Here’s What We’re Talking About This Week: Cheers to you, Mom

The word ‘Mom’ can hold a variety of meanings to us all. Whether Mom represented the woman who brought you into this world, the person who gave you unconditional love & friendship throughout your life, the woman who comforted you through your darkest times, or the one who believed in your biggest dreams, Mom holds a special place in all of our hearts. This week we are filled with gratitude, love and appreciation for all of the moms in our lives. And what better way to celebrate our leading ladies than by making them smile with one of these 25 hysterical Mother’s Day cards.

Here are a few other things we’ve been chatting about this week:

  • Emma Watson, Dylan Minnette and volunteers across New York City’s boroughs are leaving Books on the Subway in hopes you’ll pick one up, take a read and share it with another curious person. We love this project!
  • We’re exploring our H-Spot this week. Want to join in on the fun? Check out this interesting piece on what the female pursuit of happiness looks like.
  • We just signed the Pledge of Liberation, centered on the belief that none of us are free until all of us are free. We’re in this together – so join us by signing here.

Here’s What We’re Talking About This Week: Making Moves For Climate Change

This past Saturday, we joined more than 300,000 people in Washington, DC (and across the country) for the People’s Climate Movement – a demonstration of unity for jobs, justice, and climate action. The demonstration’s organizers casted a wide net to convey that climate change is deeply interwoven with traditional social justice issues like racial, gender and economic inequality. Much like the Women’s March, the signs were brilliant and the vibe was electric. Our favorite part was when the front of the march reached the White House, all 300K people sat down and pounded their chests or clapped their hands to symbolize one collective beating heart – it was a magical moment. Take a look at these highlights from the movement and the picture of our favorite sign below. If you participated, share your story with us here!

Here are a few other things we’ve been chatting about this week:

  • If you’re a huge fan of Aziz Ansari like we are, we think you’ll be interested in this article on why his comedy ultimately went political.
  • Avant-Garde is often used to define new or experimental concepts, especially in the arts. At Monday night’s Met Gala, the avant-garde theme was in full force, and we loved the bold & daring looks.
  • Water has the power: to break the cycle of poverty, to protect and save lives, and to make a bright future possible. Find out here how you can put the power of water into the hands of those in need.

The Question That Shaped It All

Last month, we read an inspiring On Being column by Courtney E. Martin about the very first ‘big’ question she asked in life that got her thinking on her own. It was the first big question she posed to tackle life’s challenges as a child, and through the years to follow. Whether consciously or not, this question has defined the choices and decisions she’s made throughout her life.

This prompt sparked a fascinating group discussion with friends and colleagues about what our first big questions were. For a friend who liked to push the limits, yet grew up with very strict parents, she questioned, ‘But why?’ when the answer was no. For the youngest, often overshadowed sibling of five, a colleague remembered asking ‘How can my voice be heard?’ Witnessing her parents go through a messy divorce, a friend often questioned, ‘Why is it so difficult to tell the truth?’

For Courtney, she uncovered that to some degree, she’s always asked ‘How can we wake up from our delusions of perfection?’ These big questions have shaped the stories of our lives, and we can’t wait to hear yours. What was your first big question? Send them to us at togetherliveteam@gmail.com.

Here’s What Were Talking About This Week: The Girls of our Generation 

Sunday night marked the end of an era for fans of the hit TV show Girls, a ‘dramedy’ created by Lena Dunham about four 20-something women in Brooklyn, New York. Through storylines touching on everything from the uncomfortable and chaotic reality of sex, to post-collegiate social struggles, to gender politics, Girls explored real issues in a raw and unconventional way. Whether or not you followed along with Hannah Horvath’s journey, the series tested social limits and started new conversations. We’re sad to see it end, but hope to see a rise of more unconventional stories on TV.

Here are a few other things we’ve been chatting about this week:

  • We’re incredibly inspired by Troop 6000, the first New York City Girl Scout troop solely for homeless girls. In recent interviews, the girls talked about what they want to be when they grow up; check out their aspirations here.
  • Curious about how to bridge the gap between being an amateur to a professional? Take a look at these seven things you could do differently to achieve your dreams.
  • It’s a beautiful time of year to get outdoors and get involved. Find out how you can help care for our national parks by volunteering with the National Park Service. Click here to get started or find a park near you.

Here’s What We’re Talking About This Week

Researchers believe that the extent to which we can generate positive emotions, even in the midst of life’s daily stresses, can limit our risk for a variety of health problems. Dr. Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, believes that taking the time to learn the skills to self-generate positive emotions can help us become healthier and more resilient versions of ourselves. Check out these tips for how to see the glass half-full more often.

