Blog on Blogging

powerquote_nMy blog is two years old this week and I’m still a happy writer. The subscriber base is at 250. While that readership isn’t what I hoped for, it is definitely more than I expected.  I love the instant gratification of blogging. On the other hand…

I have always been impatient. Being in a hurry runs in my family, so I suppose it is in my DNA. Or maybe we were just birds in a flurry who flocked together and called ourselves the Whitaker-Claypool species.

All I can tell you is that nothing I do is ever enough at the same time I’ve always enjoyed every job I ever had. I find work fascinating. When I followed my bliss it turned out to be more work.

In my lifetime, I’ve had excellent jobs in fashion sales, teaching, folk-art shopkeeping, real estate, writing and the ministry. Work was always a source of enjoyment for me and probably will always be. I am especially happy writing my blog although I’d hoped to sell more of my books off the blog bookstore than I have so far. My plan was that if readers liked my for-free blogs, they’d love my for-sale books. Ah well, the best laid plans of mice and writers.

So far, my business plan hasn’t exactly worked. But, it really isn’t about the money. It’s about connection – connection to God, to you, and to myself. Work is about expressing my God-given nature – Love. Every job I’ve ever had was of use to others or I had to move on. I could not imagine only helping myself.

Retirement frightened me. When I moved into the Minister Emeritus position at church, I wasn’t well. Actually, I was very ill and I got better. I taught a few classes and spoke some but I still had a lot of free time and it scared me. Does free time frighten you?

In the beginning of my semi-retirement, I read a lot of silly novels and watched a lot of silly movies. That was fun but then it wasn’t so much fun anymore. I wanted to be useful again.

I did start a book on Spiritual Practice and, once again, I was impatient. The project seemed like a big commitment, and I was busy helping other people write their books. (My Spiritual Practice book really is almost finished and I’m telling myself not to be impatient.) Books are not short adventures – they are a serious undertakings.

In contrast, blogs are pure fun. My blog has been well received. After a bit of practice, I can write and publish a blog in four to six hours. That’s a good day’s work for a retired person.

I know there are more readers than those listed as subscribers. I get nice comments and people they tell me they enjoy the essays. At our recent CSL Conference at Asilomar, several people I didn’t know complimented my blog. Recently, a few ministers asked me questions about writing a blog of their own. I definitely encouraged them.

I believe everyone can enjoy blogging. It is a chance to help others and learn more about yourself. It is useful. The time involved and the subject matter are optional. I am fussy and I write long  posts. Many people write only a few daily lines.  Nearly all of us have used journaling as a self-discovery tool.  A blog is only a couple of steps away from journaling. Blogs can also be a spiritual practice.

One difference stands out. Your journal is personal while a blog is intended for others to read. The writer must offer something that amuses, inspires, instructs, or connects with his readers. That said, no topic is for everyone but there is someone for every topic.

Are you interested in writing a blog? The first step is to imagine what your might like to write about and who you think your audience may be. Freedom to write whatever I wanted was important to me. I decided I could include memories and opinions about political and social issues as well as spiritual principles. I would aim for twice a week but give myself permission to skip once in a while.

Blogging  is a great if you have something unique to say. Whoever you are, no matter what you know, you must plan before you begin. This stage will be short for some  and take a long time for others but it must be done.

Your chosen topic should also be something that will hold your interest and something you know about. Simply musing about the good old days will bore your readers unless you are as clever as Andy Rooney. I do write about them sometimes, but I attempt to make the old days relevant to my reader’s current life.

Whether you are interested in blogging or not, you might enjoy perusing other blogs on the internet. Individual blogs have “tags” so you can run searches easily. Keep your searches current and subscribe to the ones you enjoy.  I subscribe to several blogs about books and history. What topics would you like to explore?

If you are personally interested in blogging ask yourself what topics you know about. Why not spend  time for a few days making list of subjects  you know about as a part of your spiritual practice?

Topics for blogs are fascinating but they don’t have to be rocket science. There are blogs on cooking cassarole dishes, grammer, Greek history, raising triplets, aiding the elderly and losing weight, and thousands of other subjects.

Blog subjects are so creative they amaze us. One writer wrote a blog for my local paper about living on the State’s food subsidy money. There was a movie about Julia Child and a young woman who set out to cook every recipe in Child’s cookbook. It was based on her blog.

What do you know about?  It will be a great spiritual practice for improving your self -esteem to list topics. You will be surprised how many activities and interests you are proficient in when you do this.

Before you begin to actually write your blog, learn from every writing class I’ve ever taken by imagining your ideal reader. Who is she?  What do you know that she doesn’t? That’s a great way to find your  topics for posts.

The next writing lesson I can pass on is to ask yourself what you enjoy reading . That may give you a clue about what you should write.  F/Y/I  I read two spiritual blogs every day and although my blogs don’t resemble them, they inspire me. These blogs are from Dr. Carol Carnes and Dr. Maxine Kaye. You can access them by going to ccinlove@aol.com and drmaxinekaye@constantconnections.com .

Just for fun, pretend you believe you have something to say and you know you are powerful . Your pretense or   “acting as if”  will be exciting and instructive. Go through the suggested blog planning steps and see what happens.

Ask Yourself

Do I journal now?

Would I like to blog?

What blogs do I read?

