Guest House

white-cottage-front-porch

I haven’t posted for a few days because of a nasty bout of flu. Being forced to stay in bed has taught me a lot.

It was a relief to be told to log off and get to bed, to read books and not blogposts; to silently rest and heal and know that the world would keep spinning without one single word of mine being typed. It was a comfort to know that you would still be here when I was ready to return. I’m glad you’re still here. It means I was right not to worry, right to trust that you’re here because you want to be. Thank you.

Writing helps the soul breathe, but blogging is a different beast. It  makes me feel like a madwoman most days, swinging between highs of connection, learning, new friendships and self expression and lows of paranoia, frustration, exhaustion and queasiness at the underlying hypocrisy and unmentioned stalking and plunder that goes on in the shadows.

Some days I gush, full of the overflowing inspiration I feel the need to share, grateful for the gift of every single page view or subscription; some days I long to lash out and rant.

I relish our humanity – mine, yours and that blogger over there’s, the one who bugs us both. But I know, from living every detail of my journey, that I’m not positive every day, that I’ve needed my darkness to make me reach out for better days, like a plant craving the sun’s embrace. The huge discrepancy between my subscriber numbers and the comments boxes makes me wonder if I’ll ever learn enough in the silence between the comments to know what you want to read, what you’d like me to share.

I called this blog Sharing the Journey because I wanted everyone who comes here to enjoy hearing about yours as well as mine.

But I’m floundering at the moment, fleeing the fear of becoming ego-driven, envious of others or numbers obsessed, yet wandering around in no-man’s land, not knowing what you’d love to see more of or less of; what you find useful or inspiring.

I’ve lived for decades, loved, lost, learned, written, taught, travelled, given birth, watched toddlers turn into teenagers, had two people die in my arms. I have whole worlds in me I long to share, would gladly filter for you, refract through the prism of my soul for you if I knew it would help or inspire you in any way. But am I wasting my time here? Please let me know. I am open.

guest house

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.  ~ Rumi

I came cross this poem a few weeks ago on one of my favourite sites, Danielle Laporte’s White Hot Truth. Her most recent quote warmed my heart and made me feel better. If you visit, please tell her I sent you. I promised her I’d tell you how wonderful I think her site is. It has drama, flair, energy and passion that crackle off the screen. Her book, Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design is a perfect starting place for a safari of self discovery or a gift for anyone you know who’s longing for self realisation.

Yesterday, still feeling ill, I didn’t post, just logged on to reply to friends’ emails, to respond to comments on my blog and read the blogs I’m subscribed to. What I discovered was like a huge get well card from the universe with a message inside saying “Treasure map enclosed, in case of amnesia.” The blogs we subscribe to because we enjoy them are a blueprint to help us excavate our real selves. Commenting in communities we’ve chosen connects us to our deepest, most authentic voices, makes us feel like we’re at friends’ kitchen tables.

I found a joyful list on Tess’s site, The Bold Life,  that multiplied itself in her comment boxes and unlocked an ache in me that went beyond my desire to get well.

I found a quote on Marc’s Daily Aikido that made sense of so much and summed up many of my blogging days; then I found a video of an Aikido Master that inspired me to get well and get out of bed and stop feeling so old and sorry for myself.  The quotations and insights Marc finds for this wee undiscovered island of wisdom always seem to touch me. Because they stand alone, simply, surounded by an ocean of serenity, they really get me thinking. I like the way my mind works there.

Lori Hoeck’s new site, Think Like a Black Belt,  makes me feel empowered, in the truest sense of the word, and reminds me of my own love of karate and the ancient wisdom it’s based on. Reading it is a gift I give my kids. If you have kids, if you ever feel uneasy with certain people, if you’re a woman, if you ever feel vulnerable, then read this blog.

Barbara Swafford’s Blogging Without a Blog had a timely, informative piece about what to do if leaving a gap between posting makes you worry about your numbers dropping. Her blog always reminds me of how much I love learning from others who know so much more than I do.

A post on Davina’s Shades of Crimson made me smile and feel like part of a bird watching community and GhostwriterDad makes me feel like GhostCoachWriterMum – it’s bizarre how much his take on ghostwriting  reminds me of coaching.

And these are just a few of the jigsaw pieces that reminded me who I am and what I enjoy. I visit many, many more blogs. Maybe that’s why I’m so tired and frazzled, like an overwrought child in a sweet shop.

I leave you with a Buddhist prayer I found on my friend Victoria Moran’s blog; I felt she’d posted it just for me!

