Friday, December 31, 2010

Traditions and pages, continued

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
I've been revisiting some of my archived posts here at Healing Morning and this is another thought that I didn't think I could improve upon that much.  I'd like to repost it and add something I wrote on my Facebook wall last night.  This may become a new tradition of sorts, we shall see.  This is what I wrote on New Year's Eve, 2010:

As we bid farewell to 2010, despite admittedly challenging moments, what stands out the most for me is that I laughed a LOT during 2010. I am so well blessed with loving friendships & a beautiful family, good health, & a creative, agile mind. I wish for all of us to greet 2011 with an open heart & the excitement & willingness to grab onto Life with both hands, take chances & dare to be happy. Namaste'.    ~ Dawn, 12/31/2010

I've already made my feelings known about making, keeping and/or breaking New Year's Resolutions.  I firmly boycott the idea (see blogpost "Just say 'No!'") of resolutions.  Instead, tonight and as I do every New Year's Eve, I embrace an old Irish tradition.  It is for us to take a moment in the hour prior to midnight and reflect on the people who matter the most to us.  This moment of reflection, according to tradition, ensures that these same people will be present in your New Year.  I have always loved this concept and never fail to dedicate those important moments of reflection.  I have another, more personal tradition of journaling that I will address in a moment, so bear with me!

Of course, the tradition above is more a lyrical, lovely sentiment than any sure promise we will have written in stone.  I am, however, a romantic at heart, so I do not apologize for choosing to believe in the true, mystical power of this type of tradition!  Rather than pesky resolutions I never keep, what better way to greet the New Year than with intentional thought and energy towards having those I love the most in my life in the next calendar year?  I find that a much more logical application of my time and energy!

I always feel so much hope and optimism as we bid farewell to the ending year and prepare to greet the new one.  We are lucky, I think, to stand at the brink of twelve new months full of possibilities, experiences, memories yet to be made, laughter yet to be shared, beautiful sights yet to be witnessed.  Therefore, New Year's Eve, for me at least, is a hopeful, cheerful time. 

If I continue to explore the world around me with an open heart, if I continue to pursue my dreams in 2010 as I have in 2009, I see no way that the New Year can be anything but positive.  Will difficult times visit each of us?  Quite possibly, they will.  We do not exist in limbo, after all, and there is balance in all things.  For now, we have a New Year to celebrate.  The page is blank for all of us, waiting for each hand to scroll out the moments.  I find that exciting, challenging, thought provoking and above all, something to be thankful for.

What will your personal page look like?  Is it plain, ruled white paper?  Maybe handsome, thick vellum that expresses your distinct flair?  Will you write the moments out with traditional black ink pen, or perhaps choose to thumb your nose at tradition and dash out thoughts in bold, unique colors like purple or green?  Are your pages bound in a spiral notebook, practical and sturdy?  Or are they bound in an elegant leather volume that appeals to your sense of quiet, private reverie?  None of these matter - perhaps your pages exist completely in your imagination.  My pages actually exist in corporeal form, in journal format of basic black bound books with unlined pages where I write my moments in clean, black ink.  I have a new book for 2011, waiting to have those new experiences recorded. 

Being the writer I am, I find it appropriate that my New Year's greeting encompasses what some will call a flight of fancy with the tradition expressed above, and also the practice and discipline of writing in longhand, in journal format to begin the journey of a new cycle.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just say "No!".....

Update: December 2010
Sometimes I find that I wrote a past blog that I can't improve upon, but that addresses an ongoing yearly issue.  This post is such a one, and rather than try to reinvent my own wheel, I'm just going to re-post this one. :)  Best wishes to everyone for the approaching New Year of 2011!

We're at that inevitable moment approaching the New Year where practically everyone you speak with throws the "What's your New Year's resolution?" question at you.  Don't get me wrong - this practice works for a lot of people to get motivated, start the New Year fresh, get organized and make lists of all the things they plan to accomplish.  I've never embraced the resolution concept because I don't enjoy having something hanging over my head, making me feel obligated to do, be or feel differently on a specific timeline.  To be facetious for a wee moment, I'm more a fan of the "Just say 'No!' to New Year's Resolutions!" mindset.

