I can feel the seasons changing.

For the past 11 months, we have been running pretty hard, meeting new people and exploring new terrain.  We’ve encountered new ideas and gathered new stories along the way. We’ve covered 45,000 miles across 32 states.

It’s what we could do to move A Peace of My Mind forward in the midst of a pandemic. The public programming we had built up was hard to do when the public couldn’t gather. So we traveled and we listened deeply in a season when that seemed increasingly rare.

Now, as summer turns to fall, our attention is shifting, too. Colleges are welcoming outside programming again. Conferences are scheduled to meet. People are gathering—cautiously—and we plan to be there with them.

There have always been three audiences we consider as we do this work. The first audience is myself, because I learn so much in each and every interview. This process of deep listening has led to new ways of understanding the world and how we relate to one another. 

The second audience is the person I’m talking with. It’s my hope that by the end of each encounter that person will feel heard and seen and valued. That little bit of energy we exchange when we encounter one another is truly one of the things we can regularly influence.

The third audience is the larger public. These stories are meant to be shared because I think it’s reasonable to say that if I see beauty and wisdom in each of these encounters, others might see it, too. Over the past year, we’ve shared them online, on our website, through podcasts and on social media. We’ve shared them through virtual presentations, but now, in-person programming is starting to return.

We are leaning from a season of gathering stories into a season of sharing them.

When I spoke in person at a church in Tacoma, Washington last month, it felt good to be in community. I actually think A Peace of My Mind can be a tool to help us remember how to do that again. Next week, we will be at a middle school in Wisconsin. The week after, we will host our book launch celebration and book readings in Minnesota. Early October, a statewide conference in Montana.

None of it is without risk. This entire journey has had an element of risk and of course, life itself has inherent risk. But we have tried to mitigate pandemic risk the best we can. I am fully vaccinated. I wear my mask in public spaces. Wash my hands frequently. Practice elbow bumps instead of handshakes. We stay outside when we are not in our family bubble. Like so many others, we are trying to learn how to live with our changed social landscape.

Besides public programming, there’s something else that we haven’t done in quite a while—and that’s pause. We have taken short breaks to breathe and reset before diving into a new series of interviews. But it’s time to step back and reflect a bit more. To see the bigger picture. To weigh everything we’ve seen and try to make some of it. To consider how these hundreds of dots we have encountered across the map relate to one another.

Over the past year, we’ve done 4-5 new interviews each week, but there’s only been time to edit one, at best. So there’s an enormous backlog of stories waiting to be edited. There’s wisdom that’s waiting to be shared. We’re going to get to work on that.

Someone asked me last week how you know when a book is complete. How you know when an edit is done. And I said, “You just know.” You listen to that voice inside that says, “Yep, that’s it.” And you learn to trust it.

I’ve been listening closely to that voice and it tells me that the seasons are changing. Don’t worry, we’re not done gathering. Not by a long shot. But as the season shifts, so will we, until the cycle comes around again.

Stay safe. Stay connected. Hope to see you out there.

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