May you be filled with loving kindness
May you be well
May you be peaceful and at ease
May you be happy

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Which aspects of blogging cause you the greatest discomfort?

How can I best serve you through my blog?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

photo thanks to theinspiredroom

31 thoughts on “Guest House

  1. Lots of blogging causes me discomfort, mostly the grind. I figure, it will all pay dividends in the long run. Right now I just keep pulling the handle, but I know if I stick with it long enough I’ll hear the ding ding ding as the coins splatter in the basin.

    Sean Platt´s last blog post..The Car Doctor

  2. I love what Sean wrote! Well said! The main discomfort I feel when blogging is that I feel like I try to give a lot and I don’t always get that back. I have some great, loyal readers and commenters, but I feel like I put in a TON of effort and I don’t always see that in return (for example…comments, blogrolls, etc.). However, the reason I started my blog was for ME, to express myself and to find ways to live a more positive life, and that is happening. Blogging has really helped me a great deal and, for that, I am very grateful.

    As for what you can do on your blog… I don’t know if I have any concrete suggestions. I’m a fairly new reader and I always love coming by and reading what you post. My suggestion? Keep up the good work because it IS appreciated. 🙂

    Positively Present´s last blog post..breaking the spell of someday

  3. “guest house” by Rumi is one of my favorites. And Rilke seems to echo it in this passage (Rilke is my favorite read when I am blue)…

    “That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, – is already in our bloodstream. And we don’t know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens.”

    Diana Maus´s last blog post..I’m dreaming of a blank canvas

  4. I hope you are well, and feel renewed! I am here to tell you that you are not wasting your time! Your blog is a the top of my favorites, feeding and nourishing me with inspiration, joy, and wisdom (and sometimes tears – but in a good way!). You tug at my emotional heart strings, make me want to write, live, dream, excel, mother, coach, create, help, strive and succeed. What you are creating here does make me reflect, empower me, and motivate me to continue with my path of helping and empowering others, self-growth and self-discovery (not to mention the fact that you are an excellent writer ~ your words suck me in, make me feel like I can experience what you are experiencing with all my senses). I am looking for something that is REAL, the fact that you are not positive every day makes you human! It also inspires me to know that we do not have to be positive, confident, and in general perfect everyday to live an amazing life~ and to help, inspire and empower others! In fact, these qualities may be necessary in order to be able to empathize with others and help them down their path no matter what mile of the journey they are on (because you have walked it).

    ” Never be upset when you find yourself in the valleys of life for in there lies all the nutrients for growth.” Barbara Johnson

    I appreciate reading about your ups and down because I can relate! My journey is full of highs and lows, learning and growing and setbacks! Some days I am flat out discouraged and frankly just want to quit- I find myself self talk saying words and phrases like ‘pointless’ ‘not good enough’ ‘who do you think you are’ “nobody gives a crap about your life and what you have to say’ ‘you are not a writer’ ‘that sucks’ ‘you could do better’. And other days I am bordering on manic- so inspired I feel like I am in the zone and on top of the world! (OH OH does that mean I am manic- depressive??)

    I find it ironic that I feel guilty for not writing in my blog everyday when I blog about giving yourself permission for self-care and living without the guilt LOL!

    Blogging IS a different beast, the thing that makes blogging so rewarding (the personal interaction of the comments) can also cause some anxiety – it is more of a responsibility (something you can feel grateful for, but at the same time feel pressure and stress)

    I just experienced being sick and it was a real learning experience (feeling like crap really helps to put things into perspective!).
    I hope that the worst is over and you are back to feeling healthy again!

    Angie´s last blog post..0711ddebe7fd2b92.jpg

  5. Hi Janice,
    You do good work here. “Good” in the very deep sense of that word. Keep writing, keep sharing – you have a story inside of you. I want to know it, learn from you, share with you here in this space. I feel like there’s a bright shining light coming from here whenever I stop by – and that’s you, on your words here – offering up some wonderful gifts to the world!

    Lance´s last blog post..Old Hat, New Hat

  6. Janice,

    I must agree with the other comments I have read here. You are definitely NOT wasting your time! The spirit that lives in you is connected to the spirit that lives in all of us, so what you have to say has meaning to us, and the way you say it can only be said by you! We all have our perspective on things and we need yours as well. There may be some dark spots out here on the internet, but that is all the more reason why your blog is needed. Your blog is a shining light and everyone knows where there is light, there can not be darkness. =)

    Keep it coming Janice, we’re out here and we’re hungry for what you have to say to us………

    Keith´s last blog post..Change the Channel!

