Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My 100th Post

The photos most frequently accompanying my first 100 blog posts
have been views enjoyed or treasures found
while walking along our local shorelines.
This one was taken during a brisk December walk.
 
With this, my 100th post here on Paper And Ponder (woo hoo!), I reflect back on where I’ve been, consider where I am now, contemplate what’s ahead and celebrate this avenue of expression and connection.    

I took "a leap of faith" and began blogging last summer, motivated by my participation in coach and author Gail McMeekin’s “The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women” Facebook journaling group to achieve my dream of launching a blog and fulfilling a longtime desire to write.  I set out with a very specific goal of a minimum three posts per week and maintained that self-imposed goal until the arrival of the busy holiday season when I first felt like I had “dropped the ball,” then realized the difference between my idealistic goal and a more realistic, reasonable one.  As I much as I enjoy dwelling here in the blogging world, I must remember that dwelling in my immediate world is most important – being the best mommy I can be, connecting with family and friends, creating, walking on the beach or hiking through the forest, focusing on personal healing, self-care and growth, volunteering and contributing to our local community, slowly, but surely building my small business, upholding day to day responsibilities.  Sometimes there are moments available to write and blog, while other times there are not, and rather than pressure or criticize myself when encountering a week in which my blogging voice becomes quiet, I’m learning to recognize what’s been accomplished elsewhere in my life.  The past week was a whirlwind of celebrating our daughter’s birthday, working on taxes, hosting some of our daughter’s friends (to help other moms with less flexible schedules during a string of minimum school days), volunteering in our daughter’s classroom, attending a “Live Longer, Live Stronger” cancer survivorship class (so very grateful for this informative, helpful resource of a free 7-week course offered by our local hospital), completing a custom order…and yes, I managed to squeeze in a precious beach walk!  I am reminding myself that being unable to fit this 100th post into last week wasn’t failing; it was merely postponing until an opportune time.  As you may recall from past posts, I'm a "recovering perfectionist and overachiever" learning how to allow myself a little more slack.

After nearly nine months of blogging, it recently dawned on me that Paper And Ponder has become my online journal of sorts, and in the process of writing about my healing art exploration, this blog/journal itself has become another personal (albeit public!) tool for healing.  I am often sorting through a jumble of thoughts, ideas, experiences, observations and insights as I'm writing and in doing so, I sometimes uncover a new layer of personal perspective.  My hope is that just as this uncovered perspective is helpful to me, perhaps it will be helpful to some of you, too.  I doubt I'm unearthing anything that hasn't already been discovered and contemplated by many others, but as I share my stories in my own voice, may these stories speak to you.  

Someone recently commented to me that my style of writing, focusing more on positive and less on negative outcomes and choosing not to weight my posts down with too much daily minutiae, might paint a less than accurate portrait of myself and might convey that I'm more "on top of it" than I truly am in my life.  I was very concerned about this comment as my intention is to always write honestly and with authenticity.  I am just as (if not more!) flawed and imperfect as anyone else.  I have many shortcomings.  I have good days, not so good days and bad days.  Although I'm intently focused on self-growth and striving to become a better person, I'm still quite capable of becoming moody, feeling stress and experiencing my fair share of challenges and disappointments.  I have blogged about many of those challenges and disappointments, but have done so from the approach of how I am attempting to rise above them, believing this approach is in keeping with my wish to provide support and encouragement to others.  This mindset parallels how I approach my "inner little girl" art which I've referred to as angst art balanced with hope and whimsy.  Regardless of which topics and perspectives I share, I hope you can sense that these words always come from my heart.       
 
Revisiting my original mission for Paper And Ponder...      

“To inspire and uplift. To motivate others to live mindfully and enjoy life’s simple blessings. To spread creative energy and widen the circle of heartfelt connections.”
 
...100 posts into this journey, I hope you've felt inspired, uplifted and motivated somewhere along the way.  I thank you wholeheartedly for taking time out from your own busy lives to read, to comment, to connect, to accompany me on this journey, and I'm looking forward to continuing to travel together!      
 
Has there been a particular post or topic here on Paper And Ponder that has resonated strongly with you?  If so, I would be curious as to which ones, so I can steer some of my future pondering and posts (whether it's three times a week or only once!) in directions that interest you.