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.
Author ACADEMIC. ACTIVIST. ARTIST. ASANA.