  7. As a nonblogger I enjoy my benign eavesdropping today! I witness your own and other bloggers’ precious, sometimes precarious, worlds of courage and vulnerability, passion and drudgery, and [fill in the blank] and [blank].

    As I continued from your post Janice through comments my inner voice declared: “A vein of gold struck here!”

    Thank you for sharing your truth in motion. . ., everyone! I’m enriched.

  8. The things that cause me the most discomfort about blogging are the technical aspects. You know, like when my site causes other people’s sites to crash and I can’t figure out why. 🙂 Seriously though, it is the things that I have to research, those time-consuming things that don’t seem to have a lot of payoff, but in the end probably do. It took me lots of time just to figure out how to get a feedburner widget on my site. I just read something that told me I have to make sure my feed doesn’t grow too large. Never even knew I had to monitor something like that, so that will be another research project. So for me the most tedious part of blogging is in the maintenance part.

    How can you best serve me through this blog? I love hearing your take on just about anything. You are a captivating writer and the only way I miss a day checking out your blog is if my internet is down or I’m out of town. Like Lance said, just coming to your site feels like “light.” I think for any blogger, the thing that must be written is the thing that flows through your fingertips as you type or the thing that you can’t get out of your mind.

    There’s a certain trust factor that goes on between a blogger and the readers. The readers trust that the blogger will remain true to the style that they have come to know and love, and the blogger trusts that there will always be a reader or readers. There’s another site that I check every day, and the blogger had not posted anything for a month. I still checked. I went to her site today, saw she had a new post, and there were all her regular commenters, making comments. No one had gone anywhere.

    You have a great way of “following the spirit” or “listening to the universe” or whatever we want to call it, that shows through in your writing. You write what you need to write that day. We trust that you continue to write what you need to, to write what leaps from your fingertips, and that what you say will touch us. I would never tell you what to write or what I need from your blog. My needs are met on MY blog. I trust that by you writing your needs, I will be uplifted, educated, inspired, humored, or touched. You have a gift for capturing life that few people have.

    Keep up the good work and don’t you dare ever stop blogging!

    Randi´s last blog post..Thoughts of a Twitterless Thinker

  9. Thank you, everyone. I can’t express how much these comments have moved me. Every comment I get has always made me grateful, reminded me who I’m writing for, but today I’ve been given the gift of reassurance that I have been on track with the why I blog. It’s so easy to glibly say ‘quality not quantity’, but it’s harder to believe it on the dark or lonely days; the comments I get here, each one beautifully written and expressed, reinforce the truth of it for me every day. Your comments have also reminded me not to assume.

    @Sean,
    I know you work your fingers to the bone but your comment will surprise and inspire a lot of folk as you seem to blog so effortlessly. Your email yesterday and this post have both reminded me of the beauty of swans, gliding elegantly, seemingly effortlessly, but paddling like fury under the water. You will be a financially wealthy writer some day; I feel that – and have done since I first read Writer Dad – in my very bones. One of the most incisively practical posts you ever wrote – and there have been many – was the one where you urged writers to become aware of and flow with their natural daily rythms. Being ill this week has reminded me of that.

    @Positively Present,
    Thank you! I really believe that you, too, Dani will have the life of writing that you long for. (So will our good friends Nadia, Randi and ‘Chania Girl’.) You are determined, prolific and deliberately positive as well as having the talent to do it. That longing to write and love of it will take you far. I don’t mean this to sound in any way patronising – I’m just older and have a deep maternal streak – but I’ve enjoyed watching your comments evolve all over the blogosphere, blossom, get deeper and even more supportive as you gradually develop relationships with all the bloggers you support so consistently. I’m very grateful that you chose this as one of the blogs you visit and I never take your supportive comments for granted.

    @Diana,
    What a beautiful and perfectly timed piece to share with us. It resonated like harp strings somewhere deep inside me. The last line, especially, made the hair on my arms stand on end. I feel like I’m changing, evolving throughout this blogging journey and learning from everyone I encounter. But sometimes it all feels like it’s happening too fast and is getting beyond me. But that one line put it into perspective me. It is all beyond me and I simply have to be, to grow into what’s meant for me. To trust.

