Author ACADEMIC. ACTIVIST. ARTIST. ASANA.
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I flew west last week to spend a little time on Stanford's campus. I had signed up months ago to attend a conference in the Bay Area—and got a cheap round-trip ticket that made it worthwhile. I scheduled appointments with my advisors—and a couple prospective advisors. I made plans to spend time with friends, visit a San Francisco museum and enjoy an afternoon (or two) at the beach. But the real reason I wanted to come west was to see how it felt.
Would I be happy or sad as I returned to campus?
Would I miss my life as a graduate student, or be eager to return to my life as a working gal?
Most of all, would I feel ready to return to finish my degree, or would I rather move on with my professional goals without the doctorate?
As in so many other things, my emotions and reactions were mixed. It was really nice to get around without my navigation system, making me feel like campus had become a familiar place (finally). I enjoyed reconnecting with friends and colleagues. Stanford itself was lovely, and the weather was pretty good for early spring. But toward the end of my weekend visit, I was really looking forward to getting on a plane and flying home.
I drove straight from the airport to my new DC sublet, and spent the rest of the week settling in. Over the next few months, I will be visiting with family, working, teaching yoga, doing some life coaching, attending church services, spending time with friends, completing my incomplete assignments from the fall quarter and trying to figure out if—and when—I return to Stanford to finish my studies.
I have decided to adopt the “take one day at a time” attitude. I know today that I want to be DC. I’m not sure what I will be feeling in April, June or August. But today, I know I have made the right choice to return home. I’ll figure out the future later.
I began practicing yoga in 2003 after I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I found great relief from my arthritis symptoms as I began to practice on a daily basis. I quickly decided that I wanted to share the benefits of yoga with others, especially low-income people, women of color, Christians and others who felt like their bodies weren’t made for yoga. I completed my initial teacher training ten years later in 2013—and took an introductory three-day training on teaching yoga for arthritis the next year. For many years, I was able to incorporate what I learned into my classes at Trinity Gym, where most of my students were retired senior citizens.
This spring, I am partnering with the Greater Brookland Intergenerational Village to offer two Therapeutic Yoga classes—incorporating some of the yoga for arthritis principles I have used before. Anyone of any age dealing with any sort of limitation or chronic condition is welcome to attend.
Dates: April 7 and 14
Time: 2:30 – 3:30pm
Location: Bluebird Sky Yoga
Address: 3101 12th St NE, Washington, DC 20017
Cost: $5 per class
I also am hoping to partner with the DC Road Runners Club to offer free Community Yoga on the Metropolitan Branch Trail for the fifth summer. The proceeds from the MBT 5K race are used to offset the cost of the fitness and yoga classes that we offer. This year’s race will be held Saturday, April 27. Be sure to sign up to support this community health initiative.
More details about the community yoga classes to follow. Check my website for updates.
I read The Artist Way four years ago, and it turned my world upside down. Instead of focusing exclusively on advancing in my professional career, I began to make time to play and pursue creative projects. I wrote three long-hand sheets of morning pages each day and took myself out on weekly artist dates. I visited museums, took writing classes, went to see independent films, attended concerts and operas, and treated myself to hundreds of mugs of chai tea with steamed almond milk.
As I nurtured my Inner Artist, creativity and energy spilled into other areas of my life. I decided to return to school and pursue my doctoral studies. But the demands of classes, work and research were intense—and my weekly artist dates were tossed to the side so I could find more time to read, think and write.
Since I have been on leave, I have resumed my weekly artist dates. In the first two months of 2019, I already have:
Being an Artist is a central part of my identity. Should I return to doctoral studies, I have to figure out a plan to keep it front and center in my life. I can’t let my academic pursuits outpace my artistic ones.
