Breathe, B.L.O.G. and give with intention. These are three lessons I took away from blogger Ananda Leeke’s talk at the WordPress Press Publish conference in Portland last weekend. Ananda is writer, a yoga teacher, an Internet geek and an advocate/campaigner for President Obama. She was formally a lawyer. Read more about her at anandaleeke.com/
My yoga teacher is always telling my class to take our practice off the mat and into the real world. I’ve never thought about that in relation to blogging and writing, until Ananda brought it in her session. Before Ananda began speaking she asked us to close our eyes, focus on our breath and come into the present. It was a welcome exercise because I was not fully in the room until that moment. How did she know? Did the room full of smartphones give it away?! I was living in the past (digesting information from the last session) and future (looking over the conference schedule trying to decide which session to attend next), while simultaneously living in my kids’ present (reading and responding to their texts).
A few focused, cleansing breaths and I was ready to listen, and take this same practice home to my own writing. I can’t say it’s been a great success this week, but when I do remember to focus on my breath while writing, the distractions of Facebook and the buzz of the dryer fade into the background, and the words come easier. Even better, it also helps release tension in my neck and shoulders, which is an ongoing struggle from spending too many hours on a computer.
Ananda has a personal blogging mantra that she shared with us and it really spoke to me. The mantra is the word “blog” itself — as an acronym. B.L.O.G. Here’s what it stands for:
B: Be yourself
L: Love the stories you tell on your blog
O: Open yourself to new opportunities
G: Give back
Ananda’s blog has detailed explanations on what each part of her mantra means to her. I encourage you to read them because she not only writes about healthy blogging and social media habits, but how writing about her passions took her all the way to the White House.
I was telling a friend this morning, as we walked our dogs together, a little about what Ananda’s mantra means to me. My friend is a new blogger, too. She runs her own business and she launched a blog to support it, as well as share the immense amount of knowledge she has in her line of work as a birth doula, childbirth educator and reflexologist.
B for Be Yourself, L for Love the Stories You Tell on Your Blog
There are many reasons to blog and just as many reasons not to. For my friend, her blog is meant to share information and market her business, but she wants to do some creative writing as well. My friend’s passions are her business: helping bring new parents and babies into the world, and healing people through reflexology. That is what she writes about.
For me, my blog is mostly a creative outlet, but I also hope it serves as a bridge between the old me (the professional writer), the present me (the stay-at-home mom) and the future me (the empty-nest writer). I’m using it to practice writing after many years spent primarily focusing on my family. My passions, along with my blog, are still evolving. I love poetry, writing, travel, reading and the news. I’ve recently decided travel should have its own separate blog and I’m working on launching Traveling the Pale Blue to write about our family adventures.
O for Open Yourself to New Opportunities
The connections I’ve made with other bloggers in my short time on WordPress have been surprising. I’ve discovered bloggers to be an overwhelming kind and supportive bunch. So far, only a small group of people I know in real life know I’m here. That’s OK, but I do know that if I’m going to subscribe fully to Ananda’s mantra and stay open to opportunities, I have to let a broader group of people know.
To be honest, blogging scares the hell out of me, but the happiness writing brings me outweighs the fears.
“I like blogging mom,” my youngest daughter told me recently.
“What? What do you like about her?” I asked.
“You’re more interesting. And that makes me happy.”
Is there a better reason to keep going? I don’t think so.
G for Give Back
Ananda uses her blogging and social media skills to support organizations she believes in. It’s too early for that for me, but I have given back in other areas of my life — over given too many times and something she said about that resonated with me.
“Give back in ways that don’t consume you, but enrich your heart.” —Ananda Leake
For now, my blog is giving to me. It enriches my heart. And I’m looking for opportunities to grow, share and give. Thanks for reading.