Updates and musings…

The Holistic Approach of Alternative Medicine ...

The Holistic Approach of Alternative Medicine symbolized by the aura of man. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several weeks have now passed since I decided to take a blogging break while contemplating how to go forward.  I’ve wound up in another round of unwinding, not sleeping and being too dazed to accomplish much so I’ve reached no firm conclusions.

But I am really clear that I’m glad I eliminated a bunch of blog subscriptions and have been pretty cavalier about which blogs I do and don’t read.  It’s been a huge relief to spend so much less time on slogging through blogs.

As far as my faves, you’ve probably not noticed much difference because I still read and like and comment on your lovely blogs. There a lot of folks I follow who are rarely getting a look from me.  Generally means (1) they don’t ever interact with me in a way that lets me know they’re engaged and/or (2) they sometimes have great posts but aren’t consistently interesting to me and/or (3)  what I can see on the Reader hasn’t grabbed my attention enough to get me to read more.  Saving all that time has felt SO freeing!

I haven’t been writing as much, more because of the debilitating muscle/sleep issues than any intent to not be writing.  The good news on the muscle front is that I’ve hit another one of those new levels of open that feels wondrous — who knew a face could feel this good?  Not done yet though.  Based on what I feel so far, it must feel amazing to have a completely relaxed face.

I have been working a bit, on the Wizard game blog, at spacing out publishing when I work on several ideas at once and I’m liking the way that keeps things going over time.  It takes some pressure off of the no-ideas times if I’ve spread out the scheduling of posts in the moments when I’m full of topics and words.  So I am committed to playing with that.

I definitely plan to keep J2P Monday going. I’m teetering about Collective Prayer Sunday…  I also want to start an ongoing series of posts about my long healing journey, including observations about western medicine vs. alternative medicine, combined with a general look at the relationship between physical and spiritual healing.  Don’t much like having a particular day on which I’m committed to posting, so they’ll just appear sporadically.

So, at the end of the first week of the new year that’s my story.  And I’m sticking to it.  At least until another moment brings another story 🙂

What’s my blogging goal?

london-underground.blogspot.com/2008/08/bloggi...

london-underground.blogspot.com/2008/08/blogging-from-ori… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I’ve contemplated my future in blogging, I’ve found myself wondering what it is I want out of it.  I’ve realized that some of my early goals are not going to come to pass–were probably not even part of the reason I was called to blog–and it’s time to let them go.  And that the process has led me to several outcomes I cherish.

REFINING AND DEEPENING MY JOURNEY

Every time I stop to reflect on my latest insights or to put my beliefs and my journey into words, I deepen my own understanding of this spiritual journey.  Every time I choose where to put my focus as I write a post, I support my intention to be peace, to be healthy and whole.

Because of the blog, I constantly examine my journey and my beliefs, looking for words of wisdom to share.  Now, I’m pretty deeply into self-examination so some of that would happen anyway.  But there’s an extra something that happens as part of choosing to write about my thoughts and share my insights.  It keeps me more mindful and aware.

For instance, as I’ve written my series of posts about using the ho’oponopono prayer*, I’ve become far more conscious of the many times and ways every day I can use it to heal myself and everything I see as a problem in the world.  I started with awareness of the prayer but only sporadically remembered to use it and I now say it many times a day.

FINDING A VOICE

I’d been writing “insights” and putting them up on a web site for some time before blogs were even a thing and eventually wove them into a book that’s still sitting here.  Although a recent re-read/edit of the book showed it to be better than I remembered, in general I felt like the insights I posted were stilted and pedantic.

Before I started blogging, shorter and pithier little essays started forming in my head regularly.  Exploring that in meditation I was told to start a blog.  I barely knew what a blog was but I researched, found WordPress and voila.

As I wrote these pieces I kept an eye on length and have maintained an intention to be succinct and keep it brief, though the average length has grown from my original attempt at 300-400 words.  Over time my writing style became more conversational and less formal and I found myself liking the things I wrote much better than I liked those older pieces.

I suspect that finding my voice as a writer was a big piece of the inner nudge to start a blog.

