100 Days

This past summer, I watched artist and author Elle Luna’s talk about creativity and passion.  In a deep dive, I listened to all her podcasts, followed her on Instagram, and immediately purchased her best-selling book, The Crossroads of Should and Must.   (When I fall, I fall hard!)

Last year, Elle started something new, an online experiment called The 100 Day Project, in which participants are encouraged to create something – anything – everyday for 100 days.   (Hat tip to bestie, Nicole, for the reminder!)  Each day, participants post their work of art on Instagram and a community of creators, dreamers, and doers is born.

April 4th was the kickoff for this year’s project, and I’m grateful to say that I’m right on track with my own act of creativity:  writing everyday for 100 days. 

In less than 2 weeks, I’ve already felt a difference.  I eagerly look forward to posting my daily text, whether it’s a poem, a line of dialogue, a haiku or a brain dump.  I’m reconnecting to the MUST Elle Luna describes in her book, and discarding the SHOULD slowly, slowly.  It feels damn amazing.

Last summer, I read author and psychologist Susan David’s excellent book, Emotional Agility.  Susan also describes the power of writing, a practice which she said healed some of her grief following her father’s death.

And, one of my favorite gurus, Brene Brown, encourages all of us to write a “shitty first draft” when we’re dealing with emotional struggles or everyday challenges in her latest book, Rising Strong.

I could write about writing for hours, but I’ll leave the metaphysical for now and share one more story:  in an interview with 60 Minutes,  Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda described crying as he writes, as he is so deeply connected to his words and aligned with his characters.  I get it; writing is seeing one’s emotions and dreams materialize on a page.  What could be more beautiful than that?


A Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew walk in to an Airbnb

A Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew walk in to an Airbnb.  They make their supper, lounge on the couch, talk about the days’ events, and giggle – a lot.

It’s not the start of a new ABC sitcom, it’s the contents of a beautiful 48 hours last week in Washington, DC.
Every once in awhile, I am overwhelmed by hope and gratitude.  My time on E St NE last week confirmed my deepest conviction: that we can form connections, trust one another, and build a better world, regardless of our faith.
Kelli and me on Capitol Hill to screen Faithkeepers
I was traveling with my wonderful team, Raheel Raza, a Muslim-Pakistani activist and star of my previous film, Honor Diaries, and Kelli Klaus, our social media and outreach manager for my upcoming film Faithkeepers.
Raheel, Kelli, and I came to DC after putting on a Censored Women’s Film Festival event at the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in NYC.  We held a panel which Raheel and I shared with Sharine Atif, an Egyptian-American filmmaker and Masih Alinejad, an Iranian dissident.
That panel was also an important commentary on what we are told and taught to believe: a Jewish American-Israeli shared a stage with 3 Muslim women.  We shared a joint message of sisterhood, empowerment, and human rights.  Our conversation did not disintegrate into geopolitics, blame, or hatred;
rather, we found much common ground in our (revolutionary?) idea that there is a global sisterhood that should be standing up for one another.
Contrary to popular belief, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, even Zionist Jews (!) can work together toward women’s rights.  We can all be feminists – together – even if we’ve been taught to distrust or malign one another.  We can reject that narrative and focus on the bigger picture – together.
But back to the AirBNB.  Raheel, Kelli, and I tucked into our lovely DC rowhouse.  Raheel heated up her Afghani takeaway, Kelli prepared her Paleo meal, and I relished in my kosher deli.  We shared happy stories from our days of wonder and delight – a tour celebrating human rights and connectivity – and we anticipated the private screening of Faithkeepers on Capitol Hill the following day.  We talked about our families, swapped photos from the previous days, and went over logistics for the next events.

There was no fanfare or even self-awareness; just three women sharing a space and working together with hope, gratitude, and love.

Raheel, Masih, and I present the Censored Women’s Film Festival at the Commission on the Status of Women with other activists and friends