Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why Blog? - - - And 3 More Short Subjects!

bead journal project, bead embroidery by robin atkins, detail
Why Blog?

While reading Willow Manor last night, I stumbled on her post (here) about comments and whether they are an obstacle or catalyst to readers. Willow has over 1,000 followers and it's not uncommon for her to have 50-100 comments per post. It boggles my mind, yet I can see why people like her blog. I do too.

Anyway, some of the 125 comments on the post about commenting (LOL) and her more recent post (here) about blogging being a transformative moment for her, got me to thinking (again) about why I blog.

For me, blogging started (3 years ago) as a diary or journal... just a place to keep a written and visual record of my life. My husband partakes and is interested in only part of my life... I needed to honor the other parts in some way (I guess)... and blogging became the way. Besides it was technically challenging and fun.

Somewhere along the way, in a barely noticeable progression, my motivation began to change. Rather than doing it for myself, I began to respond to the blogging community by trying to tailor my posts to my readers, finding subjects and adding images that I hoped would appeal and draw comments. Ah, comments! Yes, I craved them and thrived on them, the more the better.

Now, in the past few months, I'm noticing another shift in motivation. Do you recall my recent post about witnessing (here)? One of the email responses to this post called it deep listening. Isn't that a great term? My recent shift is toward trying to develop a community of deep listeners.

OK, I don't mean that every post and every comment needs to be deep. (Wouldn't that be a headache!) But that the general focus of the community (both me posting and you commenting, or just reading) tends toward witnessing, deep hearing and inner truth. Yikes! That sounds a bit daunting. Yet, I think it's my motivation at this time.

A Few Reader Thoughts about Witnessing

Susan said: Interestingly enough, my online blogging has helped me connect better with my family and friends who choose to read. Those non-stitching friends have begun to understand what I stitch, why I stitch and how important it is in my life. ~Me too, including my husband!~ ...my public witnessing of myself and my own feelings leads to others witnessing not only my feelings but their own as well. Some of my favorite online exchanges have occurred because of my most private, public posts. ~Again, me too... This is what I mean about building a community of deep hearing people!~ If someone is interested in witnessing my life, they comment. If they aren't, they move on. We tend to attract those who have the same values and are struggling with the same issues. We ... tend to group ourselves and that is a beautiful phenomenon. So, rather than us choosing our witnesses, our witnesses choose us. They choose to spend the time getting to know us and writing a meaningful comment -- because they care and they want to -- and those feelings are real and very, very healing, supportive and loving. ~How true, Susan, and well said!

Jacquie pointed out that witnessing for her is a validation of time spent pouring out my heart of hearts. ~I agree and also think blogging can be self-validating.

Penny says: witnessing, when it comes from the viewers heart and spirit, when they are really and truly engaged with what they are looking at - can be a motivating process. It opens not only me up to them, but them up to me and that is a gift that they give to me also. ~That's how I look at it too... as an exchange and as a gift.

Pegnard wrote: Am I willing to share my spirit, in a spirit of aloha, on a blog? I started one, but don't write there too often yet. I hope people will be kind. I've experienced so much joy from reading other blogs, felt such a kinship. I'd like to share back. ~Again, it's the exchange thing... the sharing back... the give and take of blogging that appeals to me now.

Carolyn emailed: ...we only expose ourselves to those we completely trust to like us even after they see/witness "who we really are." And that usually only means one or two special friends and no one else, especially family members. Blogs allow us to safely allow others to know who we really are and safely identify with like emotions and feelings. ~Yes, I think there is an element of anonymity or distance that makes blogging feel safe. The level of safety, developing slowly for me as I wrote and read, is quite high now.

Sabine wrote: Blogs, and especially the BJP have a lot to do with letting people witness through art and thoughts presented, and they have a whole lot to do with trusting people. ~I agree, trust is so much a part of this.

Post, comment, witness, exchange, trust, validate and transform... that's what blogging is all about for me at this point.

Teaching in Phoenix - Bead Museum is there!

Right around the corner... October 1-5, I will be in Phoenix, Arizona teaching bead embroidery and giving two presentations!

Oct. 2nd will be a whole day at the Bead Museum! I've never been there previously, but have heard lots of praise for their huge collection of beads and beadwork and the way it's displayed. This museum is currently the only bead museum in the country (in the world???), since the one in Washington DC closed. A few months ago the economy almost forced our only remaining bead museum to close its doors. Fortunately, various Bead Societies and private concerns around the country donated sufficient funds to keep them going for a little while longer.