I am of the opinion that striving to live daily in a conscious manner works better.  This may sound like a cop-out, but the reverse is actually true.  By living consciously, I mean paying attention to my thoughts, my actions, my words, my tone of voice, even my physical movements and the things I eat and drink on a daily basis.  It requires being physically, mentally and emotionally present on a moment by moment basis, again, each and every day.

I can tell you that choosing to embrace this concept is challenging.  There are plenty of days that I fail spectacularly on all of the above.  Those are the days that can be frustrating, yes.  However, the concept of living consciously is not meant to be an onerous task, or an invisible tool with which to torment ourselves.  For me, it is a personal choice to strive each day to be the best version of myself it is possible to accomplish.  On the days that I fall short of my own personal expectations, I am then realistic and kind to myself.  There are going to be those days where things, people, traffic, work, kids, etc., all conspire to make any sane person's head want to spin around on their shoulders.  Bad days happen. 

What I have found, over the years that I began to actively incorporate this practice of living consciously into my daily existence, is that the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  I am fortunate to have a calm, peaceful core nature which serves me well in business situations where various personalities can clash, tempers can fray and power struggles are constant.  At a very young age, something within me recognized that operating in what I call a reactive (i.e., unconscious) manner produced people who walked around in a constant state of dissatisfaction.  I observed, studied, did a lot of thinking and reading and resolved to not be that same reactive type of personality.  Being mindful of my actions is how I chose to live my life, and from that point forward, it has worked for me. 

Does all of this mean I think I shouldn't embrace the New Year's Resolution craze?  Am I saying I'm perfect and not in need of resolving to change certain things?  Of course not - I am far from perfect and certainly it is true that I have my own rough edges in need of smoothing and refining.  I just prefer to address those issues and behaviors on a regular, daily basis, rather than letting it all build up to tackle at the beginning of the New Year.  That way, when the New Year does roll in to greet me, I am able to step forward with enjoyment and not dread some looming list of Have To's that will hang over my head and dog my every waking moment.

This is what works for me, so in a sense, if pushed to write out a resolution for the New Year of 2010, or any future New Year (as I re-post this for the approaching 2011 New Year) it would be to stay true to my convictions and continue to live in the purposeful manner that works well for me.  This works so well for me, in fact, that it is the basis of a manuscript I am writing and have intentions of submitting for publication in the near future, so please stay tuned for news of this!  As this year winds to conclusion, I wish you all the best, brightest approach to the New Year that each of you can imagine for yourselves.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Paper Gift

Photo / Icon courtesy of
Authentic Blogger
 The traditional gift for a first year anniversary is....paper!  How beautifully appropriate this is.  I reacted with a delighted smile when I looked this information up online.  Today is the one year anniversary of my Facebook blogging group, Authentic Blogger.  I co-founded this group with my buddy, Duane Scott, on December 21, 2009.  At the time, he and I were both fairly new at the whole blogging game.  New enough to still be fumbling around and learning a great deal, but by that point we had also both garnered enough experience to recognize some frustrations with the blogging groups we were finding on the internet.  We shared those frustrations via email and phone conversations, until one fateful day, we both asked the question, "Why don't WE create a group?  We could do it differently."

So, that's what we did.  I'll be honest and tell you that neither of us really knew the scope of possibility.  It was a very naive process that stunned us both with the immediate response it received....and continues to receive to this day.  It would not be an understatement to say that in the first week of Authentic Blogger existing, we were getting an enthusiastic response that was slightly overwhelming, but also exciting.  I can't count how often Duane and I emailed, texted and called with "Did you see that?" or "Oh my word, LOOK at how many members we have today!" or "Turn your laptop on and Google us - we exist on the internet and it's beyond cool!" comments.

There have been growing pains in this first year of existence. We've learned as we've gone along, and we've made mistakes here and there.  I am happy to say that we have only had to permanently block/ban two people in this first year, and those were people who were attempting to use our forum to spam members.  We have been very clear from Day One about our Mission Statement.  Authentic Blogger is an online forum created to offer a community for writers/bloggers of all walks of life, where you can meet fellow writers, grow your readership, learn helpful tips, and strenghthen your writing skills. 

