Celebrating 3 Years of Expression

Next week marks the 3-year anniversary of the Live and Online: Expression Session. Each month, we have been honored to have internationally recognized poets and spoken word artists join us as features.

To celebrate, this week’s episode is a compilation of poetry shared by some of our pasts features. I really enjoyed putting this episode together for you and reminiscing on the powerful poetry that our past contributors have shared.

If you are looking for your poetry and spoken word fix, this episode is for you.

The Live and Online: Expression Session is a monthly writing workshop that brings together writers, creatives, and poets from around the world. The experience culminates with a performance by a featured artist.

If you’re interested in connecting with a diverse community of writers, creatives, and poets, join us for our next session this Sunday, June 30th. Dates and details can be found at tomearl.com/events.

Want to check out the full episode and interview of the poets from today’s episodes?

Here they are:

Matt Sedillo - tomearl.tom/matt (link to - http://www.tomearl.com/blog/2017/6/16/expression-session-matt)

Shelby Birch - tomearl.com/shelby (link to - http://www.tomearl.com/blog/shelbythepoet)

Dania Alkhouli ‘Lady Narrator’ - tomearl.com/dania (link to - http://www.tomearl.com/blog/dania

Destinny Fletcher - tomearl.com/destinny (link to http://www.tomearl.com/blog/destinny)

Super B - tomearl.com/superb ( http://www.tomearl.com/blog/superb)

Lady K - tomearl.com/ladyk (http://www.tomearl.com/blog/ladyk)

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Lady K will be our feature on this week's edition of the Live and Online: Expression Session.  Register below! 

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Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride With Ramy El-Etreby

I am so excited to share this week’s episode with you! I had the honor of interviewing my good friend and phenomenal applied theater artist, educator storyteller, and writer, Ramy El-Etreby.

Ramy and I had a deep conversation on creativity, the power of storytelling, and the way narratives shape our perspectives. We also talked about Ramy’s solo play, THE RIDE, which is currently running at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

THE RIDE, which is written and performed by Ramy, is a tale about struggling to reconcile seemingly conflicting identities: Gay, Arab, and Muslim. After being outed publicly in the LA Times, Ramy’s world is turned upside down. THE RIDE takes Ramy down a dark hole where he loses touch with the most precious parts of himself.

Ramy’s writings have appeared online on PopSugar, Medium, The Huffington Post, Queerty, KCET, Love Inshallah, as well as in print in the anthology Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy and the forthcoming journal POC United: Graffiti to be published Fall 2019 by Aunt Lute Books.

To purchase tickets to Ramy’s THE RIDE, please visit https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5760

You can learn more about Ramy El-Etreby by visiting his website or his Twitter/Instagram: @dramarams.

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Racism, Whiteness, and Evolving

Today, our guest is Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, who works in film and entertainment as both a creative and a gamechanger in the world of representational diversity. We talk about whiteness and white supremacy, race and racism, forgiving ourselves and others, call-out culture, and the importance of emotional stamina.

This was a deep and vulnerable conversation where Fanshen and I dialogued and worked through important conversations. I really appreciate where we went with this interview

Fanshen is an award-winning playwright, actor, producer and educator, as well as Head of Strategic Outreach at Pearl Street Films. In this role, she advises Pearl Street’s owners, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, on taking specific steps towards inclusive representation in the entertainment industry. One of her first initiatives on the job was to co-author the Inclusion Rider, and she was recently named one of 12 ‘Hollywood Disruptors’ by The Wrap. She frequently performs her one-woman show, One Drop of Love, across the country.

She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, West Africa, and has designed curricula for and taught English as a Second Language to students from all over the world.

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Politically Divided: Healing for Families, Friends, and Couples

This week, I talk to a guest from past times: writer Mitch del Monico! We talk about communicating, especially with people we disagree with. This is especially important in divisive times, in which disagreements can lead to relationship rupture. Mitch recently wrote a book addressing this phenomenon, called Politically Divided, which we also talk about.

You may recognize Mitch from a previous episode, when I interviewed him and co-creator Shaan Dasani about Agent of Change. He’s a writer who has also worked as a film and music video director and digital media assistant on a ship that sailed the Atlantic Ocean. His feature film, Alto, stars Annabella Sciorra, Natalie Knepp, and Diana DeGarmo.

Mitch has also written for HuffPo and has researched TV shows for the History Channel, Discovery, and the American Heroes Channel, among others, including nearly a hundred episodes of Modern Marvels. Mitch has spoken on panels at Comic-Con, Wonder-Con, the LA Film Festival, and CreatorUp! and has served as a juror for the Don Thompson LGBT Film Festival for the past three years in a row.

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Connecting With Your Intuition And Being Yourself

My guest this week is coach and facilitator Tasneem Noor. We talk about understanding and following your intuition, the difference between faith and religion, and Tasneem’s own experience publishing her book, The Faith Connector.

We also tackle the question of what authenticity actually is, and finally examine how a combination of authenticity and intuition can help you achieve your goals. Warning for earphone users: there’s a lot of laughing in this one.

