Summer 2017 in Review (Plus, How to Get Involved in What I’m Writing Next)

Time flies by so fast that — although we’d prefer if it didn’t — it can feel scary to deliberately hit pause for long enough to slow down.

It’s why unchosen shake-ups to our routines can feel so jolting. Disruption to your daily flow sends a shock to your system, like a solitary murmur in your heartbeat that you can’t not feel… standing apart from the ten thousand before that you didn’t.

I’m no stranger to feeling like time is flying faster than I can track it. Especially lately — ever since I put firmer roots down in my home state of Rhode Island, which came after a handful of years of commitment-resenting and soul-searching in my 20s. I never yearned for year-to-year steadiness more than after bouncing from Washington D.C. to Boston to New York City and way too many stints in my childhood bedroom in between.

And in a turn that doesn’t seem completely fair, these steadier and more-committed years have begun to move faster than I can entirely appreciate.

I want to savor days, weeks and months.

So I’ve been thinking this summer about how to slow down instead of race onward.

That leads us here — to the first installment of my new quarterly review series on my blog.

I’m no stranger to posting annual and semi-annual recaps, but this quarterly review is an experiment that I’m trying out, not only to try to personally appreciate time’s passage: it’s an offering that I want to make to you to have a better relationship to me, what I’m working on, why I’m working on it, and how I’d like you to be involved in it.

I’m a big believer in being as open and transparent with my readers as I can be, but as I’ve drifted further and further from frequent social media updates lately, I’ve been feeling out of touch with folks (and that makes me sad!). I want to hear your voice — and for your perspectives and beliefs to have a role in my work. After all, what I make, share and offer is for you.

This quarterly summary hopes to invite you back into the fold of my creative process — and my life — online and off.

With that, here’s everything that I’ve been doing both online and offline in the last few months.

i. What’s Done

New Hired Help! Part of my continued efforts to expand my platform as a writer and to go deeper in what I offer as a creative is to stop trying to do absolutely everything all on my own. I’ve been blessed to have the help of my brilliant copy editor and proof reader Christianne Morgan (hi Christy!), who has been making these words look pretty since 2013, and reached out for more help this summer. A big thanks to Emma Sedlak, Rob Croll, and Lauren Simonis for their collaborative partnership and support over the summer with my writing, research, marketing, and development of ideas. Here’s to more creative jamming together!

Refugee Yoga Program. After a very active spring of teaching more yoga in three months than I had over the previous half-year at two studios and in yoga outreach programs at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, I cut way back on my schedule for the summer. But not before continuing to donate yoga classes to another cause close to my heart: providing free yoga sessions to recent-arrival refugees and immigrants in my home state of Rhode Island. What better way to say welcome to our country — and thank you for being here — than through the language of love, smiles and laughter! I’ll have more to share on this soon, but in the meantime, thank you to Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island for all their work, and to Shri Service Corps for financing the initiative.

My Summer of Writing 2017. In June, I announced a free (and completely experimental) journaling program for my newsletter subscribers called My Summer of Writing 2017. After 8 weeks and 1544 emails sent to over 400 initial participants, over four dozen participants completed all 18 writing prompts, and were gifted with a surprise workbook of all their writing prompts as a special thank you for playing along. Thank you so much to all those who participated, no matter how many weeks you completed!

My Summer of Writing wasn’t really a “writing challenge” — this was a gesture of offering. I’m so grateful that anyone would take me up on the offer.

As someone who uses journaling as a spiritual practice for tuning into his inner self on an almost-daily basis, I wanted to share the love and offer to others what has meant so much to me. After this success, I’m excited to announce that MSoW will return! Expect the next installment in 2018 :)

Visiting Country #23. My love Laura and I snuck off for a week of spacious personal travel to Norway in late August. After a fairly full summer of trying to mentally and emotionally “vision out” the next 9 to 12 months of my creative work, finances and business, our co-adventure to Norway felt like it was vital for resetting my head and perspectives. It’s easy to get lost in your daily flow, and I find travel to be the perfect combination of disruption to comfort and eye-opening to what I’m really feeling inside.

Embody Love Project Fundraiser. Just a couple weeks ago, I was honored to take part in co-teaching a terrific and joyful yoga fundraiser at my home studio, Laughing Elephant Yoga in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Color-Full Yoga is an annual tradition that blends The Color Run with Holi: physical play and tradition meet color-throwing celebration. Dozens turned up and made a beautiful mess, and we raised hundreds of dollars in support of Dr. Melody Moore’s Embody Love Movementwhich supports women and girls with education and awareness around eating disorders, body image and building self-confidence.

ii. What’s Coming Next…

Unavoidable Writing. My new writing course is coming soon. Unavoidable Writing teaches you how to turn what you’re resisting into your refuge. What if the thing you’re resisting the most is actually the pathway to overcoming what’s holding you back — creatively, and throughout your life? This course comes as the synthesis of the last 5 years of my work with upwards of 300 writers from 17 countries. Expect it to drop November 2017!