 

Here are a few other things we’ve been chatting about this week:

  • At the Women in the World Summit last week, Hilary Clinton sat down for his first public interview since the election. She tackled a variety of topics including her post-election emotions, Donald Trump’s presidency and women’s rights around the world. Take a look at the highlight’s here.
  • We’re boosting our brainpower this week with these 21 smartphone games to help keep us entertained during our commute. Not a gamer? Send us your favorite ways to stay engaged to & from the office at togetherliveteam@gmail.com.
  • Your right to vote is important. Ahead of upcoming local, state and special elections, make sure your voice is heard by checking on your voter registration status and marking your calendars for key upcoming dates.

 

This is 50: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh on how she’s following the breadcrumbs of her life toward her next chapter

Together founder Jennifer Rudolph Walsh on how she continues to serve her purpose-driven mission.

Turning 50 on Valentine’s Day was all kinds of awesome. My grandfather always told me that the 50’s was the decade of great reward for people who did the hard work in their 30’s and 40’s. I always held that promise out like a beacon of light as I did the hard work during those decades.

In my 30’s, I built a family, which my heart beats for, and I dedicated myself to the work of bringing people’s stories into the world in the biggest, most impactful way possible. And I tried as hard as I could every day to be of service. I literally used to tear up watching Thomas the Train with my youngest son Wyatt because, like Thomas, I just hoped to be a useful engine. I wanted to leave my mark on the world but if I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what my mark was.

In my 40’s, I worked just as hard but it began to feel lighter. I learned to breathe through meditation. I learned the power of saying no and the importance of prioritizing what matters. I let go of people and things that made me feel small. I judged less and listened more. I began to ask more questions and worry less about the answers. I felt the power of my positive thinking to actually manifest the things I wished for. The more I believed, the more things happened; a beautiful, virtuous cycle. I still gave way to negative thinking or obsessive rumination, but I learned to recover faster, turn the page, and forgive myself for slipping backwards. The more I forgave myself for my humanity, the easier it became to forgive others for theirs.

In the last year of my 40’s, we launched the Together Tour, gathering 15,000 women across the country to use the power of storytelling to find purpose and take community-minded social action. For me it was proof positive that anything is possible when you surround yourself with amazing people and believe in the magic of the universe, which is designed to help you live your purpose, and along the way, help you to make even your wildest dreams come true.

As I mentioned, my purpose wasn’t always clear to me. I had to follow the breadcrumbs of my life to point me in the right direction. Once I realized that I’m at my best when I’m using the power of storytelling to shine the light forward so others feel elevated, healed, less alone, and inspired to action, I dedicated the rest of my life to only doing things that serve my purpose-driven mission. Miraculously, the rest fell away and all the right people appeared. It’s a work in progress, of course, and I feel delighted to have the opportunity to keep growing and stretching. Like a great mystery novel, the fun is not getting to the end but instead living inside the thrill of the pages. Something tells me my Grandfather had this exactly right.

Why We Can’t Live Without Our Non-Negotiables

Around the office recently we’ve been talking about Seane Corn’s ‘non-negotiables’ that she shared with us on stage at the Together Tour last year –the six things she commits to each and every day to bring her best self into the world.

 

In tough times, it’s incredibly easy to feel inadequate, overwhelmed and burnt out. Our bodies are accustomed to shutting down and withdrawing, and we often seek substances as a way to change how we feel. But what has worked for Seane is sustainability and commitment.

 

Our Together team is also committed; to ourselves, and to each other. We’ve given a lot of thought to our own non-negotiables. Take a look below at what keeps us happy, healthy and hopeful. And we’d love to hear yours! Send them our way at togetherliveteam@gmail.com.

 

Maggie – Director of Brand Strategy

  • Sleep. If I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I’m truly not a person the next day. I won’t sacrifice my sleep for anything! This is my hard and fast rule of self-care.
  • Therapy. Sometimes you’ve just gotta talk it out. I think a lot of us are taught to sweep the tough stuff under the rug and run away from heartbreak. But running towards it instead is the only way I know how to get through it. It also always feels like I’m doing my future self a solid.
  • Writing. The more I write the more I know what I’m trying to say. Putting pen to paper keeps me centered and helps me figure out where I stand on certain things.
  • Drink water. Easy to do, but easy to forget.
  • Good peeps. Being around my friends and family is the most reliable and best medicine. It’s an instant cure all. But I’ve learned the hard way that it’s about quality over quantity – you have to let go of the things and the people that don’t serve you.
  • IDGAF. Sitting on the sidelines doesn’t feel good anymore. March, write, call, scream and shout. It’s time to go the mattresses. (I’ve never seen The Godfather. This is, obviously, a You’ve Got Mail reference).

