Review of 2017 Write Every Damn Day Book Bingo Challenge

In 2017, I decided to challenge myself and others to a Book Bingo (#2017weddbookbingo)! The card below needed to be blacked out by the end of the year. Although I read more books than the categories listed on the bingo card, this challenge gave me an opportunity to explore different genres and read a few books I might not have prioritized reading. Below is the list of books I read in 2017 for each category.

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A BOOK THAT BECAME A MOVIE OR TV SHOW: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A BOOK ALL OVER #BOOKSTAGRAM: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

A BOOK FOR YOUNG ADULTS: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

A BOOK IN A SERIES: Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

A BOOK YOUR BFF LOVES: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

A BOOK FROM A DIFFERENT COUNTRY: The Storyteller by Walter Benjamin

A BOOK BASED ON A TRUE STORY: Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

A BOOK ABOUT WRITING: On Writing by Stephen King

A BOOK THAT RE-TELLS A FAIRY TALE: Cinder & Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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A BOOK RELEASED IN 2017: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

A BOOK OF POETRY OR SHORT STORIES: Whereas by Layli Long Soldier & Afterland by Mai Der Vang (both were amazing! I couldn’t only pick one for this list)

A BOOK WITH A BEAUTIFUL COVER: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A BOOK WITH TALKING ANIMALS: The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman

A BOOK YOU MEANT TO READ IN 2016: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

2018

To kick off 2018, I am participating in a yoga journey hosted by Yoga with Adriene. Her 2018 January series is called TRUE!  Some of you may have noticed that I changed my instagram username to @biblioyoga. I’m constantly re-defining myself and my goals and in 2018, I will earn my 200hr YTT certification to teach yoga! I selected a new name that illustrates my love of reading and writing with my love for yoga.

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I am a fan of having a visual to help guide me in my journey. There’s something about checking boxes that is oh-so-satisfying! If you are looking for a great way to kick off your new year, I highly recommend this Yoga with Adriene’s at-home practice! Namaste y’all!

In 2018, I plan to launch another “challenge” like the book bingo, but I plan to combine reading, writing, and yoga. Keep following my instagram and checking the blog this month for more details. In the meantime, remember to Write Every Damn Day!

From Adventure to Eudaimonia

My word for 2017 was ADVENTURE! 🧜‍♀️

✈️ I went on lots of adventures to some new and some favorite places and traveled with many of my favorite people! 2017 – Marfa & Alpine. Galveston. Cape Cod & Provincetown. Charlotte, the Blue Ridge Parkway, & Asheville. Boston & Provincetown (again!). Kerrville. San Marcos. Fredericksburg. Wimberley.

🧘🏻‍♀️👩🏻‍💻 I also went on personal adventures in my writing and yoga practice. I stretched myself in ways I never have before and pushed myself to share my work and participate in communities that once intimidated me. I started a blog & an Instagram to connect with other writers and yogis. I listened to tons of podcasts about yoga, writing, and growth and attended events where some of my favorite writers were speaking (Neil Gaiman is a gem!) I took InPrint, All Writers, and Writespace courses and found a tribe of writers I appreciate in both Houston and other parts of the country. I found a new yoga studio home and an on-line home practice when I can’t make it to class.

📚 I read. A LOT! By creating my write every damn day book bingo instagram challenge, I held myself accountable and encouraged others to go on Adventures in books! I’ll post about my completed bingo reads soon! I am creating a new Bingo for 2018!

👩🏻‍🏫 I challenged myself in two new careers within Education and grew as both an educator and a human being. Working in the field of education means every day is a new Adventure full of questions, problems, and challenges that bring minds and hearts together.