I'm telling you this, because IF you have the time and can get there, this may be a good opportunity to see the museum! I'll be teaching a 1/2-day Beaded Button class (great introduction to bead embroidery), giving a slide show about how glass beads and buttons are made and signing books... That's Oct. 2nd at the Museum. The contact information is here, on my website.

If you'd really like to go deeply into bead embroidery, consider taking my 2-day Improvisational Bead Embroidery class on Oct. 3 & 4, also in Phoenix but held at the Farm at South Mountain. More than a techniques class, this one is all about tapping into your original, creative self through beading. A side-benefit of taking the class is that you get to attend my presentation about Visual Journaling with Beads, Fibers, Threads and Fabrics for free! Contact information is here.

Introducing A Friend's Website & Blog

bountiful herbs farm, gayle and dennis hazelton
This is my neighbor, walking-buddy and friend, Gayle with her husband and pupdog. Gayle asked me to build/design a website and blog for her herbal farm business. I'm no website designer, but together we developed a simple site, which is now live!!! At Bountiful Herbs Farm, you will find natural, hand-made soaps and many other wonderful things your body and home will love. Enjoy cooking and gardening??? Gayle likes to share favorite recipes on her blog, Herb Crazed... plus useful gardening tips. Thanks for giving her a visit and a taste of what it's like to receive comments!!!

18 comments:

  1. Ahhh, my dear Robin, BLESS you to your very core for questing (and questioning!) in your unceasing manner and then presenting in such succinct detail for all of us to ponder over - and even make decisions about - "why blog?" This has turned out to be such a timely subject for me and I was in much need of reading and digesting all the thoughts contributed here. I for one, am so very much appreciative of these posts on the subject including the many views of the other bloggers who shared their truths as well.

    Thank you so so much.

    Christi
    p.s. now, must pop over to Bountiful Herbs' new website...how wonderful!

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  2. Thank you for posting your comments and those of others on 'why blog.' I do like to hear other opinions - it is very uplifting, informative and educational as well as community-building.
    Thanks too for the link to your friend's blog.

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  3. Interesting topics and a beautiful header with yet another bird and bunny.

    You did a good job there for Gayle. The result certainly is a website and blog worth following!

    Sabine

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  4. oooo Robin. you know how to poke the thoughts to the fore, don't you? my blogging certainly brought me a lot of insight, validation, and a way to let out my frustration. and when I see others' blogs with dozens and dozens of followers, I think, why? But then I realize that all people who follow me care about me and what I have to say and sometimes I have issues that are way too confusing for most to get what is going on in my head. and it's funny too, because I've not linked my blog to my facebook, because of it being too private for most of those "friends".... talk about blogging our innermost thoughts!

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  5. Why blog? I started blogging for "show & tell" of my needlework. My efforts are infrequent, short and matter-of-fact. I find I enjoy blogs such as yours and Susan's which are introspective and philosophical and personal. To me, it's challenging to express myself clearly and fully in that way. I can see it would be worth the effort for the the very friendship that is generated by opening your heart in this way. You are inspiring me to try.

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  6. Why to blog, that is the question! For me, the reasons don't go as deep as they may for others.

    I enjoy sharing my work with those who may be involved in similar projects, and I appreciate comments that almost always help me learn something; but I don't reveal a great deal of my personal self by blogging. That may have it's place for others, but I'm more private in this kind of forum.

    However, as an artist, this presents a dilemma -- how can I fully share my work without revealing the personal thoughts and feelings that went into it?

    For me, the resolution is simply to accept what has been true of art down through the ages -- it invariably means something different to everyone who views it. As an artist, I feel an obligation to leave the viewer with the freedom to appreciate and interpret my work in whatever way works for them. That is the gift of art.

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  7. Robin, after browsing the new "Bountiful Herbs Farm" web site, I have to say your claim to be "no web site designer" is in question. ;) It's a lovely and informative site -- wishing much luck to your friends!

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  8. I blog because I feel I have something to share and of interest to uncertain needle artists and they respond...I like to share not just an end result but how I get from here to there.. It's makes my day when someone says I helped them "see" something differently... I guess once a teacher always a teacher...

    Gerry Krueger
    http://olderrose.blogspot.com

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  9. ARIZONA!!! You live within hours from me and I would love to take a class from you... Do you ever do anything in the Portland-Seattle area???

