We live in a fast-paced world where slowing down isn’t easy or encouraged. Time for self-reflection is limited. Kindness is often overlooked and viewed as a weakness. In the midst of all the busy, it can be easy to lose perspective and forget about the things – big and small – that make our lives good. After a series of life events that left me feeling mentally drained and physically exhausted, I decided I needed a (hard) reset. That’s how this book came to be.
This journal is a compilation of some of the questions I asked myself during a break I took during the summer of 2017.
It’s a combination of things that I’ve done, people I’ve met, conversations I’ve had, and situations I’ve been in. Many of you are weaved throughout these pages. Because I chose to slow down and embrace stillness, I learned to find calm in the storms of life. I discovered how to find joy during times of great pain. And I learned to recognize and embrace every single experience because each has made me the person that I am.
This gift is patience. It’s heartbreak. It’s persistence. And it’s restoration. It’s how I found my invincible summer.
This gift is me.
My faith is the grounding for who I am. It’s what keeps me going (and gave me the courage to take a work break). I’m Christian, so those principles are at the foundation of the 30 questions and scriptures that are included here. But alongside each day’s question for self-reflection and Bible verse is a quote that has inspired me.
So, I offer this journal to anyone who wants to slow down, look inward and tune into that still, small voice.
Each day’s journal entry asks you to write about what you’re grateful for that day and to think about a particular aspect of your life. Although not a magic bullet, I found that when things didn’t seem to be going right, thinking about what I was grateful for helped to change my perspective so that I focused on what was good in my life rather than what was not.
Reflecting on the person that I am helped me to stay grounded and create a vision of where I wanted to be. And the last part of each day – doing something kind for someone else – reinforced that vision by taking concrete action to change someone else’s day for the better. In a time when political divides run deep and tweets with real-world consequences dominate the daily news cycle, qualities like consideration, empathy, and support of others seem even more important.
I’m not one to give directives, but my hope in sharing these questions is that you’ll think about what you’re thinking about – the person you are, who you hold dear, how you spend your time, the values you hold most important and your vision for your future. The themes in this journal reflect my journey; they are self-caring and reflection, showing gratitude for others, applying lessons learned, taking steps to tackle difficult situations, and thinking about the future I wanted.
The thread that holds all of these together?
Guidance from the still, small voice inside.
AUTHOR SHERICE PERRY
After fast-paced years working in health care policy in the Obama administration, it was only when Sherice Perry slowed down that she finally achieved an elusive goal: renewal and rediscovery.
For Sherice, working at the Department of Health and Human Services on health care wasn’t just a dream job – it was a journey of a lifetime. Her own lupus diagnosis underscored just how much millions of Americans depended on affordable, reliable care, especially the low-income families, women, and communities of color for whom she had spent over a decade as an advocate.
By summer 2017, Sherice arrived at a realization dramatically different from most Washingtonians in a hurry: She needed to hit pause for the sake of her own health – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Over the summer months, journaling became Sherice’s gateway to self-reflection. Putting pen to paper restored her confidence in herself and helped her regain a vision for her future. In this 30-day reflectional, Sherice lays out the path she took on this journey of rediscovery in the hopes that others can navigate their own way forward.
A native New Yorker and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Sherice holds a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and studied at Oxford University. Today, she is serving in the Biden-Harris administration focusing on equity in the COVID-19 pandemic response. Recognizing the influence youth sports had on her life, Sherice also loves delving into projects that explore the power of sport to change individuals, communities, and society.
INVINCIBLE SUMMER: A 30 - DAY REFLECTIONAL ON THE POWER OF KINDNESS IS SHERICE’S FIRST BOOK.