Can we please pause to consider…

The Bikram yoga blogging community these days.

Actually, let’s consider the blogging community in general.

Well, okay, let’s consider my blogging community in general.  Because I have something to say.

I first started reading blogs back in 2005 when I still lived down in Washington, D.C.  It all began with the bloggers DC Cookie, KathrynOn, and DC Bachelor.  They were wild!  Crazy!  Hilarious!  They (along with a handful of others) initiated the original blogger happy hours that I was too scared to attend, and then started posting pictures of themselves out and about, and then started being quoted in the Express and online.  I was absolutely fascinated with these people who splashed their lives all across the screen for me to read each morning.  Boyfriends, bad dates, heartbreak, fights, sweetness, sadness, singlehood in D.C., debauchery and drunken dancing and drugs—it was all there, all for the reading.  Until, of course, they all started shutting down, one by one.

One of those original, inner circle D.C. blog that I loved the most, Namaste, Full of Grace, just ended recently, too.  She was the first blog that I read that incorporated ruminations on her yoga practice.

At some point, I started following two other D.C. bloggers, KassyK and Culinary Couture (now Lemmonex, now no longer, sigh),  who then led me to Live It, Love It, who then led me to Restaurant Refugee, a Jersey kid, Marie’s Cafe, SoMi Speaks, View from the Shoebox, and Just a ‘Titch…and on!

I’d list them all, if I could, but that’s “The Friends” page’s job.  Check it out.

My point is that what began as just a daily indulgence in reading about the funny, twisted, and poignant perspectives of a few strangers I’d never met—nor would ever meet—turned into this:  my own blog, my own network of blogger buddies, my first few blogger events, my first handful of “in real life” blogger friends, my very own collection of incredibly witty and well-written daily reads.  And, of course, the Bikram blogging community.

How it all changes and spreads, like a water stain seeping across paper, like river tributaries fingering through the land, like roots, reaching far, far out and deep, deep down.

I admit, some days, I’m overwhelmed by it all.

Because I can’t write here every morning.  Because I can’t get to each blog, I can’t write every comment, I don’t have time to dig through the archives so as to gain some sense of the author, the person, the yogi.  I can’t link to every page I find and like, nor can I understand every single post.  I can’t always agree; and I can’t always find the energy or affection to care enough to disagree.

And I question—a lot.

Am I a D.C. blogger at heart, because that’s where I began, because I still check DC Blogs every day?  Or am I a Boston blogger, because of my address and my unwavering adoration of this city?  With one leg, I have a strong foothold in Washingon, D.C., and with the other, I have the foothold I am trying to gain here in Boston.  Where do I really sit?  I’ve met many bloggers here in Boston, and a few I’m now lucky enough to call real friends.  But most of the bloggers who I’ve read the longest, who I hold the most affection for, who I’m friends with on Facebook and e-mail with regularly, who I’m absolutely dying to meet and hug and squeeze, are the men and women living down in the District.

I wonder if I’m blogging about yoga and just trying to slip a  little life in when I can.  Or am I trying to understand my life through my yoga?  Can I expand my content beyond the hot room?  Some days, I even wonder who “Hannah,” as you’ve learned her to be, really is—my creation or yours?

What are we all doing here in the first place?

Which leads me back to the Bikram blogging community.

Since the Bikram 101 challenge began, I’ve seen a drastic uptick in my blog traffic, and I’ve received wonderfully sweet e-mails and thoughtful comments from new Bikram bloggers and yogis all over the world.  Many began blogs to track their progress through the 101 days, and others are simply commenting about their challenge experience.  Either way, their enthusiasm for the blogging community and for the yoga is sweet and energizing—I can literally feel the excitement radiating off their colorful pages and words.

Their young, fresh prespective stands out to me—and I feel a little old-fashioned, or jaded, or that I’ve just been around for awhile in comparison.  It hit me that it’s been two long years since I began this blog.  February 3, 2008 to be exact.

Then, I had no readers.  (Well, other than my mother and father—I think.)  No commenters.  No community.  I couldn’t even find any other Bikram blogs out there at the time.  I had no “Daily Reads” or “Friends” page.  It wasn’t until Michelle, Juliana, Duffy, and Dorothy found me, well into 2009, that I started feeling as though I had some consistent readers, a promise of a daily exchange and dialogue.  My blog posts were/are always for me, of course, but suddenly, an audience existed!  An audience who cared!  Readers who wrote back!

And thus, like my yoga, like this life, my blog evolved.

It became…this.