 

Jamie – Community Manager

  •  Early-morning routine. Mornings are when I have my precious ‘me’ time. Before I head to the office, I exercise, have coffee & breakfast and read the news. An early start helps me clear my head and stay more focused & energized throughout the day.
  • Well-balanced diet. I’m a big foodie – I love to cook almost as much as I love trying new restaurants and dishes. There are very few foods I won’t eat or try at least once – but portions are key. I love the way my body feels when it’s fueled with healthy foods – but I’ll never say no to a bite of an extra-fudgy brownie or juicy cheeseburger.
  • Exercise. From a casual jog to the two marathons I’ve completed, I’ve always found running to be one of the most calming activities. I also love the fun & competitive aspects of group classes – anything from cycling to yoga to Tabata to Pilates.  No matter the exercise, I try to keep active five times per week.
  • Affection. I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason. But when you see the ones you love continuously get knocked down, it’s hard to keep convincing yourself of that. The universe is funny that way. I’m never guaranteed another day with the people I love the most. So I’ve made a point to tell them how I feel, even with the simplest of texts or shortest of phone calls, each and every day.

 

Caitlin –Director of Operations

  •  Clean eating. In the last few months I’ve shifted to eating a plant based diet. In a typical Western diet, food = pleasure, so we treat mealtime as our tri-daily dopamine hang. But for a moment, let’s put a pin in that and consider another view – that food is medicine. I KNOW, WHAT FUN? But before you hurl yourself into traffic, consider the idea that you ultimately won’t need to “work” (exercise excessively, take a million pills, many visits to specialist doctors etc.) as hard to be healthful, if every few hours you feed your body with medicine instead of those feel good chemicals that ultimately leave you feeling depleted.
  • Sleep. I don’t mess around with sleep.  You know how sometimes your friends are all “Hey wanna hang at some house this weekend where you may be sleeping on a kitchen floor, and I don’t think there’s extra pillows? But it’s ok because life is about adventures right! You coming?? Cait..?” No sir. No I will not be attending. Sleep is my #1 pal. And at this point in my life I know what it takes for me to get it and I don’t compromise that, even for your kitchen floor adventure weekend. Every day your bod gets filled up with toxins, and when you sleep it finally has a ‘lil downtime to clear them out. To get good sleep, I turn my phone off and stop scrolling the internets around 9, and then I watch or read something funny and light-hearted (see “Lolz”). Also, I’ve been reading about how the most important hours of sleep are 11-1am, so I’m trying to get to bed by 10:45ish.
  • Exercise. I’m all about helping my body expel toxins. Working out has always been a part of my life, but something that’s shifted my view for the better was learning that exercise and sweating is one of the most important ways your body rids itself of toxins. This has made it feel like less of a chore. Previously, if I had to choose between more sleep and exercise, sleep would win because I thought sleep=health, and exercise=vanity with a side of health. But now I hold the two with the same regard.
  • Lolz. Just about all of the media I consume is comedy. Books, TV, podcasts etc., my MO is I’m either learning or laughing because life is dramatic enough on its own, I don’t need to drown myself in someone’s made-up garbage problems. I loved how Seane Corn included joy as one of her non-negotiables, because it’s something I’m trying to be more intentional about. But one thing I’ve always been good about is making sure every day I consume some content that makes me laugh.

Let the Madness Begin

For some avid sports fans, March Madness is the most wonderful time of the year. The single-elimination tournament between 68 college teams yields unlikely heroes, unimaginable upsets and unparalleled joy to the players, teams and fans alike.

But it’s not the game-winning buzzer shots or the success of our brackets that we look forward to this year. It’s the passion and soul that’s poured into these games that really warms our hearts. It’s the unique bond we form with coworkers competing in the office pool. It’s the sense of camaraderie we experience rooting for our alma mater. And it’s the admiration we have for the college athletes who dedicate everything they’ve got for the love of the game.

Our Together team can’t wait to watch UConn’s women’s basketball team in this year’s tournament. The Huskies have won 107 consecutive games and will be seeking their fifth consecutive, and 12th overall, NCAA title this year. These girls are on fire.

Here’s What We’re Talking About This Week

Peaceful and Powerful. Here are a few things on our mind this week.

Yesterday we joined together in honor of International Women’s Day to act towards a more inclusive, gender-equal world. Why did we strike? Because we believe in gender justice, in racial justice, and in economic justice. Caregiving and unpaid work is largely devalued by our economic structure and we’re taking action to change that. Did you participate in #ADayWithoutAWoman? Share your reasons why by emailing us at togetherliveteam@gmail.com.

Here are a few other things we’ve been chatting about this week:

  • Music offers a way to publicly share what is often so personal. We’re so inspired by all of the talented musicians who entered the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest. Check out the entries here—your ears will thank us.
  • Vogue is celebrating the extraordinary diversity of style, enterprise and values that define American women today with these breathtaking photographs of leading ladies from coast to coast.
  • We’ve been taking action every 10 days. Get notified how and when to join us by signing up here.

