2016 Annual Report
This annual report is a way to share what I’m celebrating in my body of work, as well as intentions for this new year. As always, I write these reports not to toot my own horn (though I suppose a bit of that is okay!), but to serve as a model for the importance of reflection in a business — and in life.
As I sit down to write this year’s edition, the Indian parable of the elephant and the six blind men comes to mind. In the story, each man comes into contact with a different part of the elephant – the tail, trunk, ear, belly, tusk, and leg. And each thinks it’s a different object or animal, depending on what part of the elephant he is perceiving. In a similar way, many of you know different aspects of me and my work – writer, consultant, coach, facilitator, teacher. You may look at my Facebook posts and other things I send out the world and wonder, “What the heck is she up to now?!” I hope this report gives you a more of the full picture of who I am and what I’m doing. I hope you’ll be able to see the whole elephant : )
While I serve in many different ways, the thread that runs through everything is mindful awareness. I try to bring that quality of presence into each project I take on, whether it’s writing a book, facilitating a workshop on mindfulness, coaching a nonprofit founder on fundraising, or managing someone’s Facebook page.
Last year’s report was my first. This one follows the same format, framed around the questions from my mindful end-of-year reflection and visioning process. Yes, it’s February and I’m a bit late in getting this out because, well, it’s been big year!
1) What am I celebrating? What am I grateful for?
Friends and family – always first on the list!
So grateful to have in-person time with long-time friends, some of who came to Santa Fe to visit; to create new connections through social media and meet some of those folks in person; and to check in on my parents in Southern California (who still live in the same house I grew up in, pretty amazing!).
A book contract!
This one is big, really big. The only noun I claim without any hesitation is ‘writer.’ I’ve written many articles as well as chapters in other peoples’ books (including Real World Mindfulness for Beginners, edited by Brenda Salgado, which came out in 2016).
I’ve always known I have a book in me, and 2016 was the year I finally put together a proposal and then was offered a contract by Parallax Press – publishers of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books, as well as many other books on mindfulness in daily life. This is a kind of coming-full-circle, as I worked at Parallax as an editor in the 90s.
The book, tentatively titled Work That Matters: Create a Livelihood that Reflects Your Core Intention, is based on the online course I created a number of years ago, Fall in Love with Your Work, which some of you have taken. I’ve loved watching the people in the course go through big transformations around their work, and I’m excited for the process to become accessible to a wider audience through this book. It’s due to be published this October, and you can be sure you’ll hear more about that as the date gets closer! In the meantime, you can learn more about the book and my approach to it on this page.
Opportunities to teach meditation and contemplative practice
As I noted in last year’s report, I’m getting more chances to teach meditation, and in diverse settings. In 2016, I was invited to teach a session on mindfulness in the workplace for the Environmental Defense Fund at their annual staff retreat on the Chesapeake Bay; I was a guest speaker for Desiree Adaway’s mastermind group about mindfulness for entrepreneurs; and I co-taught a Re-Connection and Renewal Retreat with Katya Lesher at High Meadow Farm (HMF) in Freedom, New Hampshire. (We’re offering this R+R retreat again in July 2017 – please come if you can! There is nothing more beautiful than summer in New England, and HMF is a very healing location.)
Katya and I also offered our online program, Waking Up to Your Life, to participants who wanted to establish and deepen a contemplative practice.
I continued to serve as practice mentor for residents at Upaya Zen Center – I love doing this. As well, Upaya invited me to offer several dharma talks during the year. I also continue the process of preparing to receive entrustment as a lay Zen teacher from my teacher, Shosan Victoria Austin of San Francisco Zen Center.
Coaching and Consulting
I am so grateful for the wonderful clients I worked with in 2016, and they are doing great things in the world! Here are just a few of them:
- High Meadow Farm: I continue to work with the co-directors of this early-stage nonprofit organization based in Freedom, NH, and have helped to guide their board development process.
- Tewa Women United has been serving the tribal and underserved communities of northern New Mexico for more than 25 years. I’ve been honored to work with them over the past year as the volunteer and sponsorship coordinator for their Española Healing Foods Oasis project, and also on general fundraising.
- Chelsea True founded the Joyful Mind Project to help increase the well-being of youth, families, and school communities in northern California through the practice of secular mindfulness. I’ve been supporting Chelsea on fundraising practices that will help to sustain the organization for the longterm.
- Rosa Zubizaretta is a gifted facilitator and trainer. Through her business, Diapraxis, she works with leaders who are committed to organizational health and transformation. She also consults on community planning processes worldwide. I’ve been working with Rosa on marketing strategies for her business.
2) What’s one aspect about myself that I have especially loved this year?
I faithfully kept an Appreciation Journal all year long. At the end of every week I took about 15 minutes to consider what happened during those seven days that I wanted to celebrate and write it down. That practice made it easy to compile this report, but even more importantly it helped to shift a very old pattern/tendency toward only seeing what’s not working. I am celebrating that my eyes are more wide open to what is working, to what’s going right;
And because I can bend my own rules here, I’m adding two more appreciations:
- This year I finally learned that there can be joy in struggle.
- This year I finally took archery classes, something I’ve been yearning to do for a very long time.
3) What would I have done differently this year?
2016 was the first year I didn’t make it to Thailand after three years of teaching at the Buddhist Education for Social Transformation (BEST) training program, north of Chiang Mai. Given everything else that I had going on this year it wasn’t possible, but I really missed spending time there. Thailand is a beautiful country, full of some of the most open-hearted people I’ve ever met (not to mention incredibly delicious food!). Did I say I missed it?
4) What do I want to let go of?
This one is less about me personally and more about where we are as a planet. I would like to let go of a mindset that depends on ‘leaders’ to tell us what to do. I would like all of us to own our power to connect with our communities, and to exercise personal leadership in taking care of each other and the planet. I am truly concerned about the direction my own country, the U.S., is headed with a president who has so little capacity for compassion or wisdom. It becomes clearer to me every day that it’s up to each of us, you and me, to determine how our shared future will be.
5) What do I want to call into my life for the new year?
Wow. Well, we’ve all stepped into an intense new reality, post-2016-election in the U.S. I believe our connection to our community will become more important than ever, and I’m experimenting with ways to nurture community.
While I’ve initiated and grown some online communities that have been very rewarding, like Sangha in the Streets and more recently Team Liberation, it’s really the in-person gatherings that feel most important right now.
Over the past year I’ve been hosting a small sangha gathering in my Santa Fe home, and we are exploring what it could mean to integrate social engagement into our practice, perhaps becoming an affinity group at some point should there be a call for civil disobedience. I’m also interested in learning about mutual aid networks and how we can support each other on a very practical level, as resources become more scarce. As I mentioned in last year’s report, I continue to be interested in how we can shift into more of a gift economy, and I continue to consider how I can bring that model into my business.
When my book comes out later this year (October), I’d like to call in many opportunities to share it with groups all around the U.S. (and beyond!). I’d love to do readings and other events related to the book. If you’d like to bring me to your community for that purpose, I’m all ears! Just drop me a line and let’s see what’s workable. After the book comes out, I will also be available to support people who want to make a big transition in their careers through Guidance and Encouragement sessions.
Thank you for taking time to read this…
If what I offer is something that would support your visions and creativity, here are options for working with me:
You can also see what’s scheduled on my calendar of workshops, retreats, and dharma talks.