Blogging As A Mindfulness Practice: Why I Left You A Comment

Awareness

Everything you do can be used to help you wake up to the present moment. Why not make blogging into a mindfulness exercise?

 

This blogging world is pretty new to me. It’s so new that I don’t even know if it’s obvious that it’s new to me or not. I’m still learning everything from how to keep track of posts I like to finding a blog a second time.

When I first started making posts and actually putting effort in, I got a handful of followers. Some of them, who are probably reading this, were great people who actually read the post, actually liked it, maybe commented, and in either case, kept coming back for more.

Other new followers had blogs which I instantly checked out; I found something rather peculiar. A tiny handful of them had somewhat interesting posts, sure, but they also had loads, and I mean loads, of comments which were unanimously: “thank you for following my blog!”

Oh, that’s what this is, I thought. People aren’t following me because I’m an as-of-yet-undiscovered-genius; they are following me so that I follow them. Then it hit me, aha! I have had this feeling before!

I was sitting on the dirt next to a tree on the sidewalk in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. It was night time, so the only lighting was a juicy mix of streetlights and store lights, maybe some Christmas decorative lights as well, even though it was the later part of sweet early June.

I was selling necklaces that I had made; living out of a van with my guitar-playing gypsy boyfriend and a new puppy. A girl came up to me that evening and spent a lot of time asking me about each necklace; where I was when I made it, where I got the beads, how they would affect someone’s energy, and so on. She just wanted to know it all, and I was incredibly touched that a stranger was so kind and curious; and yet there was something strange. She was asking question after question, but wasn’t really engaging with the answers. I was just happy to be talking to someone.

After about a half hour of this flowery girl talk, she told me that she had come to tell me that there was one true savior and that he wanted me to be saved. My heart broke. It broke in half and fell to the bricks, oozing down into the crevices with leftover cigarette ash and dog pee. It made me hate her and anyone like her. I would not have minded had she walked up to me with a bible, stating her point, even if she wanted to yell at me or make fun of me. But she took the trouble to engage me in conversation, to find what mattered to me, and only then tell me her true purpose for starting the conversation.

That was the feeling I got when I looked at a person that had just started following me and realized that they had made a day of following any blog that had made a new post. Except the girl at least had looked me in the eye.

Now, it’s really not such a big deal. I may even be imagining that there is anything wrong with that approach to blogging; maybe it is just a common practice and I am in the dark.

My concern that since habits start to form around the ways we relate, the more time we spend on social network sites, the more that these patterns become part of the fabric of our being. We start getting careless and mindless in one arena, and slowly that mentality spreads like a stain on the rest of our lives. I believe that we can use the act of blogging, and of doing anything on the computer, to become more aware of the present moment.

My suggestion is that we all spend a teensy bit more time being aware of the things we do and the way we relate to people on our social media network. The quality of the things we write; the effort that goes into them and how that effort ends up impacting us when we leave the screen. There are so many things we can pay attention to in order to enhance the other parts of our lives. For instance, the more honest and clear I can be with a comment, the more it helps me to express certain feelings in my novel. Here is a list of a few things that you can pay attention to as you blog:

  • Your posture as you read, write, and work.
  • How you eat your food, if you eat by the computer. How you chew, swallow, and digest.
  • How it feels when your eyes move from the screen to the surrounding areas of your home.
  • How  it feels in your body when you stop to pet your dog or cat or pay attention to other people in the room.
  • How your stomach feels right in this moment.
  • How your feet feel on the surface or air that they are touching.
  • How it feels in your belly or chest when you think about a sentence that you want to type; how it feels to type it.
  • How it feels in your body when you listen to the noises happening around you.
  • What the air smells like.
  • How high above you the ceiling is; or the sky.
  • The feeling of your head on your shoulders.
  • How tense your shoulders are.
  • How tense your upper arms are.
  • How tense your forearms are.
  • How tense your hands are.
  • How tense your pointer finger is.
  • And so on.

There are literally endless aspects of this moment that you can pay attention to. So why not try it? Why not try out how it feels to follow other blogs mindlessly, and how it feels to read a random post, read what it says, and comment on how it affected you even if it is a post you never would have read otherwise?