#ADayWithoutAWoman

This year, celebrations of today’s holiday, International Women’s Day, feel different than in year’s past. While this day means something different to everyone, today we’re aligning as one.

 

Women all around the world are celebrating in a number of different ways. From free entry at museums and cultural sites across Europe to strikes and protests in the United States,  we’re coming together to #BeBoldForChange.

 

Are you wearing red in support of revolutionary love and sacrifice? Or demonstrating your commitment to resistance by not engaging in paid or unpaid labor? Perhaps you’re simply reflecting on the women in your life you rely on and how you can offer them support. We’d love to hear how your observing – and what it means to you. Email us at togetherliveteam@gmail.com to share your story.

 

To whatever inspiration is igniting you to take part in today’s celebration, we applaud you, we thank you and we have your back. From the words of one of our favorite poets, Rupi Kaur, “We all move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are.”

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh on Telling Yourself a New Story

The head of WME’s Worldwide Literary, Lectures, and Conference Divisions on the importance of finding self compassion.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Jennifer Rudolph Walsh: Even before I get out of bed, I sit up and meditate for at least 10 minutes. From there, downstairs to make coffee.

TG: What gives you energy?
JRW: Brainstorming and co-creating, deep conversation, laughing.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
JRW: No incoming in the early morning — I read, I dream up ideas, I write letters, I exercise, all proactive. I don’t become reactive until 10 am.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
JRW: Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? JRW: Are you kidding me?! No way!! Arianna would have me excommunicated! My phone sleeps in its bed and I sleep in mine.

TG: How do you deal with email?
JRW: Immediately if possible. I communicate even if to say I don’t have an answer yet. I find silence to create more misunderstandings than an update with little or no change.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?JRW: Call my mom or sister.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
JRW: Three years ago because I was working full on but not making the impact I envisioned. I had to get still and listen to the sound of my breathing, I had to recognize a story I was telling myself that no longer was true or served me, I had to tell a new story. And that required patience that I had to learn.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
JRW: See the above! Through the process of meditating, rewriting my narrative, and finding self compassion, I was able to find a new way forward for my dream of bringing people together through storytelling and finding purpose.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
JRW: In the words of St Julian of Norwich, the great 14th century mystic, “All shall be well, and all shall be well. All manner of things shall be well.” Those words have found me at my most scared like a search and rescue team on the top of a mountain. They remind me what my deep knowing already knows — that it’s all unfolding perfectly in divine time.

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh serves as the head of WME’s Worldwide Literary, Lectures, and Conference Divisions. She spearheaded the launch of WME Live, most recently launching Together (www.togetherlive.com), a nationwide tour focused on purpose, community and action.

Taking in The Together Tour

There’s a lot I don’t know, and that’s putting it mildly.

But I’m a natural seeker, and so I crave knowledge, whether it’s regarding history (say, examining the personal papers of the Founding Fathers for insight into the Great American Experiment) or science (how far has that glacier in Alaska really receded since I stood next to it as a college freshman?) or the spirit (how do the great religious leaders, across the faiths, really feel about redemption?). I like knowing things; always have.

As I age, however, I find myself more and more comfortable with not knowing all the answers. It doesn’t mean that I quit seeking — never that — but it does mean I’m making my way to being okay with the mystery. This is downright wonderful. An incredible relief. A gift.

That being said, I’d like to tell y’all about my night last night: to share with you some of the things I learned.

Because last night I was lucky enough to sit in Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, listening as four astounding women — healers, teachers, faith leaders, writers and activists — shared their stories. As part of something called the Together Tour, speakers Glennon Doyle Melton, Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Seane Corn and Valarie Kaur met onstage as part of “an inclusive, multi-generational gathering where everyone is needed and the audience’s voices are just as important as the storytellers who share the stage.”

Along with several friends, I’d bought a ticket to this event in early summer. I’d heard Glennon Doyle Melton speak two years ago, and fell in love with her beautiful, gut-busting, messy truth-telling. I figured: these days, the world feels particularly rough to me — or, perhaps more likely, I feel more sensitive to the world — and I’m in need of some sheroes (yep, sheroes). Women doing the big, bad, brutal good work.

By the time the event date rolled around, I found myself longing for peace during the clang and clamor of election season. Despite the fact the event was three hours away on a Wednesday night, and meant rearranging everything — kids, dog, work — plus banking on the good grace of my husband, and a dark-as-pitch drive back up into the mountains at one o’clock in the morning, I hoped it would be worth it. I needed it, desperately, to be worth it.

