Friday, February 24, 2006

A Kinder, Gentler Blog

I am feeling a little anxiety today. Actually, it has been building for the last week or so. I have not been my usual happy, go-lucky self and I think it’s high time I realigned with the powers that be and get re-centered. My last two essays (Nothing Personal & Sentenced to Die) have been somewhat critical if not downright negative and that’s not really what I’m all about nor is it what I prefer to write about. I am therefore recommitting myself to using this space for radiating positive energy into the world.

It has taken a few days to realize what has been happening. Like so many epiphanies, it came to me all at once, but while doing things my way for several days, the evidence has been building. All of a sudden – BAMM – there it is. I am not so “enlightened” that these brilliant flashes of the obvious happen instantaneously. I still have to bump my head, stub my toe and spill my coffee before I realize that things are not quite right. Eventually the unnoticed uneasiness becomes apparent thus enabling the introspection necessary to redirect. It was on my way to school this morning that this lightning bolt hit. I knew what was wrong and what to do about it.

I write for several reasons. Probably the most important is self-awareness. It is how I think best – slowly. When I’m in my head, my thoughts flow so fast that any analysis and refinement is near impossible. Clarity comes when I write. The next two most important reasons are of equal importance and in a way interdependent upon each other. I have a desire – a need to make a difference. To do this, I must write to be read. If no one reads what I write, then I am only writing for myself. There may be a wee bit of ego involved, but at the end of the day if I haven’t touched anyone, I’m just taking up space.

Although there is a place in my repertoire for political opinion – indeed, opinion in general, it is difficult to express my opinion without rejecting an opposing one. Opinion is confrontational by nature. Introspection, inspiration, life in general is universal. It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with an opinion; it is a matter of identification. One may not understand or relate with my experiences or outlooks, but it is not in dispute as to whether or not I do.

It has been my experience that many life experiences are related, even those that initially appear to be completely different. The underlying emotions, the feelings… the lessons or wisdom that result, though unique in one sense, are universal in another. Many of my past posts are quotes from both ancient and living visionaries that speak of wisdom to which I can relate. Based on the comments I receive on these posts and comments on my own introspective writing, I get the vibe that there is something there. That somehow, maybe – just maybe, what I say and relay may be making a difference in someone’s life.

Although my hit counter has been averaging the same number of visits to my blog, the comments left behind have dropped off considerably. I am being read, but I am not really stirring any thought. My opinion pieces, though I believe them to be well thought out and eloquently delivered, will have to find a new home. They will no longer reside here. This is not a place for negativity, no matter how well written. This is not to say that certain problems will not be presented - they will. They may be personal as well as political, but they will not be just dropped here and left. They will only be presented as an example of how life can be trying, but with a positive outlook we can and do persevere. And it’ll be ok. Nothing is the end of the world, not on this blog anyway.


Bar L. said...

Have you been reading my email? Because I just went back and forth with a friend on this topic today (as it relates to me, not you). It seems to be a hot topic lately, questions like "Why do I blog" and "is this balanced and healthy?"

Mike - your blog is one of my very favorites. I think you are fulfilling your purpose at to make a difference. I have never walked away from one of your posts un-affected in some way.

Sure there's a bit of ego involved but it's only natural for each of us to want affirmation. If we didn't care about others reading we could write in a Word Doc!

You have a gift for writing and if you were NOT sharing it with others that would be wrong.

There ya go, my 2 cents.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I agree with bar bar a...JUST KEEP WRITNG, my dear...not to worry about the "comments"..Easy for me to say...huh? But, it really does make one think about why one blogs...I'm not sure why I blog? But, I enjoy the process...jumping all around in whatever I want to say...or not...YES, I love Polonius said to his son Laertes.."This above all to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man"....(I seem to be quoting that a lot lately...!)

But it is true...and, let the chips fall where they may...just do keep expressing Mike...whatever that means...You are a very interesting and special man with a gift for writing..."If you write it, we will come!" (LOL). But...we will.

Michael K. Althouse said...

bar bar a
& ooloth ~ It is not so much the desire for feedback (although, as I stated in my post, ego does play a part), but rather that I am saying something that causes my readers to reflect.

