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DharmaPhD

Dharma PhD Update, 2020 Q2

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.

What a crazy busy quarter. on 12MAY I got an email from Seth Godin’s Akimbo program saying that the Story Skills Workshop was opening on 18MAY. My entire life got squeezed into 8-hour writing/workshopping/critiquing/responding. It was crazy. But. That workshop was one of the most important I’ve taken. It transformed my ability to communicate. As of 01JUL, I am shiny and new and better.

I didn’t do a great job recording my progress, but here’s what I remember:

2020 Q2

April:

BizDev:
 — Cultivating community on Slack workspace.
 — Website design.
Books:
 — ??? I forgot to write them down!
Contemplative Practice:
 — Daily 1–1.5 hour Metta practice (TWIM-esque).
 — Twice weekly Insight Dialogue practice. Online.
Courses
 — Facilitator Training for Dr Judson Brewer’s mindfulness-based habit change program.
 — “The Practice of Inquiry in Teaching Mindfulness-Based Programs”. Brown University (Instructor: Florence Meleo-Meyer). Online.
 — “Thinking Out Loud: Conversations on Early Buddhism”. Bodhi College. Online.
Teaching:
 — 8-Week MBSR course. Online.
 — MBSR-esque 1-hour meditation sessions for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University. Online.
Writing:
 — Blog cultivation.

May

BizDev:
 — Cultivating community on Slack workspace.
 — Community building research.
 — Website design.
 — Coaching call with Sam.
Books:
 — The Art of Solitude, Batchelor.
 — Newsletter Ninja, Labrecque
 — The Fortune Cookie Principle, Jiwa
 — Marketing, a Love Story, Jiwa
 — Storydriven, Jiwa
The Right Story, Jiwa
 — Meaningful, Jiwa
 Contemplative Practice:
 — Daily 1–1.5 hour Metta practice (TWIM-esque). 
 — Twice weekly Insight Dialogue practice. Online.
 Courses
 — Facilitator Training for Dr Judson Brewer’s mindfulness-based habit change program.
 — “The Practice of Inquiry in Teaching Mindfulness-Based Programs”. Brown University (Instructor: Florence Meleo-Meyer). Online.
 — Seth Godin and Bernadette Jiwa’s Akimbo “Story Skills Workshop”
 — Weekly 1-hour training sessions for habit change facilitation.
 — “Thinking Out Loud: Conversations on Early Buddhism”. Bodhi College. Online.
Teaching:
 — MBSR-esque 1-hour meditation sessions for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University.
 — Private habit change coaching.
Writing:
 — Began daily writing practice.
 — Much, much writing in Story Skills Workshop.

June

BizDev:
 — Community building research.
 — Storytelling training.
 — Personal branding (moved my personal website over to are.na: ShannonMWhitaker.com).
 — Professional website development (cultivate.gg).
 Books:
 — Get Together, Richardson, Huynh, Sotto.
 — This is Marketing, Godin.
 — The Art of the Interview, Grobel.
 — Marketing Made Simpler, Miller.
Path to Nibbana, Johnson.
Contemplative Practice:
 — Daily 1–1.5 hour Metta practice (TWIM-esque). 
 — 19JUN-29JUN, 10-day “online” Metta retreat with [Dhamma Sukha](dhammasukha.org/). 
Courses
 — Akimbo Story Skills Workshop. (18MAY-06JUL)
 — Akimbo Podcasting Workshop. (29JUN-SEP?)
Teaching:
 — MBSR-esque 1-hour meditation sessions for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University.
Writing:
 — With the help of the Story Skills Workshop, I wrote up a storm. Made one blog post in particular that I’m rather pleased with.
 — And with the help of Marketing Made Simpler (and the inspiration from Story Skills), I put a ton of new copy up on Cultivate.gg. Also pleased. It’s super white-bread, but I am not embarrassed by it anymore. :)

I learned in Q2 that I am less interested in traditional BizDev and more interested in community/tribe building, à la Seth Godin. We’ll see how that pans out, but I’m very excited, in Q3, to begin broadcasting via a podcast and to re-vamp the onboarding/engagement of the Slack community (mostly, I think, with the help of the Get Together book and community).

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