Since trying to leave more meaningful comments and make more meaningful relationships with my blogging world, I have felt better in many writing-related ways. I have gotten over a huge blockage I had in regards to working on my book, and I feel more able to write my silly articles without bitterness for my job because I can take little breaks and leave a meaningful comment or two. It is my little exercise of verbalizing how I feel from a present state of mind.

The internet is a fabulous tool, a wonderful way of getting your voice into living rooms, coffee shops, parks, and minds all over the world. Pay attention to how you relate to it; and maybe you will learn more about how you relate with the rest of your daily scenery and relationships.

So let’s try to add a dose of awareness to the cocktail of all the things we are doing. Let’s be aware of our intention, our attention, and our inattention.

Sometimes it is tempting for me to read a post and love it, and simply hit “like.” But when I do that, the person doesn’t get to know how their words really affected me, sitting here in my hot little city with my feet on a dog and a glass of iced wine at my side. So I try to be honest and clear. It helps me in the rest of my life; and I think that those that don’t take advantage of such opportunities are missing out. That is why I left you a comment.

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86 thoughts on “Blogging As A Mindfulness Practice: Why I Left You A Comment

  1. What a concept! Awareness. So easy to sleepwalk through everything, including our writing, our reading, our interacting with others. Love your comment “let’s try to add a dose of awareness to the cocktail of all the things we are doing.” Your posts are a gift.

  2. For what it’s worth, I follow your posts because I love your writing style. Also, too, I want to follow along as you make progress on your book. And the fact that you have your feet on a dog and a glass of iced wine just make it that much better.

    • It is worth oh so much :) My feet are not *always* on the dog, I must say. But I put them there now, just to make your feelings grounded in reality.
      And…um..guess what came in the mail today?? I have to wait until me and my partner move tomorrow to start reading…but I am so very happy. I have been thinking about the world burning through me since you wrote that post.

  3. Thank you for your mindful post. There is a fine line between technology and being in the moment. However, I feel empowered with blogging and able to express my feelings in a positive way.

    • I remember looking at your Phoenix images and feeling a very powerful sensation…it was a mixture of joy, revival, rising, awakening. I think that you are using technology to the greatest advantage- from taking pictures of the ringling brothers exhibit in the museum, to sharing your own experience- that is what helps so many people to overcome their current predicaments, traumas and setbacks and to face their current reality with the highest level of strength and presentness…I am happy that you stopped by here :)

  4. Thank you so much of you kind words. I feel more inspired than ever to keep on drawing and recently drew another abstract phoenix last night. Initially I started my blog so that I could connect and help other people who have been through traumatic situations, such as a fire, like me. However, since then I have found inspiration in other people’s stories and learned through other people’s blogging experiences.

    • It is cool how some solutions or mindsets work for specific things, and others (most, I’d think) work for many different things. Lots of healers have blogs it seems, and that is such a good thing! Like a melting pot of all of our favorite things that have helped us with various challenges over the years. Again, great work :)

  5. I “like” this post because you suggest an easy fix for the mass of comments that get left on some blogs: Awareness. Yes, people are fishing for followers. I have found myself in that trap at times and wonder what purpose more followers serves. I’m not being paid, and whether 3 people enjoy what I write or 103 it makes no difference to what or how I write it.
    Maybe we all need to slow down and take a breath and realize that the person on the other side of the blog is a person.
    We can acknowledge them if we appreciate what they’ve written, not for the hope of one more ego-boost.
    Thanks for the post!

    • I’m glad that you totally see my point! Even if we fish for followers, the ones we get are probably doing the same thing…so it doesn’t amount to very much, especially when we care what we write. I started putting energy into my blog again because my book-on-book-proposals-book said that a good blog was a great asset for an aspiring writer. So, I thought “the more followers, the better!” and then realized what was going on…and so yeah, it doesn’t do much good if you are getting followers that don’t care for what you have to say! But finding awesome healthy blogs that are inspiring for each day of your life? That makes you feel good AND might help you find followers that really care :)

  6. Personally, I think having more followers or following a lot sucks. Recently I had to un-follow a couple of blogs coz they used to post 4 to 5 times a day and that overwhelmed my inbox.. I could not read any properly coz half my time was taken away by those couple of blogs. Now i am very comfortable with around 10 posts a day on average. It gives me time enough to read the whole posts. As I say “u cant justify passion with logic”. If blogging is ur passion, just do it without worrying for stats. :)

  7. I want to come back to this… You and I ponder very similar things. You’ve triggered thought in me. Thank you for that.