COMMUNITY: LOVE REACHING AROUND THE WORLD

The biggest unexpected surprise of blogging has been the great community of blogging friends I’ve found.  Every day I spend an hour or two absorbed in the deep journeys and thoughts of spiritual bloggers around the world and every day I feel the energy of our love and peace reaching out to enfold the earth.

I’ve gotten to meet a couple of bloggers and hope to meet many more.  The bloggers with whom I regularly interact inspire me, teach me, lead me to explore every day.  It’s hard to express how greatly I value what I receive from being part of this community.

WHAT IT’S NOT DOING

Since I’d finished my book not that long before I started blogging, my mind decided I’d been led to this in order to create my “platform” so I could show agents and publishers my big following and get the book launched.  The blog has certainly grown, but very slowly and I’ve finally realized that spiritual blogging is unlikely to provide me the kind of numbers I’d need to convince the publishing industry I can produce sales.

Over these years I’ve noticed that generally (by no means in all cases), spiritual blogs with big numbers tend to have an established name attached, whether of an institution (say, Tricycle) or a person (i.e. Wayne Dyer).  Unlike mainstream blogging, where great travel photos, parenting advice, recipes or snarkiness can “go viral” and draw big numbers, the spiritual journey of an unknown (i.e. not famous) person is unlikely to draw tens of thousands of followers.

I’ve tried to participate in popular “challenges” and events like NaBloPoMo, etc. but I’ve found that generally my blog doesn’t turn out to be the cup of tea for the mainstream bloggers who are the majority I encounter.  And I often have trouble bending prompts to fit the topic of spiritual journey (Sreejit is a big exception with his prompts that invite deep exploration — thanks so much!) as they’re generally not designed for inner searching or metaphysical thinking. I put in a lot of time and energy to participate and rarely grow my numbers by enough to justify it.

While musing about blogging I suddenly realized it’s time to let go of “platform building” as a goal.  The benefits of blogging have not been about the numbers but about the inner growth, the writing practice and the wonderful friends I’ve made.  By letting go of the underlying desire to see my stats going up, I think I can let go of a lot of time put in on activities I don’t especially like and just participate for the deeper, more valuable gifts I receive.


*For a post with versions of the prayer see here.  You can also click the Journey2Peace link at the top of the page and find many posts in recent months exploring this topic.

Sideways break… I kind of liked it

Levitating, Meditating, Flute-playing Gnu

Levitating, Meditating, Flute-playing Gnu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My break didn’t go quite as planned.  The first day or two I did relax, exercise, meditate, reflect on the future…  Then the unwinding started again.  Big time.  Somehow when I can’t sleep and my face is yanking around for hours at a time I find it pretty much impossible to meditate and any sort of schedule goes out the window.

THE MUSCLES

At one point I described the muscles behind my eyes as feeling as if they were rooted through the earth and wrapped around a mountain in China and it was a toss up whether the roots would release and let my eyes go or the muscles were going to pull a mountain on to my head….  OK, yes, it’s a little dramatic 🙂 but it was the best I could do to try to describe how it felt.

As of last night the muscles that would not budge finally started unwinding — yea, apparently no mountain-on-head scenario to ensue…  They’re so tight I don’t have a clue how much longer but I’m ecstatic to feel them opening at last.

I did manage, in my one good meditation, to have a good session with my council of guides who assured me the visions and ideas I’ve been putting together about the future are where I’m going but now is not the time to worry about how to get there.  This process has to be completed first.  The lesson in patience goes on … at the moment I’m not learning it very well…

BLOGGING BREAK

Even though I didn’t get to spend the week quite as planned, I did keep up with my blogging break.  Not only did I not write posts, but I cut way back on how much time I spent on reading blogs.  And I really enjoyed it.

I realized I have some decisions to make about how much time I want to be putting into this.  The easiest decision is to cut back on reading blogs.  I’ve politely followed far too many.  I never do read everything, but generally I really try to get around to most of them.

This last week I only read my favorites, generally also the ones written by people with whom I interact quite often.  The people I love and would miss.  I realized, though, that my reader is filled with blogs I don’t have a big interest in, written by people who never interact with me.

