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Most Importantly, Why?

You may remember, or I’m informing you now, that last March I taught a blogging workshop. My premise and guiding theme for this was “Your Why is your How”. Because sometimes we get so bogged down with the how of a thing, we forget that the why will get us through all the hows we ever meet. What I said in my post-mortem about my workshop was,”(the hows) are secondary. It’s your whys, or maybe your why nots, that will lead you to or will thwart you from starting a blog. We acquiesce to our bossy fears claiming it’s our hows. ‘I can’t because I don’t know how’ is subterfuge.”puddle hopping on Shalavee.com

And ironically, I hit a wall with writing submissions a while back. I had continued to submit writing pieces to the types of sites that weren’t quite me. And I kept feeling that loser outcast sting every time I was rejected. It was like some horrible self-denegrating loop and then I was just done. I’d proven that I was in fact not a good enough writer and I no longer even understood why I’d wanted so badly to be published in the first place. Not worth the pain and agony, time and effort. Until I saw a site that really did fit the type of writing I do. And then I was even more terrified.

Minnie at the playground on Shalavee.com

What’s my Why? Why do I want to write? Why do I want to publish? What is the pay-off for continuing such painful torture? This was the subject I decided to mull and discuss with myself while I had a long drive to make the other day. And this is what I came up with.

I thought , why can’t my Why be altruistic? To share my thoughts and hopes for the sole purpose of inspiring someone, anyone. Helping someone out of a life rut. And then I asked, what is my own why for reading and following the people I do? And this is what I answered (out loud in the car where no one could hear me but me):

  • To be inspired

  • to find answers

  • to spark process

  • to learn a step

  • to gather the “aha” knowledge

  • to connect and make friendships that provide inspiration and validation

So I then thought, switch those around and claim them.

I write and create to :

  • Inspire

  • Offer my answers and solutions

  • Spark others’ process

  • Learn, while I’m writing, what I think or feel about something

  • Offer my knowledge for others to then gather

  • To validate and connect with others

To be of service to a community is a great thing. And that is truly where my heart lies. So much so that I think that I don’t want to spoil that by selling anything. That somehow my selling would cheapen my altruism? But the next chapter to learn is about valuing myself enough to appreciate that others are always valuing me even when I don’t. And often they have wanted to be supportive of me if only I’d give them an opportunity to do so. And everyone, except me, understands that bills need to be paid…with money…that you earn.

Stick around lovely people and see what happens with that.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Follow if You Care

I’ve hung out online for enough time now to see there are certain givens. If you are here, you just may be selling something or at least looking to gain something. “Followers” or “friends”, numbers of people who will prove that you are somebody. Somebody worthy of listening to. Somebody worthy of paying or compensation for doing something in return.

But what if you aren’t here to make a buck but to make a difference or to make a connection to the greater world and truths around us. Or what if, like me, you just wanted to show up for yourself and see what happened. You’ll bump up against people and maybe you’ll converse with them. Based on that, you may even like a few people. Next thing you know they’ll keep coming back to like you and talk to you. And you for them. And what you may discover is that you have a lot more to say of interest than you initially would have thought. And a lot of people out in the world who share your views.On the swing at the playground on Shalavee.com

These lovely people may live in other countries. They may worship different gods and choose to be vegetarians. But they’re kindred souls all the same. You may not even know what they look like, but you know their hearts. And if you’ve been honest, they’ll know yours.

I began my online journey to just continue to practice my writing. And what I found was that I had an inexhaustible amount of words to say about many varied subjects. I found I could take a photograph to go with my words. And I found out that there were in fact people listening and paying attention to what I had to say and show. I found my voice and myself in this process. I found people who I liked and who liked me. I found a tribe. And these are all things I would not have found had I not taken the chance to start something called blogging four years ago.Fiona and Baby Doggy on the swing on Shalavee.com

As I gain momentum and self-esteem, I am beginning to see how I may fit in, what I can offer the larger world, and that my knowledge and unique perspective is as valuable as anyone’s. I still don’t want to sell myself out but I do know that if I come up with something worth publishing, I will ask to cover my costs. If I put my Etsy shop online once and for all, I will trust that people know what they want and will allow them to buy stuff. But meanwhile, I will continue to engage with the world, create what’s in my heart, and create goals that feel right for me even if they’re not what everyone else might be doing. Because I’m the lone wolf who must find my way in my time. And that’s just going to have to be good enough. Follow if you care. Speak if you dare.

Wanna see the whole month of posts? Start here. Yesterday’s post go here.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

You Are My Inspiration Dear Reader

As I come round to understanding what it is I am doing all this for, what drives me to write and share and create, I know it’s to give back the wonderful inspiration that I delight in when I read and see other creative’s work. To be inspired is a wonderful feeling and recycling inspiration seems as good a reason as any to do what you do, especially if it’s fun.

I’m often taken aback when people approach me at a fair or in a store and say, “I love reading your blog!” because I’m always surprised they read my blog. I am so grateful to see their face and know them and hear them say they enjoy what I’m doing. I am truly flattered. From my perspective, there’s actually no proof, save Facebook statistics and my readership’s comments, that says anyone is actually reading what I write.

checkin out the rib specials on Shalavee.com

There’s a little space between us, the writer and the reader. A pocket of anonymity I’m grateful for being busted. A real face that I can imagine when I’m talking/writing which is so necessary for me. And in that space there’s also a reverence that I don’t always feel I deserve. Just because I do this spilling my guts thing doesn’t mean I’m any more or less weird or anxious or normal than anyone else. And that’s what I want to emphasize.

Having a blog or a jewelry store or a DJ business or being Beyonce’s assistant doesn’t make anyone any more anything than anyone else.