    @Angie,
    What can I say. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for what you’ve expressed so passionately here. I’m not going to even try and respond to it all except to say a heart felt thank you and to assure you that this response has been exactly what I’ve needed. I felt very weird as I wrote that post yesterday, almost outside of myself like I really needed to be honest and free something up. I was starting to change into someone I’m not, in ways I didn’t like. These comments have mirrored something back to me I’d thought was fading. I’m also sure I’m not the only one who resonated as they read your comment and thought That’s how I feel! as they’ve read the part where you shared how there are days when you want to quit. Please don’t. The blogging world needs your kind of freshness and authenticity. I’m sure exhaustion is often at the bottom of many passionate people’s desires to call a halt.

    @Lance,
    Thank you! Your own blog and the comments you leave at Nadia’s place, for example, always make me feel the same. There are some special people on the blog route we walk and today I’ve been reminded by all these affirming comments and by your reference to light, of an article I wrote last year about strings of fairy lights and how they have a cumulative magic of their own, one that comes from a common source, that each teeny wee light doesn’t have on its own.

    I really enjoy the way you express yourself, and it may sound old fashioned, but I love your cadences, your kindness and your old fashioned courtesy and charm.

    @Keith,
    One of the reasons I love blogging is that where else can we have the chance to ‘meet’ people and touch their hearts like this, cutting through all the superficiality to say “I know how you feel.” I agree completely with what you said about feeling connected by spirit; I get a strong sense of that every time I sit down to read the comments in these boxes. You and Dani are right that it’s all about contributing our own perspectives. Yesterday, I was worrying if my contribution was becoming so navel-gazingly obsessed that silent readers might no longer be feeling a connection to what I write about. I also worry that I get so happily involved with the people who comment, that I might be making other people feel left out or uneccessary. I think all the ‘not knowing-ness’ of blogging finally got to me yesterday. I’m very analytical and it usually helps me keep a sense of proportion. I’ve been losing that recently.

    Thank you, Keith. Your comment, like all of the others, has been really helpful. I hope I can take all this emotion I’m feeling right now and use it as fuel to keep me doing what I love to do here.

    @ Connie,
    I wish I had your gift for concise, heart felt expression! Thank you for bearing with me, always, as I go through these dips of self doubt and soul screaming. Your voice is so important to this blog. To hear the comments of a non-blogger who’s also a creativity coach and an avid reader is a precious resource to everyone here. It’s a pure source of input, unaffected by the interactive supporting bloggers do. It really warms my heart, Connie, that you read all of the comments here, enjoy these people like I do and appreciate why this aspect of my blog fulfills all of those longings for connection and gentle feedback I’ve had since I started coachwriting. It’s not that long ago, in real time, that I was bombarding you with all my changing ideas for my blog title and tagline, desperate to get it right, to find something that expressed me and what I yearned to do. I make the mistake, like so many folk do, of not giving myself enough credit for what I’ve managed to do in a short time.

    @Randi,
    I could comment on every wonderful thing you’ve said – soulfood for any writer to have someone say they’ve managed to capture and filter something from the universe – but I’m getting a bit wobbly now and don’t want to detract from this one, shining, profound gem of wisdom; not just the words, but the clarity, confidence, kindness and open hearted vulnerable generosity of the person who expressed it will empower every blogger who reads it:

    We trust that you continue to write what you need to, to write what leaps from your fingertips, and that what you say will touch us. I would never tell you what to write or what I need from your blog. My needs are met on MY blog. I trust that by you writing your needs, I will be uplifted, educated, inspired, humored, or touched. You have a gift for capturing life

    Thank you.

  10. You know I feel the same way Janice. So much effort put into the work with so little to show as a result.

    Like you I’ve thought of just not bothering, to borrow from Sean’s analogy when do you stop putting coins in the slot?

    Especially with all the SEO I’m doing. I could just get into Internet Marketing, make a living that way and just vanish back into the world of online gaming/roleplaying. Who would miss me? Who would miss my blog?

    No-one I’m not already in touch with by other means

    Marc´s last blog post..Aikido Demonstration

  11. @Marc,
    I hope you get the chance to read all of these comments. Some were in moderation when yours came in. This is why I do it. The feeling of strength and renewed purpose they’ve given me will keep me going through dips and doubts to come. Where else can we have heart felt conversations like these, have the means to reach out and find people who value the deepest yearnings of our hearts because they resonate with them somewhere, on a frequency that has no borders or physical limits? Like folk have said above, it’s so important to get our own needs met on our blogs first. Remember when you did the brave survey you did on your blog and asked people which had been their favourite posts? The passionate, emotional, witty, deeply honest ones about you came top. And I’ve passed your heart tugging email forwards on to many people. Writing isn’t just about the words you create, it’s about how you filter your world so that other people can benefit from the parts that have moved you. Randi wrote something in her blog today about her surprise at someone remembering her. I’ve just remembered a quote that may explain why I value, not just the words, but the essences of the people I know and the blogs I visit – and remember some strangers and not others.