So, despite not knowing much at all, here are some things I know to be true. Things I heard these women say over the course of my evening in Atlanta; things that pinged inside me, in that sweet spot where soul, intellect, and heart meet. I wrote them down in the margins of my program while I sat in the balcony beside my friends. I missed a lot, because each of these brave people had much to say, and I couldn’t write fast enough.

Here goes:

Seane Corne is a yoga teacher and humanitarian. She spoke of losing her beloved father to cancer, and one of the topics she covered was the experience of grief. Grief is an emotion — a scary one — which we tend to numb ourselves to in this country, Corn said. However, it’s a part of the journey, and there is a need for us “to bear witness to the journey as it is.”

Corn said that while lying in bed with her dying father, he shared his regrets, how proud he was of her, how much he loved her, and more. But that she found herself disassociating from the pain, pulling out of the moment. It took many tries for her to really be present, to hear him. She said, “We need to normalize the experience of grief.”

Glennon Doyle Melton talked about the need for us to run towards the pain and the scary things in life, instead of away from them. That we need to do this in spite of the fact that the world tells us — especially us women — to be small and quiet, in oh so many ways. Despite the fact that, “We only talk about shiny feelings in our culture.”

Melton said, “The only thing that grows us is love and pain,” and that, “Grief is just the price of love.” Then — and this one knocked me right in the kisser — she told the audience that we think of growing up and getting older as a series of “becoming,” whether it’s becoming a wife, a mother, a writer, a skinnier, richer version of ourselves. But adulthood, she said, is a process of unbecoming.

Run into the fire of whatever pain you are feeling, Melton said. “It’s not safe, but it’s where the magic is.” And, finally, this: “First the pain and then the rising.”

This is a mere taste of the truths shared over the course of the evening. I only wish all of you—women and men, old and young alike—could’ve been there with me. I walked away with my tank filled. Not absent of fear or free of heartsick for the world, but a bit more ready to walk forward into the mystery.

For more information about the Together Tour and the speakers mentioned above, go to www.togetherlive.com.

Katherine Scott Crawford is a novelist, college English teacher, hiker and mom living in Western North Carolina. Contact her at thewritingscott@gmail.com.

INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER RUDOLPH WALSH: LITERARY BOSS & TOGETHER CREATOR

“My mission on earth is to share stories so people feel less alone.”

 

I love speaking with people who are passionate. They give off such an infectious vibe that feeds your spirit and leaves you smiling. That is exactly what happened when I spoke with the one and only Jennifer Rudolph Walsh.

 

Known for slaying the literary world as Head of the World Wide Literary Department at William Morris Endeavor (WME) and working with clients such as Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington. She is taking on a whole new adventure as creator of Together. An organization dedicated to connecting people through story and fulfilling your purpose.

 

“There is this magical power storytelling has to transform people’s lives.”

 

When speaking of the success of Together’s first 6 city US tour, which had speakers from Hollywood royalty like Alicia Keys, Ciara, and Sophia Bush to Olympic gold medalist, Abby Wambach, and award-winning filmmaker and founder of Groundswell Movement, Valarie Kaur. I couldn’t help but feel I was in a prime position to learn from a powerful woman that has managed to build a career she loves while creating an organization she’s passionate about.

 

During our interview I asked, “What advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?” Here’s what she said:

 

Follow the breadcrumbs that lead you to your purpose. These breadcrumbs are the things that make time fly, that people come to you for and that fill you with energy instead of depleting you. I found my purpose in storytelling and helping thought leaders share their stories far and wide. Once I started to pay attention to my breadcrumbs, I realized people felt enlightened, healed, and lifted up by my work and passion for using storytelling as a way to connect people. From there, my path as a literary agent, mother, friend, and human being became clear and much easier to follow.

 
Surround your with people who make you feel positive and inspired. Don’t waste time with people who make you feel small and unimportant.
Make time for self care and that includes self kindness. Talk to your self the way you would talk to your dear friend, with love and compassion. I call myself sweetheart sometimes, as in “It’s okay, sweetheart. Everyone makes mistakes. Now you know better so you’ll do better.

 
Instead of trying harder, try easier. Don’t force things. Follow the unfolding and realize you do not always have to make things happen. This applies to your personal life, career, and everything in between. Sometimes, when we’re working to force something to happen, we interfere with the process of letting it happen. If you allow things to unfold, the universe will often work things out in your favor.

 
It’s okay to not know the answer. Ask questions. Sleep on things. Save as a draft. Only act when you feel ready, not because you feel compelled to move forward at any cost.

 

In the mist of building a career and a brand that I’m passionate about these words hold truth. I’m a true believer in the power of storytelling and the things you learn from each and every one of them.