I loved not only spending much less time by reading only my favorites but also that those deep, thoughtful posts I love had more impact when not surrounded by reading tons of other stuff.  So I’m going to be paring down my subscriptions and becoming choosier about what I read on a daily basis.

I also realized I tend to go in cycles of having lots of ideas and having posts writing themselves in my head and spells when I don’t.  So in the fertile moments I also plan to work on drafting but not necessarily publishing right away and maybe scheduling posts just for certain days.  I know a few of my blogging buddies post only Monday-Friday so I’m also considering choosing a couple of specific days to take off.

In other words, during the next few weeks I’m going to be experimenting.

And when my eyes quit yanking and I get some sleep I may go back to the plan of less blogging, more meditating and exercise for a spell…

Dungeon Prompt: Why do I blog?

By Okky.novianto (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Dungeon Prompt for this week:

There are many different reasons for blogging. Some do it as a journaling exercise to work through issues. Others do it as a way to communicate with an online community. Some do it as advertising, while others do it to bring awareness to a particular cause. Many do it just as a creative outlet, and to practice and perfect their craft. Why do you blog? What do you get out of it? Are you happy with your experience so far? Let us in on what drives you to keep blogging

I began blogging a little over four years ago because I kept getting a nudge during meditations with my guides to do it.  Short pieces about the spiritual journey had been writing themselves in my head but I didn’t know why or what the forum for them might be.  Hence the meditation to call in my “council” and ask why I kept receiving these little essays and whether I was supposed to do something with them .

At the time I barely knew what blogging was but I’d learned to follow those nudges (at least the ones I’m not resisting 🙂 ) so I did a little research, picked WordPress and started posting twice a week.  And one of my friends and I read them regularly.  Didn’t know a thing about engaging with others or how to get a blog seen.

For months I was fine with that since the instruction to do it was mysterious and I had no stake in whether anyone read it or not.  Eventually, though, it seemed a little pointless other than whatever gains I made from the regular exercise of writing.

So I did some research about how to get readers and started prowling through other people’s blogs, following and liking and occasionally commenting.  Lo and behold, there were soon people following me!

I’ve never really taken to most of the social media stuff so my expectations were low.  The amazing community in which I’ve found myself immersed has been a revelation.  While a lot of mainstream blogging is of no more interest to me than people’s tweets and FB posts about stubbing their toes (in fairness, I’m blessed with friends who are deep seekers and whose posts in those other places tend to be uplifting, touching, interesting…), spiritual bloggers constantly move me, teach me, inspire me.

The world of spirituality blogging has proved to be full of amazing, insightful, deep people and I am now completely hooked on hanging out daily with my blogging pals, reading their amazing posts, commenting back and forth and feeling my world so enriched by these connections.

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a couple of my fave bloggers in person, which has been wonderful.  I hope it happens with many more.

My world has been pretty circumscribed the last couple of years because of the health stuff. And also an odd inverse relationship wherein as my health improves my tolerance for what’s still wrong decreases; I’m much more likely now to skip a party or say no to going somewhere than when my health was far worse…  At any rate, these connections through blogging –along with my natural ability to hang out alone — have kept me from loneliness.

Posts are still writing themselves in my head and, for the most part, I only post when something is tapping on my shoulder and asking to be written.  I’ve been seeing the edges of a larger plan behind the Higher Self advice to start a blog.  Part of it has just been the development of a style to my writing that I think is much more readable than my previous attempts to write of my journey.  The rest of the “larger plan” is still pretty sketchy, so for now I’m just going to wait to write about it.

The short of it is I now blog because (1) I love the community I’ve found (or it’s found me?) and (2) telling my story and the things I’ve learned along the way still feels like the right thing to do.

No Mo Nano Poblano!

Yea!  I’m happy.  I’m sad. Happy and sad…

Relieved and happy to be done with the daily posting.  Sad because I’ve enjoyed meeting lots of new bloggers.  Happy because most days– I’ve made a couple of weekly commitments– if I post it will be only because I have something I really want to say and I’m in the humor to get it posted.  Sad I won’t be able to search the “Nano Poblano” tag and run down a list of great posts by lots of people I haven’t met before.