    Gerry Kruege
    Spokane, WA

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  10. To All ~ Thanks so much for taking the time to read this long post and to comment! I love hearing from you and understanding your "take" on why blog. As you read in my case, I think the reasons can shift as you get into it or as particular needs come to the fore.

    To Gerry ~ When I visit your blog, I can see the teacher in your posts... and I love blogs that have this emphasis! Thanks for mentioning it. About my beading workshops? You can check my teaching schedule on my website, here. I will be in Portland next month, but to speak, not teach...

    To Barbara ~ Your blog is wonderful, just the way it is... I love how you share your art. To go deeper and share personal thoughts is something that takes time because it thrives on mutual trust. But it's not required in anyway, and it's not black and white... Some days you may feel the need to share a little of your personal feelings about your are... others not. It's all good. Thanks for compliment about Gayles site!

    To Bobbi ~ What a lovely and genuine person you are! Your blog already shows that as do your comments.

    To Pam ~ Your followers are so loyal, supportive, loving and understanding of you... It's the quality not the quantity that is beginning to count for me... You've got quality to the max in your followers!

    To SAbine ~ Thanks so much! The bird/bunny is a detail from my May BJP piece from last year... I just needed something visual here. Thanks for leaving a comment on Gayle's blog.. that will be so much fun for her to see!

    To Delores ~ Community building... I love that phrase! I'm glad you're part of it!

    To SweetPea ~ The perfect name for you, Christi! Thank you dear friend.

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  11. I think you are the only reason I started blogging. You said to try it and I've had fun with it. Why do I blog? Cause it is fun to have contact with other people, without being too personal. But, I can get to know them better if I want.

    My blogging started out as one thing and is changing, because I'm changing. I'm not sure I'm going to try to label the changes as I think there are several ways to do that. I can think of many different categories I could go into.

    I don't see that I blog for any big deep reason, other than I can touch others in a way I like and vice versa. There may be some deep reason, but I'm sure not seeing it. I think it is fun and a way to reach out and touch someone and let them touch me.

    You can tell me if I'm wrong. I so could be wrong! I often am!

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  12. Robin, thank YOU for replying to our comments so personally and with so much insight. That's the kind of interaction that tends to build mutual trust. Perhaps there's a beaded piece in that thought? :)

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  13. Ann S.8:40 PM

    I have followed your blog since the end of April. Before then I had no idea of what it was all about. Now I see how wonderful friendships can be formed at a distance. Reading your thoughts on witnessing, I realized that blogging can be very personal and powerful.

    Your creativity, insight, and openness have been a wonderful inspiraqtion for me.

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  14. Hi Robin, thanks for the mention! It is amazing how we blog as part of a wonderful, creative community.

    Pre-internet, I would never have dreamed to have so many lovely, inspirational friends.

    Great thought provoking post.

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  15. Great post, Robin! But... the most exciting part is that YOU ARE COMING TO PHOENIX! WOOOOHOOOO! I definitely have to try and get in on the weekend class... sweet!

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  16. You always make me THINK! Okay, I started blogging because I'm A GREAT BIG SHOW OFF! I was that little girl who always had something every Monday for Show and Tell even if it was just a strange shape bean I'd found that weekend. I enjoy posting pictures of my great adventure in this life. Twenty years ago when I first started on the then new World Wide Web, it was all about Scotties, then I switched over to beading, and now it is beaded dolls and other art forms. Just like I've changed and evolved my interest, so has this world right here at our fingertips. I've met WONDERFUL people in the 20 years I've been communicating, but blogging just makes it easier for me to...well...just be ME! AND I get to "visit" others and check out what has made an impact on their lives on that very particular day. I'm addicted to reading blogs. I just wish I had more time to become followers to many more, but reading your blog, Susan's, Marcia's and others I sometimes take little "trips" on the links you all provide. Thanks mucho...the showoff...dot

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  17. Thanks for the post! It is very nice how we blog as part of a wonderful, creative community.Before the using of internet I would never thought so many lovely, inspirational friends.

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  18. I'm having to skip reading everyone else's comments in order to keep my own thoughts in my head ;- )

    I feel compelled to share that my motivation for blogging is evolving the longer I do it too. I'm thinking I may have to do a post about this topic on my own blog but in the meantime may I just say that blogging has brought me personal growth I would not have experienced otherwise (I don't think anyway). The your post and the comments about witnessing are so true and relevant. Birds of a feather do flock together, and the flock you're creating with your teaching and blogging is a very special and tender group. How wonderful to be made to feel so safe in such a public arena. That's the gift you've given us Robin. Again I thank you.

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Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!