Blogging: Sharing or Preaching?

I have to admit that the blogging experience is a bit of a paradox for me. I have enjoyed the rhythm of writing on a more consistent basis, and the existence of this blog creates a “calling” of sorts to visit, read other’s work, and record my thoughts. It has been good for me.

Solitude is a deep and powerful teacher and I try to cultivate it, encourage it, look forward to it. To say that I am a very good example of immersing myself in deep silence would be wrong: I have never been able to sit in meditation very well, and I haven’t sat in an ashram. I did, however, sit quietly in the Mojave desert, fasting for 5 days and 4 nights in my own personal vision quest (see earlier post “I Needed Time”) and it was an extraordinary experience. I will do this again.

I have spent much of my life mired in silence because I could not find my voice. To draw enough air into my lungs to speak required an energy and force I just did not have; hence the quiet.  In this thick, black emptiness, alone in the deep, I listened to the echo of my ache and heard myself for maybe the first time. I emerged from the prison of silence to the choice of solitude, two very different things. The first was a cave, the second a garden. Yet both were quiet.

Now I am writing these posts and placing them “out there” for others to read, and I have to ask myself why. I want to think that this is a creative endeavour, that this is one of my “art forms”. What I surely want to avoid is the pit of “preaching”, trying to sound as if I have figured things out and shout out “hey guys, follow me”. I break out into a sweat and a dead run when I hear freshly-squeezed dogma, and I would die to look over my shoulder as I am running and see that I am in a pack of preachers.

I hope that this blog reflects that I am sharing something of myself that I think may have value. To whom? Maybe men like me. Maybe others. (This same thought could be attributed to the preachers I have written about, so I am already on shaky ground). If I stray over the line, maybe someone will let me know, or maybe I will call myself out.

So, is this sharing or preaching?

2 responses to “Blogging: Sharing or Preaching?

  • Kiki van der Heiden

    Thank you for sharing Tom. I believe there are two things at play here that help to define whether it’s preaching or sharing.

    One is: what are your expectations? If you just put it out there and leave it up to everyone what they take from it, it’s in my opinion sharing. If on the other hand you have expectations that we do something in particular with your words, then it can be interpreted as preaching.

    The other part is: everyone who reads this has their own responsibility, a person can decide whether or not they take your experience as ‘advice’ or ‘preaching’.

    The process of sharing, or giving voice to your experiences, is important for as a cleansing tool, by seeing it on paper, or on the screen, it becomes something different then when we keep it internally.

    I find this has been helpful in my own process, I use visual and fibre art as a tool to express my inner voice and experiences. Once the work is out there, it becomes a new story, it forms new relations to other people, and it’s no longer solely ours. This is freeing us from the ties we felt: we’re letting it become what it needs to become.

    Liked by 2 people

    • photosentinel1953

      Thanks Kiki. Your remark about sharing as a cleansing tool is exactly what it feels like for me. Speaking out loud or blogging propels my “voice” beyond my own boundaries, and that is quite different than writing in a journal and placing it back in the bedside table. There is a value in being witnessed that I have traditionally neglected (you taught me something about this). Thanks for mentioning expectations of others, as this places responsibility on the reader as well. Likewise, I have a responsibility to use words that best express my own essence without judging others. Maybe this concern about preaching comes from my fear of judging and being judged. Your comment was helpful. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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