  8. That kind of thing happens on my Twitter – all these people following me cause they expect me to follow back. I usually check when they first follow if I like them or not. If not, it’s just an interest thing. I always like to connect with people, but sometimes a “thank you” is all I can think of. Good post, especially the end. :)

    • Thank you! I am still trying to understand Twitter…and once I do, I’m sure I’ll have the same feeling as here of “oh all these people started following me but they really didn’t liiiike me” and I’ll have to remember that you warned me! :)

  9. Jen,

    You know that I really do get this…and you. This is beautiful. I love that your writing is honest and open…so rare. I am grateful. Yes, this is a lonely world, but now and then the older souls who wander through time cross paths and in that moment they say…hey…it’s you…and they smile. Thanks for the smile. “All who wander are not lost.”

  10. I was just starting to wonder about those random followers on my blog .. and I think you’ve answered my question for me! But that’s not the only reason why I’m liking your post. Your post is an interesting read. :)

    • Thank you so much! It is so gratifying to read that. Maybe because my writing job is all quantity and no quality- hearing people say nice things about the work that I do actually put effort into is such a massage to the temples of my writing-confidence. Thank you again :)

  11. Hi Jennifer. Pleasant surprise to receive that you enjoyed a written post!! Returning it!! Love “awareness” too and the way the blog is presented here :-) Happy writing and times :-) Thank you.

  12. Jennifer that post pretty much summed it up, or so it seems regarding bloggers following, everything you said I agree with. I have however took the time to read a bit if not a lot of the blogs, I clicked follow. That has been the surprise gift from this experience thus far…what others are doing. I have learned so many interesting things. Of love your list of ways to practice awareness. There was this one young man, who fancies himself a spiritual guru, who ask me to read and comment on one of his post. I took a long time and wrote a very thoughtful response, he also says he likes discussion. Not so. He said he didn’t really know what to say to my response and there was no discussion. I found that amusing.

    i am sincere when i say it is a pleasure to meet and follow you. I read this post and enjoyed it. I will be looking at the rest when I get a chance.

    And yes, thank you for visiting my blog.

    • I like thinking of the “surprise gift” of the whole picture too! It is amazing the things we can learn from such a huge variety of folks behind computer screens, and I felt so great at seeing the Ho’oponopono in your post. Always good to remember that :)

  13. I love this post. Bodily awareness is something I am continually striving to develop within myself as it helps me tap into how I am really feeling when I feel muddled or unsure in my head or heart. Thanks for the reminder of how important this is!

    • It is truly amazing what the smallest amount of bodily awareness does. Not the self-conscious stuff that we are taught, but just simple mindful awareness. I’m glad that the reminder serves to help people!

  14. I’ve read two of your posts so far and both have left me more inspired than I’ve felt in the past few weeks. Bodily awareness is something I’ve been exploring on and off again for the past year or so, and your post rung true. While reading it I felt as if I was discovering the concept for the first time and I’ve got to say thank you for that. You’ve added a little color to an otherwise grey day. :)

    -Mr. B

    • I am so happy that it got to you in that way! Such a fabulous compliment; I feel like every time I remember bodily awareness, it feels like the first time. Why do we forget so easily? :) I’m very glad that you enjoyed it!

  15. I like your posts and your post has really made me aware of some things I had not really thought about before. You are right about commenting instead of just clicking like I like to hear comments. I don’t know if it is because of what I write about or what but I don’t seem to get many comments myself. Except spam comments I get alot of those. I tend to check everyone who comments out because I like to know what each person is about so to speak, which is how I came across your blog. So thanks a bunch :)

    • Whenever we write about something honest, I feel like the least we deserve is to know what people think if they want to click the ‘like’ on every one of our posts, or on every post in a category. It makes it easier to realize that people ARE reading your beautiful words and that they ARE having a response, I try to share that response with the people who’s posts I read, so that they know why I’m liking it. It also lets them see who I am, so that if they could benefit from my blog, they are more likely to find it. I hope you get as many comments as you want, thanks for sharing things with the world :)

  16. I really appreciate this post. I am new to blogging as well, and I had a similar reaction to following/commenting/liking – was I just doing it to gain followers, what is the point, really? I think as bloggers we are all seeking out like minded folks, people who we can share our ideas with and in turn learn from and with. I had this thought the other day, I’d rather have 3 sincere “followers” (which by the way I very much dislike that term, it should be “readers” or even “admirers!”) who I share meaningful and thoughtful interactions with than 3,000 followers who don’t give a real hoot about my writing. I dreamt up a scenario in which a small group of us found each other and managed to really do this. You think we can?