We feel that it is important to be authentic in the blogging world, and that means that we do NOT embrace the "if you follow me, I'll follow you" mentality that is so prevalent in the blog-o-sphere.  If you fall into that category, Authentic Blogger group might not resonate for you.  We want people to READ our blogs.  If you're out there focused on merely collecting empty names and not doing any reading of the blogs you follow, how can you expect anyone to spend time reading YOUR content?  With that in mind, we encourage authentic interaction.  Join our group, post your blog links each time you write a new article, meet fellow members and visit their blogs.  If you find content that you enjoy, write thoughtful comments on that blog and follow them.  Reciprocating in this authentic manner, we feel, is the best way to grow your readership and market your blog. 

So, perhaps now you can all see why I smiled when I found that paper is the traditional gift for a one year anniversary.  What could be more apropo for a blogging/writing group anniversary?!  Granted, the process of blogging is an electronic format these days, rather than applying pen to paper in the old fashioned sense, but I still smile at the paper gift idea.  Whether we scratch away at antique vellum with quill pen, or we write with ball point on lined paper, or we tap away on an LED screen with desktop or laptop, or we use the increasingly popular Smart Phone (I'm still resisting that trend myself), writing is writing.  If you are a blogger, writing is part of your very essence.

You probably wake up each day with thoughts to write about.  You probably have inspiration hit in the most unlikely moments and locations, requiring a frantic search for a scrap of paper to jot the thought down before it can disappear at the whim of the Writing Muse.  You probably wrestle with words, juggling and adjusting, tweaking in infinetesimal degrees until the flow suits your preference.  Many of you may dream of being published one fine day.  Many of you are also completely satisfied with the process of just blogging.  Lots of our members have multiple blogs they manage.  Some of you might even make a business out of that type of social media consulting.

Bottom line, if you're a member of Authentic Blogger Facebook Group, you're a specific type of serious writer who cares about the way you craft your blogging image, and who also cares about the way you build your readership.  Our concept resonates with you and you are the reasons our group is still flourishing and growing today, one year later. 

Duane and I had big dreams for Authentic Blogger when we founded the group.  In the past year, some of those dreams have shifted, some have been discarded, and the way we do things has changed several times. There have been many moments of outright hilarity as we wrestled with myriad blogging tools and concepts, and the shared humor kept us going. More changes are inevitable, because Life is always evolving.  My personal wish for the group is that we continue to grow, slowly and surely, attracting similar bloggers who have an equal wish to meet authentic, creative souls.  I also envision Authentic Blogger growing to a larger presence that will provide even more opportunities for all of our members.  How these hopes and dreams will manifest is yet to be realized, and that's half the fun of it for me. 

For now, I am thrilled to say that one year later, Authentic Blogger still exists and is continuing to succeed.  My partnership and friendship with Duane continues to thrive.  My relationships with many of our AB members are equally strong.  Indeed, I have established friendships with many of our members that I am confident will be lifelong connections.  The blogging world has provided amazing, unexpected opportunities for me with my personal blog, and with Authentic Blogger.  Many of these experiences are ones I couldn't have imagined for myself, and believe me, I have a great imagination!  So, a final wish for the future of Authentic Blogger is merely to continue along the same path we've already established.  Growth, surprises, success, friendship...and writing.  I want all of those and I am positive they will occur.

To each and every one of our Authentic Blogger members, I say a sincere and appreciative Thank You for giving us a chance, for sharing your creative talents regularly on our wall, and for continuing to tell your blogging friends about us.  To my AB partner, Duane, thank you for sticking with it, even when it required you to take some deep breaths and add another ball to the pile you were already juggling, and thank you most of all for the shared laughter!  To Dave Roy and Anahid Boghosian, our two wonderful admin friends, thank you for being in the wings, ready to pinch hit for us and join in the ball juggling!

If you're a blogger, or if you enjoy reading blogs, and you stumble across this post in one of the numerous places I'll be routing it, take a moment to visit Authentic Blogger Facebook Group and join us.  I promise you'll be happy you gave it a try.

We are in the week approaching Christmas, and I find it lovely that Duane and I chose, out of the whole calendar year, this particular season to create Authentic Blogger. I think it is a time when the harmony and universal consciousness is at a higher vibration, and I'm sure the date we chose to create this group embued it with a bit of extra sparkle and energy.  Season's Greetings to everyone, from the bottom of my heart.  I look forward to many more years of blogging and friendship with all of you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Blogging Class of 2009

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
I began Healing Morning blog in September of 2009.  At the time, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or where blogging might lead me.  I actually had to get a girlfriend who was familiar with blogging to show me how to set my blog page up.  We met at a local Panera Bread with her laptop and that's how Healing Morning was born.