    I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~
    Maya Angelou

  12. It seems I am late to the party!

    I did want to say, however, that I do not believe blogging is a waste of time. Especially since I write for me first, and then everyone else. I also don’t check my stats. I have a general idea of what’s going on but I don’t go out of my way to check them.

    When I was first blogging I remember the day I had 40 something hits and I was like “Holy cow!” Up until then it had been in the 10s and 20s and I remember thinking “Wow, 40 people wanted to read what I had to say!” But the bigger that number got, the more pressure I felt. Suddenly I was worried about all these other people – whether I was good enough, whether they got any value – instead of sharing what I needed to share.

    Since I don’t run any advertising on TTi, I don’t think it matters whether I pay attention to those stats. I also took down my site hits, because it was making some of my beloved regulars insecure. At first I wrestled with the whole “social proofing” thing, but then I realized that social proofing only matters if you are trying to be an uber blogger.

    I’ve seen blogs start up that are younger and newer than mine, with derivative content gain far more headway than I have. And that’s ok, it is absolutely 100% ok. The reason those bloggers are blogging are not the reason that I am blogging. We have completely different goals and so we’ll have completely different results.

    It helps to get very clear on why exactly you are blogging. For me, I’m all about laying bare the truth of life and celebrating our connection with humanity. So if I only had 40 people reading my blog, that’s forty people who are working on making the world a better place! It’s also 40 like minded people! It may be a small community, but I would take those 40 people over 10,000 random ones.

    The other thing I’ve done is to do my best to help my blogging friends as much as possible. As a result I have several blogging buddies who have attained more recognition, etc. in the blogging community. The interesting thing about that, however, is that because I helped them in the first place I feel a part of their success. It’s joyful instead of threatening.

    {HUG}

    I know it can be difficult when you feel like you are alone in the darkness, the only spark of authenticity to be found, but you have people who care about you. Friends you’ve made via blogging. Connection that’s more real that what others may be forging.

    Hayden Tompkins´s last blog post..The Gift of Music

  13. @Hayden,
    Not late at all – we’ve just downed the first few bottles of wine and I’m so happy today I’m the one at the door crying and hugging everyone just for coming over!I’m in a different time zone from most folk so I often arrive at blogs 30-70 comments down the line!

    Thank you, especially for the {hug}. This comment, like other comments above, has restored my faith. I’m starting to think all new bloggers must go through these fire rings of self discovery and evolution. I’d never have guessed – everyone else’s blog grass can seem so juicy and green – and I’m so glad I’ve found out. You’re absolutely right that the key is to know why we’re doing this. I got a lot of writing buzz through my newsletter articles, but I started a blog because I wanted to make a home for my writing, I wanted to write oftener, to reach more people, different people, to have more spontaneous dialogue and be able to support folk through their ongoing struggles or celebrate their successes with them. I love the immediacy of blogging as well as the connection.

    I’m completely with you on the support aspect too. I’ve ‘known’ you for ages through other comments boxes and it helps me add to the picture I get of folk on their blogs. I have favourite commenters when I visit other blogs as well as enjoying the bloggers themselves. I’ve made some really good friends like that, consolidated the first bonds in emails and sometimes in phone calls.

    I’m glad you’ve kept to the heart of why you blog. The guest post you hosted the other day was truly inspirational and the post where you had an epiphany a few days later had me in tears. The good power of blogging. Thank you for taking the time to share all this with me. Every blogging down I’ve had over the last month has brought me closer and closer to saying I can’t do this any more. I’ve really been floundering out at sea. Something had to give and that post yesterday was the weird result. I re-read it today, and couldn’t remember writing some parts of it.

  14. My spaceagesage blog was based on the search for this “loom,” but I think you have the better words and heart to find it for your readers:

    Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
    Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
    Of facts . . . they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
    Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
    Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
    To weave it into fabric.

    ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

    Lori Hoeck´s last blog post..The Blame Game of emotional predators

  15. Janice: Thank you for your generous response.

    I want to celebrate these words of yours ~ in appreciation of everyone who is doing just that at Sharing the Journey:

    “Writing isn’t just about the words you create, it’s about how you filter your world so that other people can benefit from the parts that have moved you.”

