Sunday, November 13, 2011

The 11th Step

I began this blog in February 2010. Through that first year, I posted randomly on the 10 Steps (and on anything else that caught my fancy). Towards the end of the year, I realized that if we really want to change our habitual patterns, it would be better to focus on one Step at a time. So this year I highlighted one Step a month, beginning with Step 1 in January and ending with Step 10 in October.

So now what? After reflecting in the last post on my journey through the 10 Steps this year, I have been contemplating this question, waiting for clarity. Clarity does not seem to be a happening thing right now, which has resulted in a few anxious moments. But mostly, I’ve decided to see this as an opportunity to practice being, in the words of Pema Chodron, comfortable with uncertainty.

This pause has given me a chance to reflect not only on my journey through the 10 Steps, but also on my journey through blogging. Two years ago I didn’t even know what a blog was. I had a concept, which was captured in a title about 10 Steps, but no plan about what to do with it. Write a book? Teach it?

Someone suggested I start a blog. A what? A friend showed me how to get started. And soon I was hooked. I remember the first follower I got who was not a friend or family member. I was fascinated – how did she know about my blog and why did she want to follow it? It was all so mysterious. Like magic. And I remember the first time I realized that someone from another country was reading my blog. I reveled in being part on an international community once again, albeit a virtual one, something I’ve missed since my years as an expatriate.

Meanwhile, I was of course meeting other bloggers on their blogs, finding a cornucopia of information, wisdom, inspiration, and humor.

There inevitably came a time, which I think happens to many of us, when I had to make some choices. To advertise or use other marketing methods? To add Facebook, Twitter, and other connections I still don’t even know about? I had to look deeply at my motivations – what was driven by true passion and what was driven by ego? And more importantly, was I living my life, or living to blog? I found a balance that was right for me and kept it fun.

That seems like a good guiding principle as I move forward in directions yet to be determined. Fun. Because, as we all know, fun is good.

PS – Thanks to Irving at Han of Harmony for inspiring the post title!


  1. Balance is what we want to achieve. You found it, Galen. What sweet happiness that brings. And now you're on the path with humor. I applaud you. :)

  2. Congrats Galen on what you have created here. The discipline required to continually blog is something I appreciate of all bloggers. I loved what you said about having fun. That really is what it is all about. Thanks for being such a great voice in the blogosphere;)

  3. Yes fun is good. Thanks for your honesty and stories. You inspire me.

  4. Manzanita--Thanks! I can certainly look to you for some inspiration in the fun department!

    Sibyl--Sometimes I forget that I'm doing this because I want to, not because I have to. That's when I remember to focus on fun. Thanks for commenting.

    Tess--Thank you. Your boldness has inspired me many times.!

  5. I agree with Sibyl about the discipline of blogging. I feel responsible for participating in the life of this community. I only found your blog recently - I really enjoy it.

  6. I'm glad you started the blog on the subject that you chose. There's much positive energy and encouragement that I feel when I am reading your posts, each shed different degrees of light on my varying moods whenever I come here.

    I believe we are led to different places and different people at times of our life when a special message is needed, and yours is one of those signposts....

    Thank you

  7. Very nice post Galen. It was great to read about your first blog follower, I remember that joy too. I like the ease of your blog and most of all...the inspiration. Keep it fun!

  8. I have just recently found your blog and just wanted to say how much I appreciate your positiveness, your insightfulness and the words you speak which seem to be directed right to me! Thank you! I wish I had found you two years ago but better late than never!
    Denise from Canada

  9. Happy to read you again. I think finding the balance is not always easy but definitely blogging and keeping it fun is a great approach.
    We all share and exchange on different subjects and learn so much from one another, in a virtual words that does not seem so virtual after a while. I too try to find my balance and it's what I am working on now, but if I try to keep it fun I might find it quickly.
    Take care and have a lovely day!

  10. Linda--That's an interesting thought about our responsibility to the community. We do form relationships of a sort, don't we? What responsibilities do we have? You have got me thinking about this now! I hope you and others will comment further on this questions. Thanks for your comment.

    BM--There are no accidents, as the saying goes. I sometimes click on a blog and read exactly what I needed to read at that moment. I'm so pleased if my blog is occasionally that right message for you. Thanks for commenting.

    Cynthia--Isn't that funny that we remember the joy of that first "stranger" follower?! I'm still curious about how new followers find my blog and what attracts their attention. Thanks for commenting.

    Denise--That's the nature of blogs, isn't it? In the words of Pema Chodron, we start where we are. I'm so glad you are here now! Thanks for your comment.

    Marie--So true that this virtual world takes on a reality of its own. Sometimes when I'm bogged ("blogged"?) down, reminding myself of fun gets me back on track. Thanks for your comment, and I hope you have a lovely day, too.