I am no more glamorous, blessed, talented or lucky than anyone else.

I am a ridiculous ball of anxiety who’s slowly finding her way out of the dark forest that I’ve wandered about in for a very long time. I wrote a post on not being better than you. I do not want to be raised on any pedestal ever.

So I say to you Miss Reader or Miss Diane or Miss Barbara and Miss Ann, you are all astounding and inspirational women. And I am so flattered that you would choose to read my blog. Thank you so very much. And I hope one day to hear from you about what you were inspired to do by reading anything I wrote. That would be the fullest circle and I’d be over the moon to hear your stories.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The Perfect vs. the Placeholder

How often do you not follow through, not write it down, not say it out loud, or not make the commitment, because it’s not perfect. Is it enough to know that there’s a silliness to this way of thinking to stop you from thinking this way?

I can’t go to college and earn a degree unless I know the exact career I’m going to have when I graduate. I don’t know if this guy is Mr. Right so I may not want to continue dating him. I can’t commit to a blog because I don’t know what I’d write about. And what you find is that the perfectionism starts to feel like some horrible brain constipation and your lack of permission to move forward for the sake of perfectionism can become painful. My husband cleverly says, “Do something, even if it’s wrong.” And so when I come to write a thought out, my trick is to think of writing anything as a placeholder for the real writing to come.arting in the foyer on Shalavee.com

Writing on the page fills the writing space and commits me to further thinking and writing on the thought I’m expressing. This way, I’m allowed to write total crap. Because now I have permission to come back and replace every word. It is well-known that good writing is all about the editing. So if I shift my expectations to writing crap at first knowing, I have removed it from the place it was lodged in my brain, it’s even more wonderful when I return to read it and it’s not as crappy as I thought.Tunnel on shalavee.com

As for the life “knowing” perfectionism I mentioned, I believe life is much like a curved tunnel. You can see a little in front of you but your knowledge tells you that it goes further. You really can’t see the end and you’ll have to make a choice or two along the way but you know you’re headed for a destination. The college degree is really just a badge of hard work and achievement. Not always about the real major. And the boy who seems perfect when you meet him and then you find our is human and not perfect, he has the ability to make choices too. To go with you to your destination with honor and integrity.

And the blog that was my vehicle for writing and turned out to gift me so many wonderful gifts of friendship? It’s not perfect and I don’t see the bigger picture yet but it’s holding my place until I figure out what I want to be when I’m 49. Knowing is cracked up to be the mental Nirvana. But unforeseeable factors always jump in and can mess up your plan. So I’ll just hold this place in my life with grace and gratitude, do the best I can, and keep prying the perfection expectations from my clammy grasp.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Wrapping Up My Blogging Workshop

My blogging workshop finally happened last weekend in musty little building back in the woods on the waterfront property in Easton, Maryland known as the Evergreen Cove. I arrived before the 9:30 start time and early enough to bake up a tray full of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls to smell up the place and then went to greet people at the door.Spring at Evergreen Cove in Easton, Maryland on Shalavee.com

Mr Gerald Sweeney, aka Mr. Gerry the current President of the Eastern Shore Writers Association, introduced me to my class of 15 with such fanfare and accolades, he made me laugh at how awesome I sounded. I told the attendees if they didn’t enjoy the workshop, it was all his fault for talking me into it.My blogging workshop on Shalavee.com

The majority of the attendees of my workshop entitled The Why is the How: Intentional Blogging 101, were seeking a basic understanding of blogging. The hows, always the hows. And what I made sure to insist in the beginning and throughout was that those are secondary. It’s your whys, or maybe your why nots, that will lead you or thwart you from your blog beginning. We agree to our bossy fears blaming our hows. I can’t because “I don’t know how” is subterfuge.water view from the Evergreen Cove on Shalavee.com

I gave everyone the best of my knowledge, the personal stories of the gifts of my unexpected blogger friendships, and my near fatal technological errors. And I did this all with the humor and compassion that I am made of. The most important fact to impart to these lovely people was that they can do it for themselves and I will be here to support them. Because I didn’t have a mentor when I needed one and everyone deserves a mentor.The stone path at the Evergreen Cove in Easton, Maryland on Shalavee.com

I am a huge fan of ‘Drops in the bucket’, ‘One foot in front of the other’, and 15 minute increments. Or “Just start” as Mr. George interpreted afterwards. He was my star pupil. This very intelligent intuitive gentleman and scholar, and a spry 80-year-old, picked up everything I was putting down. And graciously bestowed compliments on me afterwards. I will forever be devoted to him. His emails these lovely comments to me.

Shalagh,

As I fully expected you made a fine presentation. It was humorous, informative, practical, energetic and you made my most ominous enemy look less fearsome. I’m ready to face my dragon. I think I’ll take him on this week.”

And then …

I thought your comment about being clear about ‘why’ I might want to do this was profound. That is the heart of so many dreams that get stalled – we’re not sure of just what we want from the dream.

Best,

George”

I plan to do future meet-ups for bloggers where they can ask follow-up questions of me and create further support and community with each other. Mr George said now they know enough to come up with intelligent questions to ask next time we meet. I followed up the class by sending out and sharing more resources and email addresses. I’ve done all that I could.Me and Mr Gerry after my blogging workshop on Shalavee.com

I so hope that each of these lovely people find their personal whys and a place to stand permitting them to jump into this blog journey that I have so unexpectedly enjoyed. There are moments when you do wonder what you were thinking when you started, much like parenthood. And then other times you wonder how you could have lived with out the title of blogger and the gifts and privileges that go with it. Life sometimes takes a while to show you the truth in your actions and yet you must have faith that there’s a story brewing worth telling at some point.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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