  16. Hi Janice,

    Apologies on being late in getting here but I was out for the entire day yesterday. I have been catching up all day and finally made my way hear.

    Your journey with blogging is not unique and I think everyone has their moments of struggle. I think the blogosphere is a reflection of what we see out in the world.

    Like anything, I think a blog should be done because simply the person loves to do it. If a person does not love what they do, it shows. Much attention is paid to statistics and things like that which I understand to some degree. However, a blog is more than just statistics. It is an affair of the heart and your love for what you do is very apparent on your blog. I am so happy to read all the wonderful replies you received because you deserve them.

    Just be the wonderful person you are and you have nothing to worry about. 🙂

    Nadia – Happy Lotus´s last blog post..Dealing With The Lumps Under The Carpet

  17. @Lori,
    What a beautiful poem. I know exactly what you mean about weaving. It’s one of my life metaphors along with tapestries, patchworks and mosaics. (I have Greek woven hangings on my walls.) Just a longing to create something from all of the living, a way of finding some meaning. The loom is such a great image for what I hope this blog can be, taking everyone’s strands to make something good, even if it’s just a small piece of art.

    @Vered,
    Thank you! Less frequent posting is definitely something I need to work into a natural rythm. I’ve had lots of advice to do that and I’m one of those people who’s very happy to have breathing spaces between folks’ blog posts. I suppose because this is a new blog, I’m scared I’m not established enough to be bold about pacing myself better – or at least I wasn’t till this post. I feel a sea change coming on.

    @Connie,
    You’ve framed my words and made them sound better than I wrote them! These boxes are what blogging is all about for me, Connie, and the fact that it happens in the comment boxes of all of the people here, like strands of lights around all the trees in the streets of a lit up town.

  18. Oh, Janice. There are so many beautiful comments here, of which mine will now sound like mostly an echo. But let me speak from my heart and tell you that this is exactly what I needed to read today. I felt that you were articulating some of my own wanderings (and wonderings) of the heart lately, and doing so (as usual) with the gift only you have with words.

    Lance (and couple of others after him) mentioned you blog is a place of “light.” He’s right. When I think of your blog, a mental image actually comes to my mind of a cozy home with a lamp in the window (and perhaps a pie on the sill) shining out warmly into a dark night or dreary, damp, rainy day. It beckons me on those days (and on sunnier days) too in a way that is very elemental. I want to pop in, cast down my load, have a cup of tea, and just be … in front of the metaphorical fire.

    This is a very special thing, Janice, and it is to your credit. This is you! S’agapo, phile mou. Alitheia.

    Chania Girl´s last blog post..The Next Steps in the Journey …

  19. Hi Janice. I have to echo what Lance has said. I’m a fairly new reader of your blog and I enjoy “your voice”. That is what I appreciate. Blogging can become coloured when we try to be someone else (perhaps your flu is symbolic of you releasing that “stuff”. I LOVED this statement you made because I so get it; “…queasiness at the underlying hypocrisy and unmentioned stalking and plunder that goes on in the shadows. Oh yeah!
    PS. Thanks for the link. Glad you enjoyed the bird story. I’ll have to tell them 🙂

    Davina´s last blog post..Heads Up — Beware of Crows!

  20. @Nadia,
    There’s no such thing as arriving late over here; I cherish every comment and you’re always welcome to put my kettle on and make yourself at home, whenever you arrive!

    You have such a gift for making the complicated simple. I do love what I do; sometimes I do too much of it (novella-length posts 🙁 , over long comments and replies, too many comments, reading too many blogs) and sometimes I don’t do enough (not enough living, or quality writing, or theme tweaking or reading the books that inspire me.)

    These comments have made me feel I’m getting much closer to my centre; it’s like I’m a lump of clay on a potter’s wheel that needs to be centred perfectly so that centrifugal motion doesn’t throw it off.

    @Chania Girl,
    Thank you. I don’t see your comment as an echo; these comments have felt like waves in an ocean, each one beautiful in its own way as it breaks and reaches a grateful shore.

    Your comment makes sense of something for me. I’ve been concerned about you lately, something sad in your online voice like it’s longing to get back to its centre, too. I get like that when I miss writing. I used to feel like a nomad outside of Greece, a stranger back home in Scotland. Even though I settled back in the UK to raise our kids, I still feel like a nomad, only at home where my husband and kids are, or on a page.