  11. Hello Galen,
    I'm with you on the fun thing. And having a sense of humor certainly makes the journey a little easier and a lot more fun. How are the grandkids doing?

  12. Life. Blogging. Whatever... you just have to run with it. The past few years have been a pretty big challenge for me but still always "there was the blog" It started out without a clear plan and it still doesn't have one really... but I like it like that. It's fun. It sets me free... because this is life.. and none of us knows what's coming next. Not really. And that's what these past few years on the blog have taught me. You don't have to know. Life's simply not like that. We can plan. But things don't always turn out the way we planned. So we might as well have some fun with it.

    Galen your ten steps have been inspired fun. There's more [way more] where that came from. I look forward to whatever you come up with next. I'm sure it'll be something great :-)

  13. Galen, your very personal post rings very true to me, for I have contemplated the same issues as I begin my second year of blogging.
    Examining my true motives as honestly as I could, I, too, concluded that life balance is very important to me, as is being able to honor my many blessings. I also realized how much I enjoyed the writing process and have been heartened by how much my posts, articles, and new book, Losing Control, Finding Serenity, have resonated with people. That encourages me to continue the journey as gracefully as I can.

  14. I will enjoy reading your posts no matter what you decide to focus on. I have learned a lot from your thoughts. Keep up the good work and I think maybe you should write a book.
    Blessings to you and I love reading this post; because I feel I have evolved in the blogging world kind of like you.

  15. Hi Galen!

    You have been such an inspiration to me on my own blogging journey. I look forward to seeing where you take your wonderful site. As you know I was recently feeling some growing pains myself. But I trust inspiration will come, and with it the clarity you're looking for.

  16. Like LeAnn, I also feel that I will enjoy reading your posts no matter what topic you choose to write on. You've heard me saying this over and over again - I found your posts inspiring and helpful.

    I'm glad to know that you've gotten hooked to blogging. It's wonderful that you've build up an engaging community here!

    Lots of love to you from Singapore!

  17. I look forward to whatever direction you decide to take this tremendous vehicle for your thinking and writing skills. 2012 will be a great year.

  18. Fun is the sun for our spirit Galen and is an antidote to more challenging stuff. I love the way you are giving yourself time to decide on the next steps - reflection and reconnecting to your motivations and meanings needs space and patience. That alone is great teaching. Enjoy the ride and keep your face to the sun my friend. Laugh it up!

  19. Riley--They are doing great, thanks. 3 weeks and 8 weeks old. I get to see both of them today. Thanks for commenting.

    Jean--Your blog is full of fun! And talent -- writing, painting, and now videos. You are awesome. Thanks for your comment.

    Danny--Being honest about our motivation keeps us on track, I think. The positive response to your blog and to your book (I read it--great book) shows that you are in tune with what is true for you. Thanks for your comment.

    LeAnn--I have been toying around with the book idea. We'll see. Thanks for your kind words.

    Ken--Sometimes it's hard to wait for that inspiration. I want clarity and I want it now! Ha! But mostly I'm okay with knowing that it will become clear, as one of my professors used to say, in the fullness of time. Thanks for commenting.

    Evelyn--It is a nice community, isn't it? I'm pleased that my readers are so interesting and friendly. And so diverse! Thanks for your comment.

    Bob--Yes it will. I can't wait to see what it brings. Thanks for your vote of confidence.

    John--"Fun is the sun for our spirit." I love that! Thanks for the fun comment!

  20. It's said that 'By the yard its hard,but inch by inch everything's a cinch'. You get better with every step; I really admire your writing skill.;) Hugs and kisses. You can get Freebies on my blog!

  21. Truly I think the secret of blogging is FUN and maybe that is what life is all about too?

    I loved the title and made myself get my work done before I came to read what it was all about

    Yes contemplation is good - the answer will come

  22. Galen, As I've been on this journey of blogging over the last three years or so - I can relate to that - and how important that is in choosing what it is we do. I also know that as life ebbs and flows, I also have had peaks and valleys over that time. And so that's what makes reading what you've written here today so meaningful - because, in the end, is this fun and joy-filled and meaningful? It's a question we should ask about blogging, and about all journeys in our life path...

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful voice in this space.

  23. Sharda--Great quote! Thanks for your comment.

    Patricia--Maybe that is indeed what life is about. Overflowing joy of living. Thanks for commenting.

    Lance--Good point about asking this question about all our life choices. We often forget joy in all the "shoulds." Thanks for your comment.

  24. Blogging is quite the journey. It's an interesting mix of writing for ourselves and writing for others. It's also a mix of clarity and uncertainty. Sounds like you are enjoying the journey and are finding the right balance.

  25. Eric--It is quite a journey, isn't it? I had no idea! And yes, I am enjoying it. Thanks for commenting.


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