A place that makes perfect sense some days and absolutely no sense other days.  A place that drains me as much as it fills me.  A place for creativity and questions and humor and grace and grievances.  A place for total anonymity and total exposure. A place I can’t wait to revisit.  Through writing here, I understand my self or I escape my self.  I pretend; I play—and you don’t always know the difference.  I tell him what I always wanted to say, and, in my mind, he hears me.  I strip down, and I hurt, and I cry, and no one has to see me do any of that “in real life.”

This place is safe.  It is all my own.

A few months ago, I debated shutting this blog down.  It felt stale and contrived and overdone, like I’d said all I could say.  And maybe I had, in that moment.

But, if I’ve learned anything from my two years of blogging, and my nearly four years of Bikram yoga, and the whole span of my soon-to-be-ending 20s, it is this:

The highs and lows are to be expected, embraced even, because the collapse is as inevitable as the ascent.  And you can never predict either.  You can also never love one thing all the way all the time. Nothing, no one, no space, no blog, no practice can be perfect and right and clean and feel-good and kind every single day, upon every single visit. That is just not life.

And so what do you do?

Me?

I find the light in the cracks; and I open the door when I find the knob.  I invite the ghosts and the shadows and the sinking sadness in along with the laughter and the love and the joy.  I pull up extra chairs.  I try to look my demons and my dreams in the eye.  And we practice my yoga, together.  At times, all this is savage, brutal; I crawl on bloody knees.  Other times, it’s euphoric.  Mostly, it is somewhere in between.

And still, always, I write.

The curious, searching, naive yogi in me wandered in here and began this blog.

And you—two years later, you keep refilling a basket of hearty provisions, and leaving it doorside, with fresh bouquets tied in ribbon, delighting and nourishing and sustaining the writer sitting within.

Thank you.

16 responses to “Can we please pause to consider…

  1. I laughed out loud at the first lines and shouted, “Yes, let’s!” I need to CALL you! Been thinking of you, actually.

    I love the last bits, on “what do you do?” This old little thing by Shel Silverstein just popped into my head:

    “If you are a dreamer, come in.
    If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
    A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
    If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
    For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
    Come in!
    Come in!”

    It just goes on and on, doesn’t it? Thank you, my dear!

    Aww, that’s a great poem! Thanks for sharing. And thanks for being here since, well, pretty much the beginning and always showing such support. We’ll talk soon. :)

  2. Beautiful. Thankyou for your words.
    Beck

    Thanks for stopping by, Beck! And for the kind compliment.

  3. The growth, or out-growth, of blog relationships is like a “water stain,” and it’s like a dandelion green. It grows and spreads with virtually no care and if you’re paying attention suddenly you realize that despite what some people have told you, it’s not a pest, but actually a delicious delicacy… and it’s free.

    Yes, blogging is like Dandelion Greens and I am so happy that our’s have grown in the same direction.

    Leave it to you to make poetry out of a blog comment. So lovely. Thank you!

  4. Those days when you’re feeling drained on your yoga mat? Just think of your blogging community. The energy you feel here can support you there, too. Or at least I like to think we do. =)

    Yes, yes, definitely! What would I DO if not for the energy here??

  5. Lover, you are only allowed to quit blogging if you move back here. THAT IS ALL.

    P.S. This is absolutely beautiful, as always.

    xo

    I do crush on you, LiLu. And my firm does have an office down in D.C., you know… :)

  6. Thank you thank you thank you. I am currently in the process of resurrecting my own blog and taking it in a new direction and reading yours for the past few months really helped inspire me to do that and make it work for me. I found this post really encouraging first thing this morning. Oh and! As a former district resident, I completely understand how you feel. I don’t think I’ll ever not feel like D.C. is a home away from home.

    Ohhh, I can’t wait until you complete your resurrection, Sara! I think most blogs are in dire need of a good overhaul every now and then. Keep me posted, okay?? :)

  7. You’re ALWAYS a joy to read, apologies if I don’t pop by to comment – I read feeds off Google reader [best invention since the can opener] and I feel a little socially awkward posting on such a beautiful site.

    *shuffles feet.

    Ya.

    *HUG!

    Thanks so much, Mei. Never, ever, EVER feel awkward to shuffle your way in here, though, okay? You, especially, are always welcome. :)

  8. I’m so glad that you decided not to shut your site down and are game to riding the ups and downs of blogging. I have found that it is okay to go away from blogging for awhile and come back – the community is still there. The same is true for changing the focus of what you blog about. I am only a month into my new blog adventure and already I wonder, how can I sustain writing about writing three times a week?! But whenever I start to panic, I just remember why I blog – to write, to connect, to record, to learn – and take a massive chill pill. The only person making the rules here is me and I can change them whenever I want.