Tasneem Farah Noor is the founder of Noor Enterprises: SOULful Transformations, which is committed to providing transformational experiences, personal development, and opportunities for meaningful dialogue.

Tasneem’s mission is to establish thriving, peaceful communities where conversations of faith build bridges of compassion and collaboration. Through coaching, trainings, and facilitation she helps people learn how to deepen their faith (and trust) in themselves, authentically express themselves, and take courageous action.

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Social Media for Entrepreneurs, Creatives and Side Hustlers Q and A Replay

This week’s episode is a replay of a ‘Social Media for Entrepreneurs, Side Hustlers and Creatives’ Q&A session that I hosted a while back. It’s a great one for anybody interested in making an impact and income while doing what you love. Especially if you’re looking to use social media to build a brand, business and community.

A lot of awesome questions were asked that I bet you have too. They ranged from how to start a podcast, how to grow your audience on IG, how to run Facebook Ads, what to do if you don’t have a focus or know what you want your business to be, and lots of other awesome ones.

Q&A is my favorite form of content because rather than the given feedback being general advice, it is specific and nuanced according to the asker’s concerns. This session was no exception.

If any questions come up for you be sure to reach out on social media or email me tom@tomearl.com.  

Would you like access to the Social Media Toolkit that I mention in this episode? Head to tomearl.me/toolkit.

For our next Live Q and A session, visit - tomearl.com/events.

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Moving Beyond Fear and Embracing your Experience

This week’s episode, with special guest Nurjahan Boulden, is so important and powerful.  Nurjahan was 21 years old when she was shot with an assault rifle in an attack that killed the man next to her. That one night changed the trajectory of her life. Even as she moved on to become a teacher and mother of three, PTSD and complications from the bullet wound continually threatened her future. 13 years later, she is now recognized as America’s leading coach for survivors of gun violence who are ready to Feel Safe Again.

Nurjahan and I talked about perseverance (especially through fear), facing reality, navigating trauma, and reclaiming your voice. I was moved by Nurjahan’s honesty and openness as she shared her truth in this interview. Plus, we also talked about her love of dancing.

Nurjahan’s story has been featured in a number of publications, including Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. In addition to paving the way to recovery for survivors around the world, she hosts online support groups and community resilience workshops, and is partnering with mental health professionals to bring gun violence prevention and recovery programs to schools and organizations across America.

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Personal Growth, Comedy, and Religion

We’re joined today by the talented Ameerah Sanders, who spoke with me about her own struggle with depression, self-acceptance, and her journey to becoming a professional comedian.

I appreciate how Ameerah spoke openly and from the heart. While we did share a lot of laughs (especially since Ameerah is a hilarious comedian), we also took the conversation to some very deep and very real places. You’ll appreciate the insights and truths that Ameerah shares.

Ameerah Sanders is a standup comic, writer, and filmmaker based in Kansas City, MO. Her comedy comes from her post-9/11 Black Muslim background and her current post-college life. She hopes to connect with other people of color and serve as an example that the life of a Black woman is not inherently political. She's performed at the Hollywood and Kansas City Improv. She'll be at the Cream City comedy fest in Milwaukee, WI May 9-12th and Art of Female Comedy Fest June 12th-13th.

Follow her on twitter @AmeerahSanders.

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Special Birthday Episode!

What?! It’s my Birthday! Each year, as a way to intentionally reflect, I share a special birthday edition of T.H.E. Celebration. This year has seen so many blessings come my way, and I am so grateful for them. Even those challenging days, when I lay awake at night worrying what my next move should be, brought opportunities for growth. Ultimately, 31 has been a great ride.

To jump into a 32nd year that is grounded in gratitude, I’ll be going through my birthday ritual with you, which is to share one self-love affirmation for each year that I’ve been alive. That means that today, there are 32 of them!

As I reflected upon this past year I realized that books and reading have been such a source of inspiration and grounding for me. One of the best ways to honor that aspect of my life is to connect it to my birthday celebration.

Which is why I’ll also be sharing 7 quotes from 7 different books that have shaped, guided, and impacted me this past year.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of the love, support, and affirmation you share with me. I am so grateful to be in community with you.  

You’re the best. I hope you enjoy today’s birthday edition episode.

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DIY Judaism, Passover, and Love With Andrea Hodos

This week, my guest is the awesome facilitator Andrea Hodos. In Andrea’s own words, we talk about “Jewish things” – what Judaism means to her and how it came to inform her life. We talked about her specialty, which is creating meaning and building empathy by putting things (and people!) in relation to one another, and also about Passover (specifically, what it means to her and her family)!

Andrea Hodos is the director of Moving Torah, a method for using movement, writing, and theater to explore Jewish text and Jewish story. Through her work in Moving Torah, Andrea developed a Jewish/Muslim women's performance project called "Sinai & Sunna: Women Covering, Uncovering and Recovering." She is also the Program Co-Director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. Andrea and her husband, Aryeh Cohen, are among founding members of the Shtibl minyan, a DIY Jewish spiritual community in Los Angeles.

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