a publishing sabbatical
touchstones for the month ahead
I am taking a one-month break from publishing any newsletters to tend to some personal matters. In part because as I am finishing up the semester and as November approaches, so do final papers and projects. People tend to think school stresses me out, but reading and writing are the easy part. The classroom, the halls, the streets, the commute, and the cold feeling of missing home are something else.
In the midst of all that, social media provided a lifeline. I have made beautiful friendships online that have become real-life friendships. It has felt good to have a week off social media to focus on school and rest. When I take breaks from social media, every return is harder and harder. I notice things in my body and mind when I read tweets or IG posts, making it hard to linger for too long. Until I can reconfigure my relationship with social media, I am keeping a distance.
"a gentle landing" will return for Advent…
Last week I wrote that I would stay connected here because I still love writing on Substack. That has not changed. This algorithm-free space is really cool. And I have plans to return with a series for the Advent season. I am already nerding out about the themes.
Some touchstones while you wait:
Touchstones are the questions I have asked between longer posts on here, meant to inspire conversation and connection around vocational imagination.
As you may know, vocational journeys are at the heart of “A Gentle Landing,” and it is my personal conviction not to be the kind of person who forcefully shoves answers into people’s faces. A good question can be a gift. I know, I sound like a good scholar here, but it’s true: I have been guided through the years by those who have asked good questions—those who made space for me to hold the mirror up to myself, in confrontation and comfort.
Before we get to the touchstones, let me also remind you of this post, where I named several of my amazing friends who also write on Substack. These friends continually inspire me, and while I do not know everyone else’s posting frequency, if you subscribe to them all, you are sure to be blessed by their words at some point in the month ahead.
Touchstones1 for A Gentle Landing:
How do you cherish the garden of your dreams? How do you defend their roots from rot, what affirmations make up the nutrients you feed them to grow stronger and bear fruit? touchstones
What or who do you lean on when your world is spinning and you lose your point of reference? Who or what are your touchstones? touchstones 
Share something from your week that you have seen, heard, touched, tasted, or smelled that brought you deep joy. How can you memorialize that moment to remind you of God’s love and/or your love for yourself? touchstones 
What are the things that call you away from your vocation? Is it a stereotype, a lie, a story you’ve been told about yourself, the memory of a failure, a social/political barrier, or___? touchstones 
Who are the people who love me when I am at rest? touchstones 
If you’ve ever had an encounter with wonder and mystery as a child, describe it in the comments. How have you kept it close? touchstones 
Until next month,
Disclaimer: these questions are not meant to replace therapy, counseling, and other services that might come in handy if you are experiencing severe mental or emotional distress. I know many people do not have access to paid services, but it must be made clear that this newsletter, with its hope to nourish the spirits of its readers, is still a limited resource. Where mental health and spiritual health resources are scarce, I pray you find communities of care to accompany you on your gentle landing journey.