tell someone

experiments in belonging

So last week I shared with you the application letter I'll be submitting soon to Ann Friedman for her writing fellowship.

I've got it down to a page now! (If you dance your way to the bottom of this post you can see the latest iteration.)

I really appreciate the feedback I received from some of you. Thank you! Please, keep it coming! I will submit the application this Friday the 14th.

I wonder if you are like this too...

...when faced with an application, job interview, or simply meeting with another exciting human, I can easily become overwhelmed with what is being asked of me and / or all that I want to ask and share.

When this happens I oscillate between drawing a complete blank or over-sharing details of something often completely unrelated.

With writing out the application letter to Ann Friedman, I decided to make it as easy as could be.

She did the hard work of discerning what she wanted to know. I just needed to – as clearly as I could – tell her.

I copy and pasted the application prompt and then bullet pointed what she wanted to know (and expanded each to be a clear, full sentence):

  • Tell me who you are
  • Tell me what you’re interested in
  • Tell me what your goals are
  • Tell me about the work you’re currently doing
  • Tell me about the work you want to do in 2022

Three elements she told me to imbue throughout:

  • "Focus on what you want to create, not the attention you hope it will garner"
  • Be as specific as you can
  • Write human to human

I'm breaking it all down like this because...

I wonder if you might like to invite a small 'experiment in belonging' in right now – together?

I'd recommend reading through before you begin.

Choose your own adventure...

On the device of your choice, open a window to compose a new email and either:

  1. Type my email in -> To: cassandra (at) bewithcassandra (dot) com
  2. Or think of someone in your life you want to intentionally (re)connect with. Find their email address and type it in -> To: someone (at) coolstuff (dot) com

Choose one of the five "Tell me..." bullets:

  • Tell me who you are
  • Tell me what you’re interested in
  • Tell me what your goals are
  • Tell me about the work you’re currently doing
  • Tell me about the work you want to do in 2022

It's Not About Finality

Reading the question "Tell me who you are" or any of the others... WOW, that could likely bring your inner thoughts and feelings to a screeching halt. 

"Who am I?!?" 

"What are my goals?!"

Marc'e Merrell, a strong+soft writer and writing teacher, invited each of us in the writing circle I joined to respond to the questions:

"Who are you today?" 


"Where are you from today?"

I'm not sure who she learned this from but when responding to Ann Friedman's questions I silently added "today" at the end of each. It's sweet how one word can lovingly embrace my inner-freak-out-millennial-who-would-only-ever-use-pencil-if-she-even-used-a-paper-planner.

Jump in and start writing with clear and simple language. Well, you can go for flowery and abundant language... just make it easy for yourself! Encourage it to come onto the digital page however it wishes.

As you write, infuse it with the three elements:

"Focus on what you want to create, not the attention you hope it will garner."
Be as specific as you can
Write human to human

Read what you wrote – maybe read it aloud. Try not to edit too much of yourself out.

Maybe add something sweet and kind at the beginning asking how they are feeling and what they're up to right now.

You could also add a link to this post – in webpage form – by way of explanation and invite them to join in on this 'experiment in belonging' party.

And then either:

  1. Send the email on its merry way!
  2. Change the recipient email to your own email address. Then send it!

Sending it to yourself?

Seeing a complete email in your inbox may offer polish to your "Tell me..." share that wouldn't be attainable if you leave the note in your drafts folder. I believe that the act of shipping something – even if to yourself – can have a positive, self-affirming effect. 

I love cards – greeting cards. Every now and then I buy a card that I love with the intention of writing in it and sending it to myself. Often, I do this after a special experience like returning from a trip or completing a big project. I'll write a letter to myself, sharing about the experience and what is resonating with me in that moment. And then send it off – to myself! The cards are deeply infused with that moment in time and who I was then. 

Some things you don't want to share with other people – other things you do want to share. You get to choose when, how, and what!

Why do all this?

Because the more you share about what really matters to you, the more potential you invite in for nourishing connection and meaningful co-creation!

Because the more you share about who you are today, the more potential you invite in for inner and outer alignment and authenticity!

Of course, the person you send this to may not jive with what you've shared. And that's awesome information, too. "No, thank you" gives us just as much quality information – if not more! Hopefully shared in constructive ways –  as "Yes, please."

"In the Midst" Together

As I dive deeper into the process of co-creation, I realize what I find so juicy is being in the midst of something with others.

That "in the midst" quality can inspire uncertainty and vague fuzziness just as much as inspiration and synthesis. It can give way to individuals and collectives stretching themselves into new ways of thinking, being and doing!

It's why I share a straightforward one-page application letter that I'm in the midst of forming. The not-yet-doneness of it pulls back the curtain on my life, which perhaps nudges you to ponder how you could do the same, in your own unique way.

Happy experimenting! Whatever comes of what you try out, know that I'm with you.

Co-Creation Classifieds are back!

I share co-creation classifieds quite infrequently. But when I do, you can know it counts.

What are these classifieds?

Monthly at most, likely less often, I hold space for you and us to share what is going on co-creatively. I am choosing to center readers of this fine newsletter and what you bring to the collective table – and sometimes what I bring, too.

  1. GoFundMe support opportunities for families in Mary's JOY Program

Mary (a Be With Cassandra reader since the beginning!) leads a JOYful nature-based learning program in Boulder, Colorado. We were emailing back and forth and she shared about how the Marshall fire completely destroyed the homes of multiple families who attend her program.

All of the people in the families are physically okay though some pets were sadly lost and of course all of their belongings. I hadn't put two and two together that this was her hometown so I'm glad we were emailing.

If you have the capacity and ability to give to these families who lost their homes you can do so by visiting their fund pages: the Lanzano family, the Gheissari Delwo family, the Carson family, and the Delaplain family.

The more I bring cooperation and co-creation into conversation with others, the more I hear people seeking to foster connection specifically with their neighbors. Our neighborhoods – every single one of them, from downtown to South Side, suburbs to country, reservation to high-rise – we all have the chance to access joy, choice and response-ability; we all have the chance to nurture reciprocal relationships with our neighbors.

Whether that reciprocity comes in the form of hello's when you take out the trash, shoveling an elder's driveway free from snow, or supporting a home rebuild... every little bit does seem to count.

Thank you, Mary, for supporting these families on a daily basis – and when crisis occurs.

2. Save the date, nurture your sense of place – February 14, 2022

With the support of Nicole Corbo, a frequent co-creator and Be With Cassandra reader, I'm facilitating a virtual Teacher Wellness workshop about nurturing your sense of place. This workshop will be a part of Roots and Sky Learning's Winter PDLS (Professional Development Learning Series aka.... PUDDLES!).

We'll be gathering the evening of Monday February 14, 2022. If you'd like to treat yourself to some personal care on a Monday eve that just so happens to be a day (randomly? by Hallmark? who knows...!) chosen to be about love... save the date for this experience.

I'll share more details as they come.

My wish for you today.... to co-create with intention, joy, and compassion – in the midst of all that unfolds.

Til next time,


Into reading about process? Read about dreaming and building in public.