This blog is still such a mystery to me. I wish I knew what I was doing. I wish I knew WHY I write it.
I think one way I try to look at blog content is through the lens of: What can I help you with today? What is a problem you are currently having with your work or with relationships that I can help you with?
(Because Freud was right. There are only 2 universal concerns: love and work.)
Then I have to look at my particular skill set. What do I know about work/vocation/purpose that might help you? If your problem is that you don’t know what kind of work will sustain you fiscally and spiritually, I can suggest the strategy that worked for me.
What do I know about love and relationships that might help you mend or deepen yours? What worked for me was writing my manifesto, listening more than talking, and learning non-violent communication skills.
Now that’s all well and good, but I don’t want to just tell people what they should do. I want to show them what might happen if they tried it out.
But I don’t want to be an advice blogger, or a “How To” blogger. Nor am I much of a story teller.
I want to figure out where my personal life and the personal life of my reader overlap, and then focus on that place in the Venn diagram.
Here’s an easy example: my yoga students. We all value yoga. We might value it for different reasons, but at the very least we share an interest in this practice.
And a big part of what I think yoga is, and what I try to teach, and what they come to my classes for, is to learn how to fall in love with their own life. However it shows up. The hard, the impossible, the intolerable, the frustrating, and the exasperating.
Life is disappointment and heartache and cancer and loss and grief.
Life is also success and elation and good health and abundance and joy.
The trick is to learn how to fall in love—or at least in like—with all of it, or at least tolerate, with some amount of grace, the struggle.
Now if I could tell, or better yet, show the people who read my blog how I manage to do that, that might make writing this blog a helpful, and worthy endeavor.
When I am with people, in the flesh, I think I help. I listen more than I talk, for one thing, and I think listening is one of the lost arts.
I think people really need to say their life out loud. Then they need to be heard, and to hear themselves articulate their own thoughts. This cuts a very quick route to clarity and self-knowledge.
The listener is not there to advise or fix, but only to receive and reflect back to the speaker their own words.
Most of the time, even the reflecting back is not necessary. Just being an empty vessel into which another person can pour their soul is to be of service.
If I can be a big enough container to hold my own struggles and joys, and also have enough room left over to hold yours too, well, that is the definition of a big life.
When I am with other people physically I can be that vessel. And I strive to keep my own life clean and struggle-free, so that I have that kind of room.
The problem with writing a blog is that it is an act of “speaking” rather than listening.
Nature listens, that’s why nature heals and consoles. Nature just receives, it doesn’t advise or even reflect. It simply receives.
Trees and mountains and oceans receive. Flowers receive and rocks receive. We can pour our hearts into them and their sturdiness and their constancy console us. I sit on an outcropping in Yosemite and feel the immensity of what I witness, and that immensity dwarfs my own struggle, and amplifies my own joy.
I can run along the beach and howl my pain into the surf, but the waves just continue to crest and trough, the seagulls continue to soar and dip.
I think the question I want to answer is:
How can I receive on the blog? How can I translate what I do in person, into blog writing? And is this even possible? Is it possible to write in such a way that the writing becomes a place where the reader feels heard?