When I posted the other day about being too tired to write I garnered a few messages both privately and on the blog giving me advice about how to plan better next time.  My plan next time:  state clearly from the beginning that I’ll post as much as I’m comfortable posting but am not committed to posting daily.

In the end I only missed one day, with a couple of not-quite-a-post days when at least something went up.  But I also had many days when I posted on two of my blogs and a few more when I posted on all three.  So total posts for November is over 30 and I feel very accomplished.

My creative juices bubbled up and I learned it’s probably a good idea for me to work on posting more often than I have.  I also really saw the benefits of engaging more with other bloggers than has been my habit.

I’m following a new bunch of blogs and I’m being followed by a bunch of new people.  I’m pleased that happened and sad it’s about to slow down unless I keep up with spending more hours a day on this than I have…  I participated more with the Nano Poblano folks but I always dipped often in the waters of the NaNoBloMo headquarters.  So many amazing blogs, so little time…

All in all, I couldn’t be more pleased that when I first saw the Nano Poblano info on November 2 (having fortuitously happened to have posted already on the first) I spontaneously decided to jump in.  Thanks everybody for making this a great, fun month!

Comment etiquette?

English: Comment icon

English: Comment icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kind of funny, Nadine Marie has been blogging about reactions to unsolicited advice in comments over on Aligning with Truth and today I got a comment that I’m not sure what to do about.

I’m really not upset. Just taken aback.  And interested in some feedback about how others would take this.  I’ve learned over time that often when I take offense or feel miffed about what someone else said or did, they just accidentally hit one of my buttons.  So I rarely get bent out of shape initially.  I take a breath as I note my reaction and then step back to ask myself if I just have an issue.

And sometimes I like to check out how others say they would take the same words or actions.  So I thought I’d show you all this comment (which I have not approved, so the original, identifying the writer, is not on my blog at this time).  This reader dropped by my blog for the first time ever, read yesterday’s post that explained I wasn’t putting up a regular post and left this comment:

“i have a drafts folder for blog posts, sometimes it’s just a title, sometimes it’s the first two sentences. I keep a few there and when NaBloPoMo started I had like 7 or 8 blog posts ready to expand and go. That left me available to write on days when I had the time and stack up a couple in advance. Right now I have zero in my drafts and the next three days of blog posts ready to go. Think of NaBloPoMo as Thanksgiving 0 you gotta do the prep work. I too started cooking today. Good luck with both.” {sic]

I blinked when I read it.  My first thought was “Well, bully for you.  Aren’t you the queen/king of organization?  And thanks so much for dropping by to chastise me.”  But, of course, I’m all about blogging for peace and, well, that’s not exactly peaceful 🙂  Not quite sure how I want to respond, whether to respond at all…  whether to even approve the comment.

I can step back and view it as an attempt to be helpful.  But my post didn’t ask for help.  Since this person doesn’t read my blog s/he obviously doesn’t know that I have openly stated many times that my commitment is to post twice a week.  I’ve never posted about how I work on blog posts, so it’s a bit presumptuous to advise me how I should do it better when s/he couldn’t possibly know my habits.

Now, rarely, I’ve received comments that were clearly offensive and clearly meant to be and I just delete them and never think about it again.  But I also periodically receive these unsolicited advice-type comments and always feel a bit on the fence.  Again, they don’t really upset me, I just don’t know what to do with it.  You can see my thoughts about Right Listening and Unsolicited Advice here.

When bloggers with whom I regularly exchange comments offer a suggestion I don’t mind at all.  I’m a little bothered when someone who doesn’t know me or my blog  presumes to offer advice that displays they know nothing about me and, often, didn’t really read the post on which they’re commenting.

Bottom line, I find the above comment an oddly offensive way to say “hello” on a first visit to someone’s blog.  And I’m curious whether anyone agrees or whether you think I just have a button being pushed here.  If you want to be quick, use the poll, but I’d love to hear more if you have time to comment.  What do you do with comments that offer advice you didn’t ask for and/or find off-putting?