    One particular image in your comment made me smile and forward it to a friend. An article will show up on the blog, when it’s ready, that will explain why.

    @Davina,
    Thank you. I do feel ‘cleaner’ somehow, like I cleared something out of my system that’s been going toxic. I genuinely believe there are lots of authentic blogs and bloggers out there, even though people go through dips and doubts, but I seem to have quite an unyielding authenticity-ometer and I do hate to see people just rehashing stuff without filtering it through themselves in any way. I was scared of losing my voice. My mum used to say “Ye cannae please aw’body aw the time.” She was right.

    Linking’s one of my favourite things here! So many goodies to share! That’s one of the reasons I’ve joined Twitter. I’m not ready to do anything yet – I’m still clueless – but ‘tweeting’ someone’s posts seems to be a way of making people happy so I thought it would be a good place to start.

  21. Blogging is a labor of love! That is for sure. If it isn’t, it is a waste of time. I find that as you go along the journey of blogging you gather up kindred spirits that keep you encouraged and that you can encourage in return. It doesn’t take many to form a small community of like minded people, a small handful will do! I enjoy blogging just as much today with big numbers as I did in the day when 30 hits was an amazing record.
    Best to you in your blogging adventures!

    melissa @ the inspired room´s last blog post..A Winding Path

    • @Melissa,
      Confession to make; it’s a thrill to have you visit! I’ve enjoyed your blog silently for ages but am ashamed to say I’ve been putting off doing all the homemaking posts I wanted to do because there are so many wonderful blogs like yours that people can feast their eyes on. But that’s daft of me because it’s a huge part of who I am; I love homemaking, designing, creating and blessing my family and my home and I’m gradually realising that the best homemaking blogs are the ones where the hosts filter their lives and thoughts and feelings through the photos and features they choose to highlight as well as their design talents and tastes. I feel, because of the wee community that’s growing here, that I’m gradually getting brave enough to start doing that.

      Another confession? I’m rubbish at embedding photos into my blog! It takes me ages to find, crop and embed them or I feel guilty if I use other people’s finds, even if I give them credit like I did with yours last week. (I hope you liked how my mind connected your ‘white cottage’ find with Rumi’s guest house poem. It felt ‘meant’ when I found it. )

      Thank you for the encouragement!

  22. geez, Janice, look at all the support you have here. You are LOVED, MzUK! You can bare your heart and soul like few writers, and that is just one of your talents.

    I think of commenters as weather-bearers in a way. We are all influenced by whether it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, or just plain downright perfect. Comments give you a wee bit of the weather’s influence from around the world. It creates balance, I think, and balance seems to be the thing you are craving, perhaps because you have been “under the weather.”

    I like stories. I’d like to know more about your work. Have you written coaching stories before? I also like the occasional rant. This post has elements of the rant but you tempered it so well by adding the poem and the prayer and descriptions of some of your favorite blogs, a balancing act itself. I think you have all the right stuff in equal proportion and you need not fret too much unless the weather gets to again. Then say how you feel. Your emotional honesty is part of your great appeal.

    We’re having a drought down here in Texas yet look how much I wrote!:)

    Brenda´s last blog post..Oprah’s Lavender

  23. @Brenda,
    Thank you! I’m still a bit dazed by how quickly folk have sensed I was genuinely wobbling all over the place, on the brink of just letting the blog go. Every one who comments here is very soul-aware and intuitive, I’m absolutely convinced of that, so it shouldn’t have surprised me that the silent readers in our community are, too.

    I’m addicted to metaphors, and weather is a fantastic one. It already has meaning for me. I have a friend who’s an official seller of a magazine that allows the homeless to have an income. He’s a fantastic gift to the elderly and troubled youths who chat to him as they window shop; he lives in a hostel now and is training to do alcohol counselling. We became friends because he always cheerily chats to people about the weather. (Brits are obsessed and talk about it endlessly!) I used to always reply “I don’t mind what the weather’s like; if I notice weather, I’m still alive.” He eventually started referring to me as ‘the woman who loves weather’ and we can now talk about anything from Tolle to teenagers.

    You’re so right about me needing to get my balance back. If we step back enough, we can see the ebb and flow of it all, the blogging and commenting tides and seasons. I really was worried that people might start gagging on too much soul-baring and emotional honesty. But then I realised I’d wandered away from what I’d originally planned to do which was to balance the longer pieces by sharing tidbits of things that ‘spoke’ to me: quotes, recipes, links, reviews, videos, photos. I’m now determined to do more of that so that my writing doesn’t get too diluted by daily exposure.