 

These words of wisdom may not have been told in a story fashion but that is exactly where they came from. Her personal story of how she got to where she is and where she plans to go.

 

Together is working on their second US tour with plans to start in Spring 2017. For more information about this powerful organization of thought leaders and visionaries visit Together online or to become apart of the Together movement download their app Together Live.

 

Psst…I did!

How Meditating Is Helping Alicia Keys Be a More Mindful Mom: ‘It’s Given Me a Whole New Perspective’

For Grammy-winning artist Alicia Keys, becoming mom to sons Egypt, 6, and Genesis, 21 months, helped her learn to take time for herself in order to best care for others.

 

“It definitely has given me a whole new perspective,” The Voice coach said on stage during the Brooklyn leg of WME’s Together conference, a national tour moderated by Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, on Monday. “I’m overly accommodating, like sickeningly so. I’m becoming better at that.”

 

When Walsh offered the metaphor that taking care of yourself is crucial in the same way that donning your own oxygen mask is imperative before helping others on a plane, Keys laughed in agreement.

 

“That’s my favorite thing they say on the plane,” she said. “Like, ‘You don’t do that, you don’t secure your own mask? What’s the matter with you?’ And somehow I do that same thing.”

 

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

 

Keys explained that she needed a personal overhaul in order to become a more mindful mother and artist.

 

“I needed to clear the negative space, the negative people in my space… [which] probably should’ve happened years ago,” she says. “But now, there’s even more of a reason. My purpose is so much bigger, it’s so much bigger than me.”

 

So now, having “never quite committed to the ‘mental’ before,” Keys meditates daily.

 

“It’s been really important for me,” she says of her practice. “I started time and time [again], tried it, fell asleep. But now it’s a need. It’s a yearning, a desire.”

 
Her time alone has become non-negotiable.

 

“Some days I have 15 minutes, some days I have 40 minutes, some days I have five minutes where I have to take that time, because if I don’t I literally feel off,” she says. “And I can tell the difference in the choices that I’m making… my center is off. I feel shaken a bit more, but when I do it I feel sturdy.”

INC.com: The Nationwide Tour that’s Helping Women Win – Together

A new tour is taking the country by storm. Here’s how it started – and where it’s going.

A well-respected figure in the literary world, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh is known for running the Worldwide Literary Department at William Morris Endeavor (WME), and has been named to the Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment list for five consecutive years.

 

If that wasn’t enough, lately she’s been tackling an entirely new challenge: launching a new event series and community-based movement, Together, aimed at women. The Together tour features, “a voice for every single type of perspective,” as Walsh puts it.

 

For as long as she remembers, she’s been in love with storytelling, so it seemed natural for her to dedicate her entire life to storytellers and their “vulnerable truths.” Walsh has a penchant for being tuned in to authentic voices. “When I hear it, I know it.” She has a near messianic desire “to spread the light of truth.”

 

In a lot of ways, Together is organized around the principle that everyone needs purpose. “Purpose is not just something for famous people,” says Walsh “Every single person needs a purpose. It’s a necessity.” She believes it’s incredibly vital to people’s well being.

 

The Inspiration to Create a Movement
After helping create Arianna Huffington’s Thrive conference and Oprah Winfrey’s The Life You Want tour, Walsh uncovered a newfound passion for the power of live events.

 

At the same time, she discovered there was a market need. The energy of these tours and conferences often waned afterwards; there was no mechanism for keeping continuity with this community that had been created. Walsh would work on these large-scale events but then when she got home, she crashed back to reality. She began thinking of an event series could keep that excitement going afterwards, so that “when we come back to your town next year, it’s like a reunion.”

 

At the same time, the conference might not even be an annual thing. “I’m not convinced about annual,” she says – not because of a lack of interest, but perhaps because there’s too much interest to wait a year. One company in Portland, for example, said if Together came back sooner, they’d buy out the whole theater. “Maybe it’s twice a year. Maybe it’s three times a year.”

 

Eager to sustain that type of community in between live events, Walsh dreamt up Together, an annual “unconference” that brings women of different backgrounds together to support one another in the name of change. Moreover, Together would be designed to become a community post-event. To ensure the conversation keeps going post-event, the tour is accompanied by an app, Together Live, designed to foster community over the long-term.

 

The Tour so Far
Together, which kicked off in September 2016 across six US cities (tickets are still on sale for its final stops in Atlanta and Denver), considers itself to be “flipping the script” on typical women’s empowerment events. Those events tend to be focused on topics such as breaking the glass ceiling, work-life balance, and “leaning in.” By contrast, Together frames itself as a generation and background-agnostic attempt to bring women together in the name of “action, love, well-being, and connection.”

