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DharmaPhD

Dharma PhD Update, 2020 Q1

I’m pursuing an Independent PhD. This is a post about how that’s going. For more details on what an Independent PhD is and why you should start one, check out this post over here.

As I divulge more about this little project o’mine, I’m amused and surprised by the interest. To answer questions and track my progress, I’ll make quarterly reports on how the project is taking shape.

2020 Q1

It seems that breaking things into quarters is more intelligible than academic semesters. Though I began thinking about this project as a PhD in 2019, the details are fuzzy, so here’s what I can remember from 2020 Q1.

January

BizDev
— Annual review and projection.
— Financial planning.
— Research community building.
Books:
— The Craving Mind, Brewer.
— Open to Desire, Epstein.
Contemplative Practice:
— Daily 1–1.5 hour Metta practice (TWIM-esque).
Teaching:
— MBSR-esque 1-hour meditation sessions for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University.
— MBSR-esque 45-minute meditation sessions for outpatient mental health patients at the VA Hospital. 
Writing:
— Blog development.

February

BizDev:
— Created Slack workspace.
— Transitioning Cultivate to a support for teachers rather than a place to take classes.
— Community building research.
 Books:
— Advice Not Given, Epstein.
— The Art of Gathering, Parker. 
The One Thing, Keller.
 Contemplative Practice:
— Daily 1–1.5 hour Metta practice (TWIM-esque). 
 Teaching:
 —Researched and began recording guided meditations.
— 8-Week MBSR course
— MBSR-esque 1-hour meditation sessions for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University.
— Hosted half-day MBSR retreat for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University. 
— MBSR-esque 45-minute meditation sessions for outpatient mental health patients at the VA Hospital.
Writing:
— Blog development.

March

BizDev:
— Cultivating community on Slack workspace.
— Community building research.
Books:
— The Craving Mind, Brewer.
— The First Free Women, Weingast.
— Community Building on the Web, Jo Kim
Contemplative Practice:
— Daily 1–1.5 hour Metta practice (TWIM-esque). 
 Courses:
— Began Facilitator Training for Dr Judson Brewer’s mindful habit change program.
 Teaching:
— 8-Week MBSR course
— MBSR-esque 1-hour meditation sessions for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University.
— MBSR-esque 45-minute meditation sessions for outpatient mental health patients at the VA Hospital.
 Writing:
— Blog development.

Looking back at Q1, the biggest shift for me was in confidence as a teacher. A significant move from uncertainty and self-doubt into security and confidence as my teaching ramped up and began bearing fruit. I learned that I am capable of holding a group and of providing the space and support for others to do their own work. I also learned that others were just as hungry for community as I was. And if I could provide them the right container, they would fill it with gratitude. A rewarding three months.

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