    I’m sending you written rain! (Plenty here!)

  24. Hi, Janice,

    I’m new here, and am sorry to say I don’t remember how I found you…but I’m SO glad I did. You are a breath of fresh air! You are unique and bright and oh-so-very warm and welcoming… Your words make me feel like there’s a real person writing them, a real person having a lovely chat with me, just the two of us, about real things, meaningful things. You write from the heart ABOUT heart. I love that.

    You know what? I just learned that most new bloggers don’t make it to their first blogging anniversary, and now I know that’s why I’ve had such highs and lows, ebbs and flows. My energy level, enthusiasm, and even my creativity have suffered from what I soon realized was a self-imposed “need” to follow various blogging “rules” I came across: scheduled posts, posts written ahead of time, having a niche… Oh my. I don’t follow rules well, rebelling almost automatically. But I tried. And I ended up having posting droughts and even a couple of hiatuses and, right now, a big posting break. I’m officially giving myself a summer vacation (well, except for a couple surprises). This welcome break feels very good. All this to say, give yourself whatever pats on the back and mini- (or major) vacations you want. This is your home and you are free to do exactly as you please—and we’ll all welcome every bit of it. 😉

    You have an amazing ability to pack so much of yourself into your words. You make writing seem effortless and each of us feel welcome. And I think all these comments show how much all your readers relate to everything you shared today. 🙂

    Hugs to you!
    ~ Julie

    PS: Lance told me about TweetDeck. I’m learning, too, and it seems to help a little. 😉

    Julie´s last blog post..Creative, Creativ, Kreativ

    • Hi Julie,
      I recognise your wee photo – you have a twinkle! – and I’ve seen your supportive comments in lots of mutual friends’ boxes. This was lovely and really made my day, but I’m sure anyone reading the thread will benefit too.

      What you said in your first paragraph is exactly how I feel about this blog. When I launched it, I always said I’d write for myself and the one person who reads it. (It only takes one reader to breathe life into a piece of writing.) I decided if two people came, it would then be the drop-in café/bistro community I’d dreamed of creating, and the ‘sharing’ part of my blog name would be fulfilled. I genuinely love these boxes; people share so much intuition and wisdom in their comments, it feels like a blog within a blog. I’ve just re-read this post and comments and I’m so glad I was brave enough to write it; I’ve felt re-aligned and on track again since I did. Like I narrowly avoided going over to the Dark Side.

      Since then, I’ve been trying to find a blogging rythm so that everything I do is because I want to and because it’s in tune with what I’m trying to do here. Like I said to Brenda, I’ve decided to go back to my original plan of posting a patchwork of bits and pieces. I think that’s why I nearly gave up; apart from tiredness and all the other stuff, I realised I know what I want to do overall – to support, and inspire and give folk the encouragement to just be themselves, but I’m never really sure from day to day how exactly I’ll be doing it! I love serendipity and synchronicity and that’s exactly what I hope to pass on – that feeling of never knowing what you’ll find or learn or enjoy from one moment to the next. I love what you say about this being my ‘home’, and I hope I never lose that I feeling I have of being happy when anyone drops in.

      Thanks for the pointer about tweetdeck. I keep hearing about it.

    • You’re welcome; I’m touched you commented on this. I feel for anyone has to go through it who isn’t given the strength to deal with it, both at the time and afterwards. I went strangely calm both times and kept talking, like they do in films because they say people can hear for a while afterwards. The first person was my bachelor uncle who lived with us and was like another dad; the second person was my mum.

  25. Hey, beside Rumi and the other riches in this blog the following quotation of your words feel like a guardian angel of the connections which you provoke, dear Janice: “Writing isn’t just about the words you create, it’s about how you filter your world so that other people can benefit from the parts that have moved you.”

    • Thank you Connie, for mentioning Rumi today, for reminding me of this post and for setting me off on an intense trip down memory lane. Six years ago, and I can still remember every one of those those beautiful comments coming in; such a community of born cherishers and nurturers. I have been so, so blessed here. I know it was my own fault, walking away from all of this, putting health and family first when I could have been building something on these loving foundations, but you know something Connie? Many of these folk don’t blog any more. That’s the poignancy of sharing only part of your journey with people. Something weird and potent was going on in 2008/9 – so many folk riding the blogging waves, inspiring each other. A very intense time. It’s just occurred to me, it’s been ten years since you and I ‘met’ online.

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