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Dharma PhD Update, 2020 Q3

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.

In preparation for this blog post, I reviewed the 2020 Q2 update and laughed outloud. The first sentence, “What a crazy busy quarter.”

2020 Q3. What a crazy busy quarter! :D

The Akimbo Podcasting workshop was (as the Story Skills workshop was) transformational. I hate using language like that, but there it is.

How so, transformational?

The process of creating and broadcasting has led to greater confidence and skill in communicating about Dharma PhD (and the Dharma more generally).

Before starting the workshop, when met with the dreaded question, “What do you do?” I would blink furiously several seconds before launching into a jumbled and tedious digression. I was dedicating several years of my life to this project, yet I was incapable of articulating what it was or why it mattered.

Post workshop: Just yesterday, I met a new friend for a socially distanced meal. Turns out this person is a touch and proprioception researcher. The conversation was effervescent. We discussed research, I asked for clarification about my own understanding. We discovered he was a dabbler in meditation and I held forth about meditation and subjective sensory exploration. It. Was. Rad!

But why credit the change to podcasting? For me, podcasting is extrinsic motivation to engage more deeply with the material. I have to question and ponder and explore until I understand well enough to converse with others using everyday language. No hiding behind jargon.

Pre-podcasting I had developed an enthusiastic evidence-based-faith, but I did not feel I could talk about it outside the clique. I knew that was a shortcoming. If this mindfulness stuff is really about articulating what it’s like to have a human mind, then we should be able to talk about it with any human mind. I am now beginning to develop that capacity.

Big-time pleasant hedonic tone!

2020 Q3

July:

BizDev:
– Storytelling training.
– Podcasting workshop.
– Website development: Cultivate.gg.
– Meta work on the organization of Dharma PhD as a concept and project. Organizing and refining.
Books:
Make Noise, Nuzum.
Storyworthy, Dicks.
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.
Akimbo Story Skills Workshop. (18MAY-06JUL)
Akimbo Podcasting Workshop. (29JUN-12NOV)
Teaching:
– MBSR-esque 1-hour meditation sessions for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University. Online.
Writing:
Akimbo Story Skills Workshop.
Akimbo Podcasting Workshop.
Cogscifulness blog.

August:

BizDev:
– Akimbo Podcasting Workshop.
– Website development: DharmaPhD.com.
– Coursera “How to Build a Website in a Weekend”.
– LinkedIn Learning: “WordPress 5 Essential Training”
– LinkedIn Learning: “WordPress.com Essential Training”
Books:
Make Noise, Eric Nuzum.
Out on the Wire, Jessica Abel.
Broadcasting:
Buddha Bites Podcast
Dharma PhD Podcast
Dharma PhD Blog
Contemplative Practice:
– Daily 0.5-1 hour Metta practice (TWIM-esque).
– Twice weekly Insight Dialogue practice. Online.
Courses:
– Facilitator Training for Dr Judson Brewer’s mindfulness-based habit change program.
Akimbo Podcasting Workshop. (29JUN-12NOV)
– Inaugural Bodhi College “Community Course”. Bodhi College. Online.
– Self-guided audio processing tutorials.
Teaching:
– MBSR-esque 1-hour meditation sessions for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University. 2x/week.
Writing:
– Akimbo Podcasting Workshop.
– DharmaPhD blog.

September:

BizDev:
– Akimbo Podcasting Workshop.
– Website development for DharmaPhD.com.
– Dharma PhD Twitter account started. Gross.
Books:
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, Mackesy
– I didn’t read many books this period; lots and lots of websites and lots and lots of forums about various aspects of podcasting including content creation and audio production.
Broadcasting:
Podcasts
Buddha Bites
Dharma PhDThe Podcast
Guided Meditations with Shannon
Dharma PhD Blog
Contemplative Practice:
– Daily 1-1.5 hour Metta practice (TWIM-esque).
Courses:
– Akimbo Podcasting Workshop.
– BCBS 8-Week Introduction to Insight Dialogue with Gregory Kramer. Backed out of this one. It wasn’t for me at this time.
– Self-guided audio processing tutorials.
– Inaugural Bodhi College “Community Course”. Bodhi College. Online.
Teaching:
– MBSR-esque 1-hour meditation sessions for staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins University.
Writing:
– Dharma PhD Blog
– Attempting to do one blog for each podcast episode as recommend by The Podcast Host in his “Content Stacking Series“.

Pontification

For the next in this series of quarterly check-ins I plan to move away from this format and try to better mirror the four aspects of Practice, Scholarship, Discourse, and Teaching. A work in progress.

Curiously, I’m feeling less drawn to teaching. Discourse has been at the forefront via the new website and podcast; I’d like to lean more into practice.

I’m finding the Buddha Bites and Guided Meditations with Shannon podcasts are getting a lot of downloads, but they take time away from Dharma PhD blog/podcast. I plan to continue them until the Podcasting Workshop closes in November, but then re-assess if they are serving the project. It’s hard to know; BB is averaging thirty downloads a day and GMwS fifteen. Clearly they are resonating with some people, which is wonderful. But I want to pour myself into the DPhD podcast and blog. Saying yes to the perfect thing means saying no to lots and lots of very good things.

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