What do I know about?

Who would like to read about my knowledge?

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I’m Back

I spent a couple of days in the hospital last week and I‘ve slept a lot since then. Thank God the bacterial infection did not go into my lungs. Now that I’m back, is it too late to tell you how happy I am about the election?

My team won and I am happy because I felt strongly about the personal freedom issues. But it turns out, I am not good at games. If my team wins, the other team loses and I love so many people who are on the other team.

Generally, my friends and I agreed on personal liberty stuff but differed on economic ideas. So, one week after the election, I am recovering and asking, “Can’t we all just get along?”  

         I believe this nation is rich because of its diversity and ability to have civil discourse. Like most Americans, I am ready to stop fighting and rebuild a cooperative government.

The good news is that the election is over. I am ready to move on and I believe resisting change is silly. Whether we want it or not, life will most certainly change. Our job is to make sure life flows in the direction of love and justice for all. We may do that in a peculiar zigzag path but we are moving ahead.

Dr. Raymond Charles Barker said that a consciousness once stretched never returns to its original shape and I think that is equally true on a personal and national level. When the edges are pushed out, they never can return to the “good old days”. Nostalgia tends to breed discomfort and disease, not solutions.

Living longer creates a sense of trust in the evolutionary process. This has been true for me personally and I believe it is also politically true. Wasn’t it fun to see the diversity in our newly elected officials?

I remember when white males absolutely ruled our political and corporate organizations. You youngsters may have enjoyed watching Mad Men, I just found it distressing de ja vu all over again.

Yes, there was a time when voter suppression was a given, not a failed scheme. There was a time when there were no women on the Supreme Court and the women who ran for president were considered eccentrics at best and probably nut cases.

In those ancient times, when I told my shrink I was working on Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s presidential campaign, I think he wanted to lock me up.

There was even a time when the South was totally Democratic and all African Americans (then called Negroes) who were allowed to vote, voted for the party of Lincoln. Our first Afro-American Senator, Edward Brooks, was a Republican from Massachusetts.

There was also a time when a politician’s personal life was off limits. Clinton’s life was a public soap opera but Kennedy was a real dog with the ladies and no one even mentioned it.

Those were not the good old days and I do not want to return to them. I was pleased that so many women were elected this year because I think women change things in basic ways. They learn at their mother’s knee that protecting the young is their most important duty.

It may not make me a good feminist to say this but I think women are less theoretical than men. They know that passing a law based on an abstract idea will have a direct and concrete effect on the lives of families. Men also know this, but women know it at a more cellular level. This election defined women as a spectacular voting block.

As a New Thought person, I believe that all change begins in the consciousness of the individual. When I look back at the political leaders I admire most in my life, I see many giants. Eleanor Roosevelt, Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King, Gloria Steinham, Shirley Chisholm, and John F. Kennedy are a few of the political leaders I admire.

I also admire some fascinating and inspirational spiritual leaders. They include; Ernest Holmes, RC Barker, Frank Richelieu, Valerie Seyffert, Kennedy Shultz, David Walker, Louise Hay, Sue Rubin, Nancy Anderson, Barbara Lunde, Earlene Castellaw, Arlene Bump, Carolyn McKeown , Sandy Jacobs, Maxine Kaye, Carol Carnes, and Marilyn Hall Day. These are people who were here before me and I know that I stand on their shoulders.

Perhaps the greatest leaders of all have been my students and friends who followed me into the ministry. They taught me to question and to stretch my understanding of how God works in our life.

I cannot name them all here but my dear friend and prayer partner, Jeanette Keil, has been a daily inspiration for many years. I also love my young friends, Jeff Proctor and Judy Beiter, who left the planet a lot sooner than I expected. I miss them both.

There are too many other friends to mention by name but they are all a part of my beloved spiritual family. Some of them, like Eleanor Roosevelt, opened my mind to God’s Infinite Possibilty. Though she was a remote person, she was a powerful influence for me.

Every one of my wonderful collection of influences opened me up to the power of God in my life. They were all unique and individualized expressions of God. I felt connected to them. Whether I could articulate it or not, when I watched, listened and learned from them, I felt God in action.

I am not an abstract person. I see God in the love of mother and child, in the bloom of the rose and the rise of the sun. When I am feeling the connection of oneness  and love with people, I feel the presence of God.

People are connections. They surround and love us. We cooperate in ways we don’t often notice but we have come a long way since the days of the cave people. We cooperate in amazing ways with spectacular results all the time. Our government, when it is working correctly, is God in action.

Elections matter. Whether it is a vote for the rights of same-sex marriage or a bond issue to support the schools, our decisions matter. Today, I recognize the loving connection to each other in the government and in God. God is One and we are connected to each other.

God is Infinite Opportunity, Infinite Power and Infinite/Unlimited Love. God is the Creative Energy of the Universe working in our lives. Full time. 24/7.

I am grateful to be a citizen of the United States. I am grateful for the good government we have. I am grateful for all the historic mentors who lead us into the light. I am grateful to be connected to life and to each of my individual readers. I am grateful to be to be home and recovering. All in all, it is fair to say, I am celebrating life. How about you?

Ask Yourself

Who were my early mentors?

What historical figures do I most admire?

What did I learn from these early mentors?

Who am I connected to now?

When do I feel connected to God?