👫 Because of all of the Adventures and time spent on growth, 2018 is bringing big things for me! And even though Adventure was my 2017 word, we are starting off the new year with an International one, Belize 🏝

🤗 My word for 2018 is EUDAIMONIA, which I am borrowing from Greek philosophy. It’s a word I connected with at 19 years old in my first philosophy course and continually reflect on. Eudaimonia (human flourishing) is a state of happiness, growth, and fulfillment. To both LIVE well and to DO well according to Aristotle helps you flourish, but eudaimonia is not simply a feeling of happiness that comes and goes, it is a state of being and an understanding of the full potential a human life has.

✨ To Eudaimonia and Beyond! ✨

🥂 Cheers to the New Year! 🍾

Yoga & Creativity

Namaste.

This salutation is often heard at the end of yoga class. We bow to show respect for our fellow yogis and the practice itself. We share the divine light illuminating from our heart chakra, anhata, with one another as we place our hands in front of our third eye. This sharing of divine love is not so different from the act of putting pen to paper or finger to keys. We practice yoga to understand our potential to connect with ourselves, others, and divine universal truths. We write to do the same.

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Yoga teaches us the value of practicing regularly. It is a physical manifestation of our ability to grow, adjust, and refine our ability to connect with our spirit, mind, and body. Writing is no different. The more space we create for ourselves to write, the stronger our writing becomes.

Last weekend, I attended a Yoga & Watercolor workshop hosted by Yoga & Hops at 8th Wonder Brewery in Houston, TX. Nicole Peralta of  Instagram @artyogaplay led us through an hour-long flow. Afterward, she illustrated watercolor techniques and explained how the meditative state she reaches as a yogi is similar to the one she experiences while painting.

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I tapped into my inner Cancerian and somehow painted jellies! I read about the meaning of jellyfish after this class and found out jellies are a symbol of acceptance and balance. Woah…

Watercolor is not something I personally practice, but the experience of transitioning from a group yoga practice to an artistic endeavor gave me more time for self-reflection. Often when we practice yoga, we hope to connect with our third eye chakra, ajna. “The third eye chakra acts as our direct connection to higher consciousness, ushering in amazing, soul-fulfilling jolts of creative inspiration. Think of it as the space where self-awareness, imagination and intuitive guidance meet, enabling us to focus and create something in alignment with the truth of who we are at our core” (Creative Katrina).

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Aside from the third eye, your sacral chakra, svadhisthana, is truly the place where creativity (and sexuality, go figure) manifests. When you are in sync with your sacral chakra, your creative energy flows freely. There are many meditations and yoga videos on youtube to awaken your sacral chakra, so if you have never attempted to do yoga or meditate before writing, I highly suggest trying one out before your next writing session.

By first practicing yoga or meditation to connect with our chakras, we awaken our creative spirit, which is an empowering experience. Yoga, like writing, forces us to be self-reliant. No one else can balance your body in a handstand, just like no one else can write the same line of poetry as you. As we move through poses, we are growing as yogis. As we write sentences, each one we craft illustrates our ability to express ourselves. When we tap in to this creative, elusive energy, we are able to have truly transformative experiences.

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One of my favorite yogis, Rachel Brathen, constantly shares her personal struggles and growth on her instagram @yoga_girl. I am currently reading her publication Yoga Girl; the book is a combination of memoir and self-help where she shares her journey to create a boho lifestyle in Aruba. I’ve found that much of her writing resonates with me, but this particular selection truly spoke to me:

“With time, you’ll notice changes within the body, the mind, and the breath. Yoga makes us strong but flexible. Yoga creates space where we once were stuck. Yoga cultivates a quiet mind and inspires concentration. Yoga allows the breath to grow deeper. Yoga is a space where, with practice, we can become more present in our day. And the deeper we go in our practice, the more natural it will be to take the yoga off the mat and into the rest of our lives (Yoga Girl, 8.)”

Yoga and writing are both practices that help us uncover truths about ourselves and the world around us. Both make us dig deeper and free us. By marrying these two practices, we are able to channel creative energy and share truth with the world around us.

The light in me honors the light in you.

Namaste.