 

The Together tour features a diverse set of inspirational speakers such as author Glennon Doyle Melton, internationally celebrated yoga teacher Seane Corn, filmmaker Valarie Kaur and activist Reverend Dr. Jacqui Lewis. Moreover, each city Together visits features special guests: Alicia Keys recently joined the tour in Brooklyn.

 

Lessons Learned
Unsurprisingly, putting on an event series isn’t child’s play. Plenty of mistakes are made along the way, so Walsh has had a chance to learn from previous events she’s worked on. One event went on sale four months early, which was a big mistake in her eyes: these days, most people are unwilling to commit to just about anything that far in advance. Another good lesson: a lower price point makes sense if you’re trying to make something inclusive.

 

Most conferences of this type are focused on limiting space and including serious price tags; Walsh leaned in the opposite direction when creating Together, with prices as low as $25 for admission. “I can’t say this is about building together, healing together, if it’s not inclusive.” Together’s embrace of inclusiveness is mission critical to her, which led her to seek out sponsors like Life Reimagined by AARP and State Farm. Of course, WME has also been a huge proponent of the Together conference.

 

Thinking Long-term
Walsh’s advice to others looking to starting a movement: it has to be close to your heart. In many ways, it’s a labor of love – and without that love, the hours of hard labor won’t seem worth it. After all, most labors of love tend to be additional projects intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs take on in addition to their typical workload, and Walsh is no exception. She sits on WME’s board; moreover, her department accounts for more New York Times bestsellers than any other literary agency in the world: sixty percent, by some accounts. She has worked with some of the biggest names in the literary industry, including Ann Brashares (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), Ken Burns (The Civil War), and Marcus Buckingham (First Break All the Rules), among many others.

 

Despite all of that, Together is a long-term focus for her. “I want this to be global,” she says. “I want people to be renting RVs to get here.” Down the line, she’s love to even use virtual reality to improve accessibility – and what’s a better way to bring a community, well, together?

 

Does this sound ambitious? Probably. “People said you can’t do all things,” says Walsh. “Well, watch us.”

SELF: How Bestselling Author Glennon Doyle Melton Is Healing Others By Healing Herself

Glennon Doyle Melton understands the importance of being honest. That’s why she’s sharing her story on the Together Live tour.

Bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton spent 20 years of her life battling bulimia, alcoholism, and drug addiction. In 2002, she became pregnant, and she decided to get sober. Since then, Melton has started an award-winning blog and written two New York Times bestsellers, including her newest book, Love Warrior, a memoir about her journey of self-discovery after the breakdown of her marriage. She’s passionate about healing others by inspiring them to speak honestly about their experiences and their fears—and she leads by example, always ready to share her own story.
Melton’s latest endeavor is the Together Live tour, an event that’s all about inspiring and empowering women around the country. Melton co-created the tour with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment board member Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, yoga teacher and activist Seane Corn, and community organizer and filmmaker Valarie Kaur—all with the mission of uniting women through honesty (look out for Kaur’s moving essay in our November issue, on newsstands later this month). The national tour is stopping in six cities, and features appearances from celebrities like Sophia Bush and Alicia Keys.
Here, Melton shares her advice for young women and reveals what inspired her to get involved with Together Live.
On why she started writing.
“I was trying to stay sober. I started going to recovery meetings and fell in love with the brutal honesty that was happening. I thought, ‘If this is how people stay sober and survive, why can’t we do this everywhere?’ So I decided to start blogging, and it grew organically from there.”
On why honesty matters.
“One of the reasons we stay so alone in our lives is because we’re ashamed to talk about the hard stuff. It’s as simple as that. We’re all in pain in different ways, and we don’t get the help we need because we’re too ashamed to talk about the pain. It’s not the pain that takes us out of the game—it’s the shame. I was lucky enough to know from recovery that talking about hard stuff in respectful ways works. So I’m using the same strategy to heal the world that I did to heal myself: truth telling.”
On what it’s like to be a bestselling author.
“It’s really busy, and it’s confusing sometimes. I keep reminding myself of something my dad says: ‘When you get to the party, you dance with the one who brought you.’ So I’m focusing on truth telling and service. You go on the road, you tell the truth, and you serve the ones you see.”
On finding time for self-care.
“This is the busiest I’ve ever been. But the one thing that heals me is water. Whether it’s a glass of water, sweat from the elliptical, a good cry (which I do about every other day), or the Gulf of Mexico—I get some water involved in my life whenever I need a break.”
On her advice for women everywhere.
“Figure out what breaks your heart. We all have this misunderstanding about heartbreak, which is we think we should avoid it. But what I think is that heartache is a clue toward the work we’re supposed to be doing in the world. What breaks each person’s heart is different—be it racial injustice, war, or animals. And when you figure out what it is that breaks yours, go toward it. That’s where you’ll find the people doing world healing work. I really think all we’re here for is purpose and connection, so follow your heartbreak.”
On the Together Live tour.
“I’m taking my own advice about following heartbreak. Book tours are super hard for me as a raging introvert. I love humanity, but actual humans are hard for me. So something like a book tour—where I’m constantly on the road—scares the hell out of me. But I decided to use this time to do good work—that’s how I’d survive. Jennifer and I got together and thought, ‘What does the world need right now?’ And we decided that in this heated, divisive time in our country, we needed a movement of women who were leading with love and strength. We want to celebrate differences. What I’ve learned is that if you want peace, all you really have to do is introduce people to each other. The closer you get to people who are different than you, the more you learn that we’re all same.”