From there, I bumbled and fumbled my way along, exploring all the infinite details of marketing my blog, gaining readers and followers, adapting various formatting tools to my own needs and learning.  Always learning.  That learning process continues today, more than a year later, and I doubt it will ever end.  Blogging and the blog-o-sphere is a fluid world, ever changing to fit the new dynamics of the internet and new programming brain child creations of widgets, gadgets and flashy fun things.

Around the time of my one year anniversary, or blog-o-versary, I began to realize that many of the dear friends I've made in the blogging world had also created their own blogs around the same time I created Healing Morning.  I still find this to be rather apropo and fascinating.  Was it an accident that we all decided to venture into the world of blogging at the end of the summer of 2009?  I don't think it was an accident at all.  I think there was very sure, clear, beautiful purpose and Divine Order and logic to the whole thing.

We became what I am now calling The Blogging Class of 2009.  In a sense, we all started a new school, just as we did with first grade in elementary school.  These people, regardless of linear age, are my contemporaries in the school of blogging.  We've all struggled with various ephemeral classes such as Content, Marketing, Advertising, Gadgets and Widgets, Embedding Photographs and more.  Some of us turned out to shine more brightly and show more aptitude than others in certain "classes".  We have banded together to support and encourage one another, to cheer one another on with victorious moments, and to be the proverbial hand to hold in sad times.  A few of us have dropped off the face of active blogging, and that's a natural progression to a degree. 

It is said that there are literally millions of "orphan blogs" cluttering up the blog-o-sphere, where people just abandoned the poor things when they found the task of daily maintenance to be too burdensome.  Again, this is a natural occurrence.  As with all things, there is a season.  Some blogs just aren't meant to last forever. 

For the current moment, my Blogging Class of 2009 is still mostly intact.  There is a core group of us who are earnestly tapping away at our keyboards on a regular basis, giving birth and voice to a wide range of topics and mindset on our respective blog pages.  I find it fascinating, how we all migrated together within that one to two month time period of late summer of 2009. 

Photo courtesy of
Authentic Blogger
 Different blogging concepts have been born as a result of all this interaction, with Authentic Blogger Facebook Group being one of them, and one of my own personal proud achievements.  Awards, large and small, have been doled out to many of those in this core group.  I predict that there will be a few breakout stars among us in the future.  Indeed, there are a few who have already gone on to achieve some impressive feats with becoming published authors, or contributing columnists to various high profile online websites.  These achievements make me smile, just as I have experienced when witnessing proud moments of classmates that I grew up with.  In the blogging sense, I continue to grow along with these virtual classmates, and I truly do revel in the victories of my contemporaries.  Success of a blogging nature is contagious, I have found, and it encourages us all to continue writing, striving, dreaming and creating.

Where will this particular, intimate Blogging Class of 2009 grow?  Where will we all land in the creative process?  Personally, I hope there is no evident end in sight for any of us.  I would wish for all of us to endlessly flourish, to continually grow, to tirelessly excel and dream.  What I can say with certainty is that an unseen bond exists between all of us.  I believe we all subconsciously entered the world of blogging for a larger purpose, with one of them being for all of us to connect in this seemingly random manner.  Accidents, my friends, do not exist - I think most of us are aware of this.  The Blogging Class of 2009 happened for a reason.  Great things have come as a result already and more great things will be created in the future. 

As we reach the end of another calendar year, I will very soon celebrate another one year anniversary - that of Authentic Blogger on Facebook.  As the snow falls softly outside my office window tonight, I have been very reflective.  This happens to me every year in December, as I cast my mind back over what I have lived and experienced in the past twelve months.  Through whatever whim of Fate and the Unseen Guiding Hand of Light, I landed right slap in the midst of the Blogging Class of 2009.  I am forever connected to this cozy group of creative, talented, bright individuals and find myself in excellent company.  You all know who you are, and I hope you are smiling as you read this post.  I vote that we create some bumper stickers, maybe a class t-shirt, plan a Senior Trip in three more years, and talk up a class reunion at some point.  This was our Freshman Year, and I believe we have all done ourselves proud with our writing endeavors. 

Well met, Class of 2009....well met, my friends.