tendency to ramble on and on has reached it’s limits. And I used to think that I should keep it really brief and impersonal, and not go into any of my old anecdotes or reminiscences. And I’m sure that some folks open these emails and groan and don’t take the time to read through them simply because of the length.

But the barometer I use to guide me is engagement. And by engagement I mean how many people actually respond and reply with a comment that lets me know they’re paying attention, or better yet, getting value from my weekly writing. So, for instance, last weeks note was one of my longer ones, and I was very happy and grateful to get about 10 emails in response from folks (you know who you are!) who resonated with my post in a positive way.

Way back about when before I changed the business model from an ad-supported occasional print magazine to a service-driven membership association I used to send out a random monthly newsletter. We would feature blurbs and photos from about ten different events or workshops, and those spots were sold for $75 each. I’d write a short note to the effect of “The weathers nice in Berkeley today, hope you are dancing a lot.” Like many of the folks who I coach or consult with today, the overall feeling I had about my newsletter was dread, fear, and loathing.

Without fail, every month was an exercise in ‘who can I make angriest this month?’ and within hours of pressing send I would hunker down and wait for the inevitable phone call or email with an irate client screaming “YOU FORGOT MY EVENT!” or “Didn’t you see my email? We changed the date on my retreat!” So my relationship with my newsletter was fraught with anxiety at best, not exactly the vibe I wanted to extend to my community on a regular basis.

So when I decided to revamp my newsletter into Monday Love, I made the counterintuitive move to go weekly rather than monthly, and make the writing personal for the blog portion, and focus on one member with one event for the spotlight. Plus the long list of links for our member’s events. I wanted to love my newsletter, not hate it!

The dynamic changed instantly. I started getting ‘thank you’ notes right off the bat. No one was mad anymore, and instead of fielding inquiries at my ‘desk of 1000 favors’ the equation was now simple. “You want your event listed in my newsletter? Great! Sign up for a membership!” Suddenly I was having fun with it and motivated to write more every week!

The reason I’m telling this story about my storytelling, a meta-story if you will, is to illustrate a point that I’ve taken to heart from one of my own personal business guru’s, Joe Polish. Good marketing is good storytelling. People resonate with stories, people remember stories, and people share stories. Your story is valuable. When you reveal more about your life and creative process, you give your readers permission to step inside your world and know that they are not alone. Vulnerability is an asset that can only be shown from within.

Since you’re one of the people who takes the full 5 to 10 minutes required to read these, then I’m deeply grateful for you, and very thankful for your attention. My goal is to provide you with a boost of positivity, a ray of light, or a flash of insight at the beginning of your week.

Attention is the coin of the realm in today’s media environment and whether you’re reading this today in your mailbox, tomorrow in aFacebook post, or next year as a blog post on our website, I want you to know that you’re an essential part of the process, the living, breathing reason that keeps my passion for writing alive.

Much love and many blessing until next week!

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

Dance First Member Spotlight! Stacey Butcher – Open Floor and Somatic Experiencing leader!


Today’s spotlight is on one of our founding Dance First members, Stacey Butcher! I’ve known Stacey since our earliest days of publishing Conscious Dancer, and have witnessed her ability to hold space and lead groups firsthand. She’s one of the Bay Area’s most well-loved movement facilitators, and brings a wealth of transformational practices to her conscious dance practice.

Having a background that includes Reiki, Chakra Balancing, Shamanic and Crystal healing along with the body-based practices of massage, acupressure, and energy work gives her a powerful repertoire of one-on-one transformational practices to inform her work as a skilled group leader.

As one of the most well-loved facilitators of the Open Floor moving meditation practice and skilled practitioners of Somatic Experiencing she’s able to combine the advantages of each into a blend of work that is at once aware, appealing, and accessible. I’ve defined ‘conscious dance’ as ‘movement with an intention towards greater awareness’, Stacey is a leader who bring this idea to the fore.

Contribution is one of the keys to Stacey’s appeal. She has some amazing stories that underline her desire to make a difference in the world. Watch this video and visit her website for an eye-and-heart opening view into last years trip to “The Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, France, where she and fellow Open Floor facilitator Liz Gleeson offered the practice to people displaced by the ongoing disaster in the Middle East.

You have some upcoming opportunities to learn and practice with Stacey, both here in the Bay Area and beyond, including her signature ‘Inquiry in Motion’ workshop in Mill Valley coming upFebruary 10-12th, and her renowned ‘Women in Motion’ class series starting January 24th.

Stay close to home here in the Bay Area, or travel with her as far as Findhorn in Scotland or Sarajevo in Bosnia, she’s ready, willing, and able to teach wherever she’s invited, so make sure you show up when she comes your way or extend an invitation to bring her to you.

Here’s some highlights from her calendar… Congratulations and High-5 to you Stacey for all your hard work and dedication to the field!

Open Floor: Women in Motion Class Series
Jan 24 – Mar 7, Mill Valley, CA

Reiki Level 1 Training
Jan 28, Fairfax, CA

Intro to Crystals
Feb 4, Fairfax, CA

Open Floor: Inquiry in Motion
Feb 10-12, Mill Valley, CA

Reiki Level 2 Training
Mar 4, Fairfax, CA

Open Floor: Inquiry in Motion
June 23-25, Sarajevo, Bosnia

Open Floor: Inquiry in Motion
July 7-9, Findhorn, Scotland

Open Floor: Ground Floor Lab
July 24-28, Fairfax, CA

Open Floor: Where Goodness Resides
Sept 8-10, Chicago, IL