 

Hear from Melton and several other incredible women on the Together Live tour this October. The tour has already traveled to Portland, and is heading to Los Angeles, Chicago, Brooklyn, Atlanta, and Denver in the coming weeks. Click here to buy tickets and to learn more about the tour. You can also join the Together Live community by downloading the free app.

Motto: Making ‘Together We Rise’ A Reality

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh on how our tour plans to unite and connect women

There is a jar on my desk that was given to me for my birthday that says “TOGETHER WE RISE.” It’s filled with slips of paper from my friends and colleagues, each holding some piece of wisdom I shared at a critical moment in their lives—words that made a difference and made them feel less alone. One says, “It’s not what happens, it’s what happens next.” Another says, “Try easier.” On days when I feel a little lost, I pull one out, and each time I read one it fills me with a sense of satisfaction. Not the “I’m important” kind of satisfaction, but the quiet kind that exists deep inside and reminds me I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

I wasn’t given this jar because I am a fountain of wisdom and knowledge. Quite the opposite: I’m no thought leader; I’m a thought follower. As the co-head of the Worldwide Literary Department at William Morris Endeavor, I have dedicated my life to working with authors and storytellers to help their words reach the largest audiences across the world. I’ve been blessed to work closely with people who have changed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in, from Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg to Sue Monk Kidd and Brené Brown.

Much of what’s in my birthday jar originates with these thought leaders, and the gratitude I pay to them is putting their wisdom deep in my heart and boiling it down to a good strong broth that I serve as my own brand of love, inspiration, support and community. I’ve come to understand that my purpose on earth is to shine light forward so people feel less alone. And it was out of my deepest desire to bring these storytellers’ magic and wisdom to the whole world that WME’s Live Events Division was born.

Like many of you, I grew up watching “The Oprah Winfrey Show” every afternoon. I learned just about everything that has made me who I am today from that show. It was a dream come true when I had the opportunity a few years ago to help create a multi-city speaking tour featuring Oprah and key thought leaders called “The Life You Want.”

Oprah called the tour “the largest open-hearted classroom in the world,” and it was. I met woman after woman who had been knocked down by life and stood up again or needed a hand to stand again. Regardless of where each of us was in our lives, we all needed a hand with something. I never wanted it to end, and it pained me each week when everyone inevitably had to pack up, part ways and go back to the chaos of juggling life. I wanted to create a tour where people had a way to continue to connect, inspire and get into action all year.

That’s how and why the Together tour was born.

This fall, the WME Live Events Division is kicking off a national tour to bring women together and create communities that stay together long after the tour ends. The Together tour is a community-minded, multi-generational movement where everyone is welcome. We’ll be traveling to six cities across the country including Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Denver. Each event will be an interactive night of sisterhood, spirited storytelling and inspired social action.

We hope to create an inclusive community of women across the country and to continue these conversations when the event is over through Together circles. We’ll offer opportunities to live our purpose through volunteering, mentoring and social action. Together we will keep the community connected and will continue to grow alongside each other.

When I met our Together co-creators, Glennon Doyle Melton, Seane Corn and Valarie Kaur, I knew I had found true partners who shared in the belief that we are all stronger together. Since then, our Together family has grown to include Jacqui Lewis, Abby Wambach, Gina Rodriguez, Geena Rocero, Sophia Bush and Ciara who will join us as special guests in each city. If you choose to join us for the night, you’ll quickly find that your story is just as important as the ones you’ll hear on stage.

I’m not a scientist, but being the professional thought-follower that I am, I can tell you that the antidote to being overwhelmed is shifting to purpose and finding a community that supports it. Our world is in critical need of coming together. And the great news is that there really is enough to go around— enough success, happiness, healing and love for every single one of us.

As the jar on my desk says, TOGETHER WE RISE. Please join us as we do just that.

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh serves as the head of WME’s Worldwide Literary, Lectures, and Conference Divisions. She spearheaded the launch of WME Live, most recently launching Together (www.togetherlive.com), a nationwide tour focused on purpose, community and action.