    “The only person making the rules here is me and I can change them whenever I want.” Um, I love this. It just might be my new mantra. Sometimes I try too hard to follow rules—I forget I can break my own any damn time!

  9. Thanks for this post–it’s informative, funny, and poignant all in one. I admire your willingness to “put it out there” and blog about more than just what happened in yoga today. Sometimes I feel I should do more of that! Doing the emotional digging and linking the experiences to yoga makes your yoga-fueled revelations and frustrations all the more meaningful.

    Some days, the emotional/life stuff actually comes much easier—like I’ve pulled it all to the surface anyway through a yoga class, and then, when I come here, I can just pour myself, like paint, onto the page. Try it. I’m sure you’d make quite the masterpiece.

  10. So beautiful- I think that one of the interesting things about blogging is definitely the ups and downs. Sometimes I feel like it makes perfect sense and works perfectly with my life. Other times I feel like I must have some kind of undiagnosed personality disorder to be doing this lol

    I deleted my original blog and when I did, it felt like I had lost a limb. I’m glad that I know that this is something that I need, weird as it is, and that I can just be accepting of that and fit it in where I can.

    It’s exactly like your practice, all about balance =)

    So well put, Kyla! I agree—this blog does feel like some odd, oftentimes awkwardly placed appendage I grew sometime in the last two years. It’s a part of me but somehow still hanging separate. Man. Blogs are WEIRD. :)

  11. Love you, love your writing. Thank you for being here, and for appreciating my (increasingly infrequent) ramblings. You are an inspiration. xoxo

    Ohhh, no, no. Now, you know that YOU serve as MY inspiration. I look forward to your posts like a kid looks ahead to Christmas.

  12. Ah…..so very well put!
    I do adore the peeps I’ve met in person via this little blogging community. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll blog, it’s not a forever thing, but it does hold a place near and dear to my heart. Like you, I had no clue about this community when I started my blog two years ago come May. My first comment from somebody other than friends/family sent me through the roof with excitement. :)

    Your blog has been one of my favorites. The writing is gorgeous, the words so often echoing my own thoughts. I read through the beautiful imagery, facsinated at the stories you weave together with such grace and ease.

    I am so glad I found your blog!

    A thousand thank you’s, Michelle. You’ve always shown such tremendous support and love and encouragement. I’m so glad we found each other here, in this strange but lovely space!

  13. I love your words and your thoughts! Thank you for writing about yoga and how it is incorporated into your daily life because as you know it’s made me a convert.

    Wonderful post!

    Do you KNOW how happy it makes me that A. you tried yoga, B. you liked it, and C. you’re sticking with it! You—the girl who chronically gets bored with exercise! Ahhh, I knew—I just KNEW—a yogi lived in you… :)

  14. i have thoughts daily of wrapping up my blog with a pretty bow and sending it on it’s way. but then, i think of those moments where in real life, these words on my laptop have been real and sitting across the table from me. i don’t think i’d be the person i am right now after this past year without some of the bloggers i have met. and really? LOVE.
    see you march 5th?

    I’m glad you haven’t closed up shop just yet, lady. And, for what it’s worth, I think blogging is ALL about those moments when you see and feel those real, honest, scary words that you’ve just written—and send them out into the world anyway.

  15. You flawlessly manage, somehow, to be both dynamic and the best kind of familiar, and I don’t think any better blend of traits exists.

    So glad I found my way here, however I did.

    Wow. This just might be the nicest compliment I’ve received yet on this here blog. THANK YOU, Brad!!

  16. I knew you would keep blogging!!! No pressure, but I would really feel a loss if I didn’t have your blog to read. I think I “found” you about 6 months into your writing!

    At first, I looked at it as strictly a “Bikram Blog”. I too had become addicted to Bikram and was happy to find someone who felt the same way I did. Now that I’ve expanded my yoga practice, as you did with Baptiste, I look to your blog as a “living my evolving yoga life” blog. Things change and evolve, and so has your writing. I was so excited when I found out you were moving to Boston since I’m about 20mins south of the city!

    Thanks for being you!

    Barb

    This comment put the biggest smile on my face. Thank you, Barb. You’ve always been such a great supporter of this blog and my writing and our yoga. I so appreciate it. And, um, WE ARE PRACTICALLY NEIGHBORS!!! Why haven’t we met up for coffee and a yoga class?!?!

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