It’s crazy to think that this blog has been running on and off for 7 years.
As I’ve grown and evolved, I’ve sometimes struggled to identify What is this blog about? and For whom do I write? At times this confusion has kept me from writing and sharing my work.
So last week, I wrote down a list of 12 people I write for. Not avatars, but real flesh-and-blood people. I also wrote down their station in life and why I write for them. I won’t state them by name (you might be one of them), but in James Bond fashion, here they are using single letter agent names:
A: Friend with whom I want to share exciting ideas, insights and books.
B: Creator/artist/entrepreneur who could use reminders to stay on the path and keep creating.
C: Hungry for inspiration and motivation to live mindfully, consciously, deliberately.
D: Fellow explorer, traveler & insatiably curious human.
E: Younger version of me, searching for his place in the world.
F: Older, professionally successful, but feeling the pull to answer a later-in-life call to adventure. Seeking meaning, fulfillment, impact, perhaps modern elderhood.
G: Searching for the voice of vocation and hungering for more fulfilling work.
H: Feeling stuck at work, needs to make a change, and wants guidance for their next step.
I: Building a freelance/portfolio career and hungry for ideas and tips.
J: Lifelong friend that I don’t stay in touch with nearly enough, but whom I love and want to know what I’m up to.
K: Blazing her own trail and on her dharma path.
L: Fellow writer needing the occasional kick in the ass to keep going.
When I write these names down, like clockwork, clarity and guidance comes.
And yet if you poke around the internet long enough, it convinces you that you need to “create content” and “monetize” your audience. Whenever I think about my blog and this newsletter as content, it totally stifles me.
But when I think about this blog as an opportunity to share my thoughts, ideas, tips, and musings with the individuals, friends, and fans above – my writing relaxes. My body softens. The drunk heckler living inside my head loses interest and passes out. I’m simply writing letters to people I care about.
I always wanted this to be a sacred place where I can honestly share my thoughts, and become, like BrainPickings writer Maria Popova states of her blog: “a documentation of my own becoming.”
I guess I’m remembering what blog and newsletter is about: my journey. Tales from a Deliberate Journeyer.
I don’t want to create content. I want to give gifts.
This idea of work as gift-giving came up in two books I read recently.
In The Great Work of Your Life, Stephen Cope talks about a shift Gandhi had in his life from self-betterment to world-betterment. He began to see himself as a trustee of his own gifts, to be used not merely to improve his career or increase his earnings, but to benefit the wider world. He began to direct his strengths and skills outward and ask – How can I use my unique gifts to relieve suffering in the world?
In Austin Kleon’s new book Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad, he has a whole chapter entitled “Make Gifts.”
Reframing work as an act of gift-giving is a powerful mindset shift. Whether you’re a self-doubting writer, an entrepreneur serving customers, or just a person thinking about your impact in the world – the focus shifts from self to service. It’s not about you any longer.
I’ve evolved and grown over these 7 years in ways I never could have predicted. I mostly earn a living facilitating workshops, helping people navigate career changes, running a writers’ community, and occasionally acting and modeling. I travel some. Write occasionally.
I’ve lost and found myself a thousand times. I write to remind myself I’m alive. I share with you to remind you that you’re not alone. I keep at it to remind myself I’m breathing, to honor the brevity of it all, to capture the joys and even the struggles.
Through it all one constant has remained: my aim to live a deliberate life.
I’ll add to it: to give gifts. To make a living that’s in integrity with who I am and the change I seek to make. To remember “work is love made visible.”
Maybe that was my intention behind the Give in GiveLiveExplore all along.
To A through L, and potentially M through Z whom I’ll meet later – thanks for being here.