I decided to call my newsletter “imaggienation” as a playful way to capture my ongoing investigations of truth(telling) and imagining. I think of myself as someone who has always relied heavily on imagination – to overcome life challenges, as well as to envision better and brighter future for myself and others.

Recently, I have been reflecting on and exploring imagination anew as practicing radical honesty has drawn me to develop moment-to-moment awareness of what is perceivable versus imagined as a way to stay grounded in the present moment, and take responsibility for my experiences. I plan to use this platform to share fragments of my journey and my imagination, and I’d be happy if apart from a self-reflection and documentation tool, this newsletter proves useful or inspiring to its readers.

What I've been up to

What has been on my mind recently?

  • Questioning the utility of trusting – In the past months I’ve been exploring a pattern which I’ve had since I can remember myself. In this repeating pattern I long to trust others, and as a result I end up gifting them my trust in good faith, frequently before they’ve done anything to deserve it, and sooner or later they do something that leaves me so disappointed, I find myself incapable and unmotivated to continue communicating with them. The point of severe disappointment is often preceded by small fuckups which are in the realm of what I find acceptable (I imagine that I’m writing this as an attempt to portray myself as not easily offendable.) It’s a pattern I’d like to change because, frankly, I don’t want to live with so many disappointments. I’d rather not see myself as a victim, and take responsibility about my role in creating these experiences with others. Many have told me that I shouldn’t trust easily – or perhaps at all. And I’ve tried that with questionable success, but it has not improved my sense of wellbeing or satisfaction with relationships. My friend Martin Rohani believes that trusting may be useless altogether, and that we should simply respond to what comes up in situations. I am still trying to process, and integrate this perspective with some resistance as trust has gone hand in hand with my understanding of love, friendship and respect.
  • Can an entrepreneur be a good manager as well? This question has arisen for me in the process of struggling heavily with managing long-term volunteers and staff within my organization in the past year. Time after time my inexperience as a manager, as well as my difficulty to enforce consequences, and undue expectations for mutual understanding and reciprocity blowing in my face have left me feel inadequate. Therefore, I found some solace in this article claiming that the entrepreneur and manager skillsets are vastly different, and largely don’t overlap. I’ve also been wondering if I want to engage in management of people at all, but since so far I see this as a necessary aspect of having impact in the world, I’ve been trying to maintain a growth mindset doing whatever I can to learn how to be a better manager.
  • Self-enrealment vs self-improvement – I first heard of self-enrealment in this video by Radical Honestry trainer Jura Glo in which she reminds us of the so called “paradox of change” – that the more we try to change, the more we stay the same. In contrast, as Jeff Brown explains, enrealment is “the idea that a more ‘heightened’ consciousness is not all about the light (as enlightenment often implies), but is about becoming more authentically human—flaws and all, and more genuinely here in all respects: shadow and light, earth and sky, grocery list and unity consciousness. Enrealment is about living in all aspects of reality simultaneously rather than only in those realms that feel the most comfortable.” He concludes that “Our expansion is directly linked to our capacity to experience our spirituality in inclusive and authentic terms. We are not just the light, or the mind, or the emptiness, or eternal positivity. We are the everything.” Through practicing Radical Honesty actively for about 6 months now, I’ve embarked on this path of “enrealment”, and I feel stimulated, more alive, and also terrified by it. In the past months I have started to access and notice my anger which I imagine I used to internalize as sadness or depression, and while I’m happy to be able to open up my awareness to the experience of anger, it has been flooding from all directions which is highly uncomfortable for me. I am not used to it. I miss joy, and I make myself sad thinking that my only source of joy in the past 2 months has been my baby dog, Sunny. As I’m committing to being radically honest with myself and others, I have dropped many pretenses and acts (although certainly not all!), and I’m trying to figure out moment to moment which of my impulses (to calm people down, to be nurturing, to be “warm”, etc.) are genuine, and which are automatic reactions to manipulate others into seeing me a certain way or to play along with gender roles, etiquette, morals and what-not. I’m confused at the moment. And I remind myself of my sociological interest with Goffman’s theory of performativity in college. For Goffman the self is a performance, shaped by social norms. Yet, Radical Honesty invites us to become aware of and disclose our performance as a way to liberate ourselves.

What I've been up to

In July we had our Gergina camp, part of a 3-step empowerment program for rural girls from around Bulgaria we piloted last fall at SolidarityWorks. The program is named after my high school founder Gergina Toncheva, a teacher and mentor of mine, as well as a prominent benefactor of Bulgarian culture and education. I personally owe a lot to Mrs Toncheva as she not only encouraged my early social entrepreneurship endeavors, but also provided me with a scholarship to travel on a school trip to Turkey when I was 16. This was my first trip abroad, and an important benchmark which awakened the adventurer and explorer in me. My first travels led me to fall in love with far-away lands, cultures and people, as well as broaden my horizons and my comfort zone beyond the limits of my prior imagination. In the Gergina program for rural girls we aimed to broaden our participants’ imagination of what is possible for a woman – professionally, emotionally and as effective changemakers in a world that desperately need a female touch. (I cringed a bit upon writing this because I dislike gender essentialism, but I’m also prejudiced to think that the future is definitely female.) 

We also organized three 7-day Immersion Academy camps for Bulgarian youth where Eliza Pankova and I led emotional care and leadership workshops in English to support our participants development into effective changemakers. I met some great young people who gave me confidence in the younger generation, and I also struggled with my facilitation skills (I imagine it has to do with me not wanting to be preachy, and to enter a teacher’s role) and social exhaustion.
Through these experiences I became more acutely aware of how much young people (teenagers in this case) are suffering, and not finding adequate support, as well as how difficult it is for me after two years of running such programs to keep myself motivated and high energy in the face of countless challenges, and often – lack of appreciation. So I’m currently reevaluating everything, and opening space for new answers to the question “What’s next?” both for me individually, and for us as an organization. As a follow up our participants are organizing events for peers on various social topics to raise awareness, and practice their skills as event organizers and non-formal educators.

I’m afraid that my 1st newsletter edition is becoming too long, so for now I’ll spare you the story of the only date I’ve been since my breakup in March. It was possibly the best date I’ve ever had, all thanks to Radical Honesty. Open my newsletter next month to read the juicy details, and hopefully I’ll have something more recent to share as I’d like to find motivation to go on more dates in the next weeks :D.

Current explorations


I’m starting a 9-month online Radical Honesty personal practice course and I ran into references of Susan Campbell which led me to this book I’m nowadays reading.

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