Peru Retreat in 2018. If you haven’t heard yet, I’m hosting a yoga and writing retreat in the Sacred Valley of Peru from January 27 to February 3, 2018 — it’s coming up faster than you may think! It’s going to be the trip of a lifetime. Limited tickets are still available, and you can save $200 on your admittance if you commit just a $500 deposit by October 31st.

October Fundraising Initiative. I’ll be donating all of my yoga teaching earnings to select charities that I love and support throughout October 2017. If you want to be a part of it, it’s easy to help: simply join me for a yoga class at Laughing Elephant Yoga in East Greenwich, Rhode Island — my up-to-the-minute schedule is always online here.

iii. Every Article Published

— 8 Yoga Teachers on What They’d Do Differently (If They Started Over Today). One of the most valuable resources you have is turning to other teachers for advice. I asked 8 for what they’d do again (and what they wouldn’t) if they started over.

— Keeping a Compliments Journal is the New Alternative to Gratitude Journaling. Want an attitude of gratitude? Gratitude journaling is a popularly recommended method, but this 1 technique makes gratitude journaling easy, fun and memorable.

— 1 Surprising Thing You Can Do to Be More Creative Today. I do my best to give an actual, non-aspirational-bait, not-overly-simplistic “1 thing” answer to a question like how to become more creative by feeling more creative on any given day. My answer may surprise you.

— These Are My Favorite 3 Fountain Pens for Writing (at Any Price). Fountain pens provide a sense of mindfulness, nuance and patience to the artistic experience of writing, in the otherwise hurried age of modern convenience.

— Here Are My Top 3 Favorite Journals (That I Can’t Stop Writing In). When I began to turn my personal journaling practice into an outlet of creative and artful embodiment, things changed: the words I wrote started to feel more artful, and the experience of writing began to feel more professional.

— I Want to Help People. Where Do I Begin?. So, you want to help people. But what do you have to offer others? Consider teaching what you’ve already learned, yourself. You’re a natural teacher of what you know.

— How Does Writing Change How I Feel? What Leading Research Says. These several modern research studies indicate that expressive writing can alleviate stress, build self-confidence, and maybe even boost your immune system.

— 3 Unconventional Ways to Get Yourself Writing Again This Week. Get yourself writing again by changing how you source your creativity. Incorporate these 3 tricks into your everyday life to help yourself write this week.

— Escape Your Echo Chamber (Or, Let’s Agree to Disagree, Part 2). In 1969, Christmas in Cuba was canceled for what seemed like the most noble of reasons. The entire country was unified in a single-minded patriotic effort. But the Zafra left the island nation’s economy in shambles for decades.

— 4 Years After Her Sister Wrote Her First Book, My 9-Year-Old Cousin Started Her Own Book Publishing Company. Four years ago, I thought it was a big deal that her older sister was writing her own book. Not to be outdone, Kendal started her own book publishing company.

— You Can’t Care About Everything. Care for what you care for the most. Trust that others will do their part to care about what they care about, so you don’t have to.

— Why Retreat? To Make Transformation Real. Retreat to the Sacred Valley of Peru from Jan 27 – Feb 3, 2018 for daily yoga, cultural immersion, mindfulness, and understanding the heart of the story of your life.

iv. Story Call Out

Here’s one last request I have — and it’s another experiment I plan to offer once every season to invite your voice and perspectives into the stories I’m writing and sharing:

It’s called the Story Call Out.

Check it out!

Every quarter, I’ll be sharing a list of a few article ideas that I’m considering writing — but could really use an outside voice, perspective, or real-life experience to bring it to life. Think of it as Help A Reporter Out (HARO), only exclusively for my readers, and only that I’m not a reporter :)

In between quarterly posts on my blog, you can also keep in close conversation with me by:

  1. Subscribing to my newsletter. These days most of my conversation with my reader-family happens through my bi-weekly newsletter. Hit reply on any newsletter to share your feedback, or just to check in and say hello.
  2. Following me on Instagram. I’m off Twitter, Facebook is feeling more and more obsolete, but I’m a sucker for iPhone photography. Check in on Insta for a look into my world, and don’t be shy! Say hello.
  3. Checking my new Now page. Updated semi-frequently, my new Now page is a part of this project and is where you can see what I’m working on currently.

Thanks for being here.

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