    • Yes, I do! I feel the same way about the word “followers”. Ick! :) I think that communities within the blogging community will form, and that they are already kinda there, but I don’t really see them because I am new, but hopefully we’ll find our little circles :)

  17. Haha!! Jennifer!! I love it!! I’m so sorry about your bead experience down by the river…of dog pee… I totally thought you were going to say she opened a bead shop in the next van over!!! Also, I just now imagined Jesus coming up to you… Pretending to be interested….then just telling you how he’s gonna be crucified and you need to accept his agenda… “follow me on twitter” @Jesus …. (I’m kidding) clearly…

    We, many of us, if not most, have a shallow understanding of these beautiful, deeper things of life….if that girl knew more, in herself, she would have genuinely been interested in what you were making and who you were & would’ve understood (in my opinion) that Jesus isn’t served up like a plate-lunch you pay a dollar for in grade-school!! “here, take this, you’ll love it!!”
    Anyways, blogging is really really new to me… Clearly I’m over my allowed comment length!! I’m sorry your heart was broken that day– it did create the fruit of this blog (and more awareness for others!)…so, that’s good!!

    Xoxoxo!!

  18. I take my time to read and usually I don’t know how to respond. But I truely enjoy this genuine write-up as I have just started and not following anyone yet. Will take a step at a time to understand intent :) thanks!

    • :) You are very welcome! It’s a strange world, this blogging place, and maybe we all understand in different ways. I still don’t understand why some blogs I follow end up in my email, and others just in the “reader”. Who knows? I hope your day is amazing, and welcome to the blogging world!

  19. A few days ago I moved my fledgling blog from Blogger to WordPress and immediately had the experience you’re talking about — random people liking and following my blog. Like you, I assume it’s because they want me to take a look at their blogs. I’m not particularly bothered by that. It seems to be another symptom of people not feeling “heard” in their real lives and turning to the internet to have that need met. But I also don’t feel obligated to follow someone back unless they are thinking and writing about things that I find personally compelling.

    Regarding Comments versus Likes — I’m in a few writing circles who try to support each other in social media and there is a constant request for comments. It’s gotten to the point where comments become a task, another opportunity to engage for the sake of engaging. So if in that moment I’m not in a place to engage genuinely, I use the Like button as a simple way of affirming someone’s work.

    Love your blog and will definitely be checking in out again — sometimes with a Comment and sometimes with a Like! ;)

    • Thank you for your words, I am glad you like what you see here! I am definitely losing my jadedness (oddly enough) over the “like” button these days.

      I usually start to use it after I feel that a blogger knows that I am really stopping in and taking time there, even if I can’t genuinely engage with a comment. But yeah, it is only with the blogs that I really do appreciate.

      I think I was just getting a little grouchy at a few key bloggers that seemed to like every post on WordPress, and yet never commented at all. It is continually an interesting topic for me to look at and watch my reaction to; it changes so often!

  20. I’m gonna jump out on an awkward loney kind, and — since I happen to like you a whole lot, and I also respect you immensely — I’m just gonna be balls-to-the-wall transparent with you.

    While commenting on your moat recent post, I discovered you have some ridiculous number of followers, about seven-gazillion more than I could ever dream of having. Your blog is about the same age as mine, and I’ve always felt pretty deeply connected to you in spirit and like-mindedness.

    “How then, is she so much more popular than me?”, my high school persona re-personifying itself in present tense deep down in my loud subconscious.

    OMG. Then it suddenly hits me: I’m not one of the cool kids.

    But I’ve ALWAYS been a cool kid, before it was cool to be cool! I’m the one who made nerdy fashionable! (Okay, maybe I’m stretching things a bit.) I’m the one bragging about all the ‘happenin’ blogs on my blogroll! At what point did I stop mattering? :(

    As I began sinking into a pile of self-loathing mush, the universe — as if kicking me in my pathetic rear-end — pointed me to this older post of yours. And as I read through it, I found myself warmed by that familiarity of spirit that I’ve come to cherish about our friend-blog-ship so much. The green began to fade from my cheeks. Envy gave way to gratitude.