I am afraid that with my political and societal commentary, i am largely preaching to the choir. It's not so much thought provoking as it thought re-affirming. Besides, this is the stuff that I am most passionate about.

Ellen said...

Shoot.... I don't care what you write, just as long as you do write. To me, your content is always an eye-opener as you have an eloquence in your essays that drips with care and concern... and it is so well put together.

As I've said before, I will always come by, as it helps me to regain the brain cells I lose with the daily drudge of life.

Keep up the great work!

neal said...

I agree, speak your mind. I will always drop by to read what you have to say. I may not always reply because you always seem to say things better than I. It would be like parking a 75 Ford Pinto next to a 1967 Vette.

As to the negativity, I think there is a fine line between voicing an honest opinion about something and being overly critical. If someone feels strongly about an issue they should feel free to voice their opinions on it, no matter how controversial, as long as they aren't insulting to other peoples opinions.

X said...

I know what you mean about certain posts and less comments. Whenever I post political stuff (ie: during the election campaign up here) I saw comments drop significantly. Also, when I post longer posts they are ignored, no matter how well-written. Well, maybe not ignored, but not commented on.

Babble aside, despite not getting comments, your posts may touch people. Time is always a factor, etc, etc. Just know that your writing means something, no matter way people say or how many people choose to comment!

Keep smiling :)

WooleyBugger said...

Well Mike- I think you should do it the way you want as that is what matters.
When I was doing articles for a chopper site ( I had a great editor)I often worried about feedback. But it was put to me that print magazine writers very rarely have feedback from articles. If it's never know. If it is read... you still may never know. I think you should write about what it is you wish to put down in words. Don't worry about what others think. I like what your doing and hope you do not change it to much.

neal said...

I thought I would share this. You mentioned in your post that, "Many of my past posts are quotes from both ancient and living visionaries that speak of wisdom to which I can relate.

I thought I would share something from the Tao Te Ching with you. It is verse 16, if you could call them verses.

Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don't realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from, you naturally become tolerant, disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you, and when death comes, you are ready.

It kinda seems like this is what you are talking about. Maybe I'm wrong though.

Michael K. Althouse said...

neal ~ exactly

Sadie Lou said...

I find that my blog experiences highs and lows. Sometimes readership is up and each post is getting lots of comments and sometimes the post gets nothing but a few nods.
You also have to take into consideration that there are many people that simply read the post and have nothing to add.
I have read several of your posts and then didn't feel I needed to interject.
That being said, I admire your choice to anaylize your motives and adjust some things. I enjoy your perspective.

Unknown said...

Mike--I used to look at my hit counter all of the time. I thought it was a fun game to see just how many people I could get to visit the blog and leave comments. That's when I lost site of the purpose of my blog.

Now, I just blog when I feel the inspiration...and, thank God for my digital camera, I do take photos around where I'm living to keep in touch with my readers/bloggin' buddies when I don't feel like I can type. My point is, I'm SO happy with my blog now, because I might not be getting 48 comments like I used to, but I like the content of my posts again, and I feel like every single comment is from the heart. I feel like I am surrounded by people who are looking for goodness in the world. It's like we attract each other. It's beautiful.

Keep on writing...people are being touched by your great heart, believe me. :)

Helene said...

Well I am commenting here but feel like I should in Nothing Personal or StoD, just so you count that in your numbers.

I like your writing style. I like your honesty and I think that your opinion pieces give the readers a view into you that lets them comment with more thought on the other blogs.

I totally understand your thought process though. I have a private blog as well where I whine, rant and rave. I have posted my deepest darkest secrets and desires. There is only one person who reads it. I realized in the last few weeks that that is counter productive. I am not getting feedback, It is not making a difference to anyone and it puts a burden on the person who is actually reading it. I decided to open it up publicly (deleting some of the blogs where I may get arrested or well in some hot water at The thing is that no one comes back. I am new to this blogging stuff (just started in Jan) so I dont have tons of people reading yet, but on the whinny blog NO ONE reads! I am not THAT different of a writer there... I do market the blog differently, but...

Idk my purpose in blabbing about all of that... sorry...

Keep writing! It is clear that people are reading and valuing your opinions enough to come back routinely!

cheers! K