I am THRILLED to announce that I will be teaching several yoga classes this spring and summer:
Mondays, 7:15pm: Adult Vinyasa Yoga at THEARC, SE DC (April and May)
Wednesdays, 7pm: Yoga at Twists and Turns, NW DC (April through June)
Sundays, 2:30pm: Therapeutic Yoga at Bluebird Sky Yoga, NE DC (April 7 and 14)
In addition, I will be hosting an Awaken Your Soul Yoga workshop that combines yoga philosophy, asana and life coaching techniques:
Date: Saturday, March 23
Time: 3-5 pm
Location: Spiritual Essence Yoga
Address: 5020 Brown Station Road, Suite #130, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
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I poured all of my time, money, energy and determination into my first year of doctoral studies—and it paid off. My grades were strong. I was able to work on two research projects with my mentor, including publishing a case study on a successful school district. I made new friends, found a new church and began to settle into my new life in California. But the toll was too much for my mind, body and spirit. I was hospitalized for the first time in ten years. I was there for a week, which gave me lots of time to think about what had gotten me to such a deplorable state—and begin to consider what I would do differently in the future. When I was released, I cut back on my courseload, moved into a cheaper apartment and recommitted to my self-care. I started practicing yoga daily once again, and even taught a few classes at a Palo Alto studio. Eventually, I decided I needed more time. I took a leave of absence for the winter quarter (January through March 2019), so I can focus on getting my health back to where it once was.
I have been on the East Coast since Christmas, and plan to be here at least until June. I am looking for ways to reengage with the community, especially working with low-income students of color. This winter, I plan to volunteer at Book Harvest, a nonprofit in Durham that provides books to children in central North Carolina and engages families and communities to promote children’s lifelong literacy and academic success. Having plenty of books at home helps children start kindergarten ready to learn, combat summer learning loss once they are in school, and identify as readers. Once I move back to DC, I will reconnect with some of the social service organizations with which I have partnered in the past. If you have any recommendations of places where I can coach young people or offer community yoga classes, please send them my way.
My health challenges in 2018 really impacted my creativity. I didn’t have much time for artist dates, museum visits or personal writing during my first year of my doctoral studies. I am taking full advantage of my leave of absence to dive back into creative work that sparks joy and nurtures my Inner Artist. In the last few weeks, I have created a vision board, added to my scrapbook and visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture (for the seventh or eighth time). I also have recommitted to my Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal—finishing the first draft of my manuscript by August. I promised some of the participants at the Yoga As A Peace Practice retreat I attended last summer that I would have something for them to read when we reconvened the next year at the annual Black Yoga Teachers Alliance Conference at Kripalu. I have written one new chapter. There are four more to go.
Since I will be in DC for several months (March through June), I will be teaching yoga classes and facilitating group life coaching workshops at a number of area studios, including:
I also am looking forward to partnering with the DC Road Runners Club to offer Community Yoga on the Metropolitan Branch Trail once again.
More details to follow. Check my website for updates.
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I won an award at my Princeton graduation for dedication to community service (https://pace.princeton.edu/about/service-awards-and-prizes/glickman-prize). I share this not to brag—but to illustrate how important community engagement has been for me throughout my entire adult life. Starting with my first days on campus, I tutored prisoners, mentored students, renovated houses, served meals and helped out wherever I could. I spent a week at an orphanage near the Mexican border, and recruited others to join me. We did a little work and had a lot of fun. Plus, the female caretakers made me Mole Poblano on our last night for dinner. http://www.latinofoodie.com/featured-blog-posts/mole-poblano-recipe-heart-puebla-mexico/ During college, my service work took me to Trenton, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego and Tijuana.
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I just returned from a weeklong Summer Institute on Computational Social Science at New York University. The Institute offered theoretical discussions about the ways in which researchers can use massive data sets and online collaboration to answer questions of interest for people who study human behavior. For example, you could design a survey of how much people believe in upward social mobility and have thousands of people around the world respond to it by paying them a couple pennies to complete the task (yes, there are thousands of people online waiting for surveys to be sent out to make a little coin).