    Because, as you’ve reminded me, I truly DON’T want quantity in my readership; unless, of course, the quantity remains equivalent to the quality. The handful of followers on my blog have become a part of me, so much that I think of you throughout the course of my real-life days. I value your perspective, your words, as well as your own original works. I adore riding your brainwaves, and the spontaneous experience of having you ride mine. And I wouldn’t sacrifice that for empty notoriety ANYDAY.

    Thanks for keeping the ‘meaning’ in my meaningful. Wonderful you.

    • I am so glad that you wrote this. I think that this was my first post that generated any conversation. (if you look at my older ones, they are like old high school photos..awkwardness, poor editing, all kinds of problems).

      Since writing this one, I do feel that I found more of my voice, and continued my tradition of refusing to scroll through my favorite blog tags, just hitting “like” on each post to generate interest in my own, cuz that’s so not cool. But people are still doing it, I think.

      And it’s funny, I don’t remember seeing your number of followers, but whenever I have to take like 5 entire minutes to scroll through the beautiful comments on your posts to leave a comment, I always assume that you have thousands of loyal readers!

      I want to keep adding to this but I might stop now; I truly appreciate you and…as I was thinking of what more to say before posting this, I went to your blog again, and came across the piece where you found Dana’s blog and she thought we were sisters!

      Ah, the coincidence of it all is ridiculous. Maybe the universe is getting better at working its magic through the blogosphere…because wow. Thank you for being you, being clear, being honest, being beautiful in the deepest sense.

      • That’s magic. You and your brain and these kaleidescopic waves they make. They take me on a joyride to deeper self-awareness, and somehow always bring me back to the things that matter most. You have a knack for creating a certain purity and fluidity of spirit. It’s beautiful and I’m a deep shade of thankful to know you.

        • I am also very thankful to know you, too! It definitely opened my eyes more to the connectedness of the blogging community and the bigger world community in general when I saw you and Dana’s connection. So precious and magical! I hope your day is going along in a lovely way!

    • I’m so glad you liked it! This post is probably the one that I will always remember the most. I was so scared to write it, and yet it ended up connecting me to so many people. Thanks for checking it out :)

  21. Thank you for writing this blog post. Being new to the blogging community I was so surprised to see so many people liking my post. But what makes me truly happy is when there is a conversation that happens–like now, or when you stop by my blog. When we invest the time in getting to know one-another via our blogs we can then become truly connected.

    So thank you for your contributions. I read them, discuss them with others in my life and I feel I learn something new every time I stop by.

    • I’m so glad! Yes, the complexity and awesomeness of the blogging community has been blowing my mind lately. It is so great; there are so many fabulous people here and deep conversations, and sometimes I lose track of them, but other times I don’t, and it’s just phenomenal how we can have such bits of profound connection in our day- I love it!

  22. Thank you for this honest, heart-felt, and enlightening post. I agree with you completely. We can also learn forgiveness and equanimity from blogging and those who trespass against our blogs. haha.
    Also, I want to thank you for genuinely commenting on my blog. I really appreciate you practicing what you preach, and it really makes my day having a focused discussion about something I am passionate about.

    • I’m so glad you liked it! This was my first real post, I feel. I used to have more time for commenting more on people’s blogs, now it seems I spend less time doing that, but it is always fun to delve into the blogosphere and really let posts get in my brain when they are good. Thank you for making such a post! :)

      • I feel the same way, Jennifer. The more people we make connections with, the less time we have to “socialize.” I wish I could read a number of blogs from cover to cover, if you know what I mean. Your blog is one of those that I would love to spend the rest of the day reading. Maybe you could point me towards some of your favorite posts.
        Thanks for the compliment, and congratulations on how many comments you got for this post. You really started a party here. Glad I could attend, even if I was late.

        • I’m glad you like it! It is crazy how it works..the more blogs you love, the less time you get to explore more! In terms of my favorite posts, it sorta depends on the day. On the side are the ones that get the most clicks, some of my favorites are “Editing as an Act of Compassion,” “Dear Self: Your Comment is Awaiting Moderation” and “Screen/No Screen: My Commitment to the Uncomfortable” but it really depends on the day. I think the screen one is my all time favorite :)

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